GARY Romain (1914-1980).

Lot 84
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Estimation :
6000 - 8000 EUR
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Result : 6 500EUR
GARY Romain (1914-1980).
MANUSCRIT autograph "Romain Gary", Les Mains et La Nature humaine, 1953; 119 folio pages (35 x 21 cm) on 61 numbered leaves torn from a register (small angular tears on pages 14 to 48, with slight lack of text). First draft manuscript of two short stories, one of them in two versions, collected in Les Oiseaux vont mourir au Pérou. This manuscript is written in midnight blue ink on lined sheets of paper, from a folio register. It is abundantly corrected, with many crossed-out lines, presenting several different states of the same text, as well as numerous and important variants. It is signed and dated at the bottom of page 103: "Romain Gary / New York, / June 1953". The first story is entitled Les Mains. This short story, first published in June 1954 in the magazine La Table Ronde under the title Ainsi s'achève une journée de soleil, was integrated, under the title Le Luth, in the collection first entitled Gloire à nos illustres pionniers (Gallimard, 1962), later renamed Les Oiseaux vont mourir au Pérou, after Romain Gary himself directed the homonymous film based on one of the short stories of the collection. The manuscript contains two complete drafts of this short story: a first draft, with the original title Un son de guitare crossed out (fol. 3-39); and a second draft, dated June 1953 and signed (fol. 51-103), with reworked drafts of the beginning (fol. 104-109, and 111-113), as well as lengthy developments on the theme of the hands (fol. 114-124), several of which will not be preserved in the printed version of the story. In one of these passages is a quotation from an English natural history text about the mating season of octopuses. In addition, the manuscript shows a primitive state of the novella La Nature humaine, occupying pages 41 to 49. The writer reworked and developed this short story under the title The Joys of Nature, and included it in the collection The Birds Will Die in Peru. It features a doctor's examination of a circus giant in the presence of its "owner", a cynical dwarf. The Hands (or rather The Lute, according to its final title) is considered one of the best short stories by Gary, then a diplomat at the United Nations in New York. It depicts a diplomat's discovery of his homosexuality with a young Turk who teaches him to play the lute. The story caused a scandal, the ambassador Jean Chauvel, who had been at the origin of a vice scandal in Washington in 1951, thought he recognized himself in the hero of this story. The manuscript presents interesting variants, from the incipit: "The diplomatic corps of S. counted few members more distinguished than the Conte de C. Minister Plenipotentiary [...] The Minister was a man of barely fifty, tall, of a rare elegance"... (1st state). "In 192... the diplomatic corps of Istanbul counted among its members few men as distinguished, as respected and perhaps even envied, as the Count of N. [...] Tall, slim, of that sober and governing elegance which went to perfection with long and delicate hands, with fingers which seem to suggest always a whole life of intimacy with objects of art, the pages of a beautiful book or the keyboard of a piano" (2nd state). "Tall, slim, of that elegance that goes so well with long and delicate hands, with fingers that always seem to suggest a lifetime of intimacy with objects of art, the pages of a rare edition or the keyboard of a piano, the ambassador count of N... had spent his entire career in important, but cold, posts, far from this Mediterranean that he pursued with a tenacious and somewhat mystical passion, as if there were some intimate and deep bond between him and the Latin sea. His colleagues of the diplomatic corps of Istanbul reproached him a certain stiffness" (final text). Let us note moreover that the character named Mahmoud in the manuscript, will become Ahmed in the book.
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