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Manuscript by André Breton written on 26 October 1958 for the first issue of the journal BIEF, Jonction surréaliste.

Published in the first issue of Bief (15 Novermber 1958), these reading notes constitute a stern rebuke against a hoax by Jean Dutourd, who by inventing a German revolutionary from the 1840s and having him meet Marx and others, was in Breton’s view guilty of a fairly unpardonable joke to the extent that fiction might pass for reality. What Dutourd had committed was thus a betrayal of historic figures who were not to be treated lightly unless one had bad intentions. [André Breton website, 2005]

Signed handwritten manuscript, Paris, 26 October 1958
1 1/4 in-4° pages of first draft manuscript in ink by André Breton, with many deletions and corrections, of a text relating to an article by Jean Dutourd published in the August 1958 edition of the N.R.F. about Ludwig Schnorr, ‘a German revolutionary from the previous century’ whose destiny could remind us of that of Karl Marx.

‘The significance of this kind of announcement, which implicates Fichte and Hegel, Saint-Simon, Fourier, Flora Tristan and Proudhon, Marx and Engels and testifies to the most striking encounters with Lamartine and Hugo, wouldn’t in any way risk being diminished if, despite the profusion of supporting references and explanations, a certain threshold of plausibility hadn’t pretty quickly been crossed… Among the evidence it claims, at least one piece of it could have been called upon for confirmation. It is that of Henri Guillemin, from whom Dutourd quotes at length, with full consent so he claims, from an unpublished fragment from an equally unpublished quotation from Hugo’s notebooks dated 17 June 1861, one that is likely to plague the most basic common sense even more violently than all the rest of it... Henri Guillemin cites the supposed passage from Hugo’s Carnets: "She (Juliette) forgets that the viscount Hugo had henceforth become a democrat and that in his eyes any woman is the equal of all others and that his preferences lean towards the most destitute of them, and that he was right to have all the greater respect for those who need to work to survive, but there’s no use being difficult about the bodies he might embrace. The aged poet is transported in a frenzy of caresses and indulgences. Neither the darkest thoughts, the promises, the proximity of death, nor the death of his second son in front of his very eyes were enough to stop him from going to see Blanche every day and delight in her flesh” (sic). In wishing to establish that Hugo was even prepared to covet his own servants, it goes without saying that anyone proceeding in such a meticulous fashion with what he calls “the audit of his gratifications” is dealing with ideas like a veritable slattern. For him, sexual obsession takes on a parasitical aspect, in a belittling and beyond moralising turn that is by far the most regrettable. Here we have a sniffer dog working for a bailiff’s scruples.’
[Auction catalogue, 2003]


Translated by Krzysztof Fijalkowski


Bief, Jonction surréaliste, n°1, 15 novembre 1958.

Creation date26/10/1958
Bibliographical material

2 in-4° pages.

Physical descriptionMs - encre bleue
Number of pages2
Breton Auction, 2003Lot 2460
Keywords, ,
CategoriesManuscripts, Andre Breton's Manuscripts
Set[AB's Manuscripts] Manuscripts 1958-1966, [Revue] Bief
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See also

1 Work


Édouard-Léon-Théodore Mesens


Numéro 1, publié le 15 novembre 1958, de cette revue surréaliste dirigée par Gérard Legrand à Paris.

Une image, une notice descriptive, un lien.

[Revue] Bief