Lot n° 28
1500 - 2000
Autograph MANUSCRIT signed "Jean Cocteau", Preface to The Call to Order, 1923; 10 pages on 7 sheets small in-4
(22 x 17 cm), in black ink on lined paper, in a school notebook with its original cover partly autographed (sheets separated from the cover, metal staples in the centre rusty).
Preface to the first collection of his critical poetry texts.
This preface will be published at the head of the collection Le Rappel à l'ordre (Stock, 1926), which includes seven essays, some of which had previously been published in booklets, from 1918 to 1923: Le Coq et l'Arlequin, Carte blanche, Visite à Maurice Barrès, Le Secret professionnel, D'un ordre considéré comme une anarchie, Autour de Thomas l'imposteur and
Cocteau had fun completing by hand the cover of the school notebook, decorated with a frame in the shape of a monument with columns:
under SCHOOL, he added "balance", under CAHIER "de Devoir", after "belonging to", he wrote his name "Jean Cocteau", then wrote in capital letters the title: "PRÉFACE A LE RAPPEL A L'ORDRE". The manuscript has many deletions and corrections; it was used for printing, as shown by the typographical indications.
In this brief Preface, Cocteau retraces his entire poetic journey: "At seventeen years old, charged with electricity, I mean with amorphous poetry, unable to manufacture a transmission device, confused by suspicious praise and bad books, I turned around on the spot like a patient trying to fall asleep". He refers to the worldly success that welcomed his first collections ("suspicious praise"), and evokes two figures who, each in their own way, helped him to become a true poet: Anna de Noailles and André Gide. Thus "little by little I fell into a sleepwalker's sleep. He became my normal state and I will probably sleep him to the end.
This metaphor of the poet as a sleepwalker, living in a parallel world, Cocteau will follow it until his last breath. But this abandonment to night forces i
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