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On Andre Gide

"I am perhaps not very well qualified to speak of Gide"



Author André Breton
People cited Louis Aragon, Arthur Cravan, André Gide, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Oscar Wilde, Philippe Soupault


Manuscript by André Breton dated 6 February 1952 dedicated to André Gide, who died in 1951. 

A subversively classical author who also had an understated modernity, for the surrealists Gide remained notable as the creator of Lafcadio, a character to whom Breton dedicated one of his first poems. Although, from the late 1930s, they were united on certain political issues, their imaginary worlds remained very different, hence the caution adopted by Breton in this note. [Atelier André Breton website, 2005]

Signed autograph manuscript, 6 February 1952.

- 1 1/2 pages in-4° of a first draft handwritten text in ink by Breton entirely devoted to Gide, with numerous erasures and corrections:

"I am perhaps not very qualified to speak of Gide. I hardly ever met him, I wasn’t a diligent reader of his work. There has always been an incompatibility of mood between him and me... that's why I appreciated Paludes[Marshlands], why I thought highly of Prométhée mal enchaîné [Prometheus Ill-bound] and Les Caves du Vatican [The Vatican Cellars], whereas I couldn't stand L'Immoraliste [The Immoralist], for example. Reading La Porte étroite [Strait is the Gate] even caused me such exasperation that I can still picture myself trampling my copy to the ground before I had reached the end... In short, all the negative things I’ve thought of him - and this, I believe, pretty much encapsulates the whole surrealist view of him - can be summed up as follows: he is a brilliant specimen of a vanished species, that of the professional writer... Despite the personal reservations I expressed at the outset, I believe that his passing leaves a void in the consciousness of this time.” [Auction Catalogue, 2003]


André Breton (Édition publiée sous la direction d'Étienne-Alain Hubert avec la collaboration de Philippe Bernier et Marie-Claire Dumas), « [Sur André Gide] », Perspective cavalière, Œuvres complètes, tome IV, Écrits sur l'art et autres textes, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 2008, p. 860-862, notice p. 1397-1398

Creation date06-févr.-52
Physical description

Ms - encre bleue
2 pages in-4°

Breton Auction, 2003Lot 2342
Keywords, ,
CategoriesManuscripts, Andre Breton's Manuscripts
Set[AB's Manuscripts] Miscellaneous Manuscripts, [Manuscrits d'AB] Perspective cavalière
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