JACOB Max (1876-1944).

Lot 116
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5000 - 6000 EUR
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Result : 4 550EUR
JACOB Max (1876-1944).
70 autograph MANUSCRITS, [Religious Meditations]; about 130 pages, mostly in?4 or in?fol. Important set of religious meditations, some of which were chosen by Abbé Morel for the posthumous volume of the 38 Méditations religieuses de Max Jacob published by Gallimard in 1947; the others are unpublished. They were numbered by the abbot Morel, from 1 to 71 (the 63 is missing). The title or theme of the meditation is accompanied by the indication of the time of its writing; sometimes, the meditation is based on an excerpt from the Scriptures, or on a thought of Pascal. All are written in ink, except one in pencil (15); they present some erasures and corrections. Four meditations (22, 28, 44, 62) are written on the back of administrative letters from the Assistance Publique addressed in 1911 to Dr. Persillard in Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire (the doctor's widow was to be Max Jacob's landlady from 1939 onwards), and one (8) on the back of a mimeographed text from La Prévoyance médicale. Nine meditations have been enhanced with drawings, mostly superimposed on the text: 3 shows a head of a man wearing a hat in green pencil, and a small self-portrait in pen; 4 a small flower in pen; 19 a sketch of a head in pencil; 27 ends with a small self-portrait in pen, in profile; 35 is decorated with a small frieze in pen with eels; 43 shows a sketch of a head with a hat in pen; 56, a heron in pen; 64 is enhanced by a large head of Christ in pencil and pen; but we will especially remember 39 with its large self-portrait in pencil and pen. The meditations have been grouped by theme, and several bear the same title: Death (1 to 7); The Sepulchre (8); Purpose of Life (9 to 14); Love of N.S. for us (15, 16); God's benefits (17 to 21); Excellence of the spirit (22 to 25); Excellence of the virtues (26 to 29); Examples of the Saints (30 to 33); [The] Sins (34 to 41, of which 37: Sin); Man's Situation on Earth (42); Man's Loneliness (43 to 45); Man's Loneliness in Creation (46); Creation (47); The Two Bands (48 to 50); The Judgment (51); [The] Last Judgment (52 to 57); Choosing between [the] Paradise and [the] Hell (58 to 61); Paradise or Hell (62); [The] Paradise (64 to 66); Hell (67 to 71). We will quote meditation 35, The Sins 9:20. Pull out your fingernails since it is good for you. Also pull out from your soul the root of evil thoughts. Sin is like an eel, like an eel, it slips in [...] Sin is dirty and blackish, it is in the flesh, it participates in it, it is the dung side of man"... Then the meditation ends in a poem of 12 lines: "Disgust of my sewers, I am a cistern. As a child I was angry, lazy and mean [...] I am no better being old now. The stupidest man is also the most shady My word that comes out at every word hits the nail on the head [...] Stupidity is pride and pride is hell I already have its burn and I already have its worm Yet I am seen at night at Prayer In the morning at dawn, Mass! and I serve it!" And he adds at the bottom of the poem: "Tartufe! Sainte Nitouche !" In another meditation on the Sins, enhanced by the great self-portrait, Max Jacob castigates his love of "eating and drinking" and his worldliness, in the dinners of the Countess Murat or Coco Chanel... We will quote again the end of the last meditation, L'Enfer, very corrected: "Eternity! how long you are! you found your definitive posture, useless to turn over in your bed now. Here is your figure in the cosmos, it is that of a burn of which you would not have wanted one minute and which will cook you forever without reduction of the sauce. On the register of harmony you are inscribed: burned alive. [...] On the tapestry of the cosmos is a scarlet sob, a figure forgotten by the sky, not by the devil; this figure is you immortal, immortally burned alive. The wars will shake the geologies, the forests will be coals, what was a precipice will be filled, the summit will become hollow but the burn that you could not endure one minute will be this same pain. [...] the children will become centenarian old men and the forgotten figure of the tapestry will remain in its blazing scarlet. Eternity under ground! a sound of organ like the noise of a spinning top a planet here is your cry which will not cease more than the noise of a planet. Your cry is part of the universal cry". Provenance : archives of the abbot Maurice MOREL (sale 14 December 2005, n° 81).
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