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Manuscript of ‘Troubled Waters’, in an in-8° notebook, which contributes an important section of Martinique charmeuse de serpents and would be published in its final form in 1948.

‘Eaux troubles’ (‘Troubled Waters’), illustrated with drawings by André Masson, constitutes the most significant segment – at least in terms of length – of Martinique charmeuse de serpents (Martinique Snake Charmer), conceived in 1941, published in a periodical in 1942 and as a complete volume in 1948. Here we have its original manuscript, with some heavily edited pages suggesting the work involved in writing it. In the published version this text that is deliberately shorn of lyricism, accurately relating the precise facts that allow us to develop an idea of situation on the island in 1941, would be printed in italics. [Atelier André Breton website, 2005]

Handwritten manuscript notebook, 1942.
An in-8° notebook containing 35 manuscript pages by Breton in blue ink, titled ‘Eaux troubles’. Apart from the ‘singular welcome’ he received from the authorities in Fort-de-France, Breton describes the economic and social conditions in Martinique and the local chronicle of ‘scandalous events that call for reparation’, ‘a chronicle able to cast light on the depths of the Third Republic [...]. Once this scenario is agreed, it remains to situate its development in the unique light of Martinique, of its deep and forgetful forests. But what certain walls inflict and defy is too important for me to dare combine it with the island’s imprescriptible poetry and to allow those who disfigure it even the hint of the perfume of its forests.’ Numerous deletions and corrections. Text published in Pour la Victoire, New York, 7-14 February 1942. (La Pléiade, Gallimard, 1999, volume III, pages 385 to 398). [Auction catalogue, 2003]


Translated by Krzysztof Fijalkowski


- André Breton, (Édition de Marguerite Bonnet avec la collaboration de Philippe Bernier, Marie-Claire Dumas, Étienne-Alain Hubert et José Pierre), « Eaux troubles », Martinique charmeuse de serpents, Œuvres complètes, tome III, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 1999, pages 385-398.

Creation date1941
Bibliographical material

In-8° notebook with 36 pages.

Date of publication 1942
Physical descriptionMs - encre bleue et noire et crayon noir
Breton Auction, 2003Lot 2243
Keywords, , , ,
CategoriesAndre Breton's Manuscripts
Set[AB's Manuscripts] Miscellaneous Manuscripts
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