COCTEAU Jean (1889-1963).
AUTOGRAPHIC MANUSCRIT signed "Jean Cocteau," La Lampe d'Aladin, [1907-1909]; about 100 pages in-4 (mostly 29 x 22.5 cm); and corrected COPY; 94 pages in-4.
Precious working manuscript of Jean Cocteau's first book, illustrated with drawings.
Jean Cocteau's first book was published in February 1909 by the Société d'Éditions. Following the 92 poems, composed between 1906 (Cocteau was then sixteen years old) and 1908, the collection ended with a "fantasy in one act", Bric-à-Brac, which is not included here. On April 4, 1908, a matinee organized by the actor De Max revealed the name of the young Cocteau to the Parisian public, where Laurent Tailhade greeted the young poet: "This bitter conception, this pessimism of the adolescent frightened and solicited by the pain of living, gives Cocteau's poems a very personal accent, a distinction in melancholy that is extremely remarkable.
The autograph manuscript includes 59 poems, some in several states, in black or violet ink, some written on sheets of strong vellum paper, some in first draft on sheets of school notebook. One notes numerous erasures and corrections, and variants with the final text. Some poems are copied from another hand (probably his friends René Rocher or Jacques Renaud, here noted R). It includes 3 title pages (the first one dated 1907, the two others 1909), then the text "To explain the title", of which we will quote the conclusion: "I wandered in the dark life with the marvelous lamp. Young as Aladdin I have, walking with a fearful step, seen jewels, fruits, lights and darkness - and, with a heart full of illusions, I have cried before the difficulty of bringing them to the light of offering them to the unbelieving world".
The collection is ordered in six parts.
I. The marble steps - "Then Aladdin ran down the marble steps"... The lie (copy R); A basin ("to Henri de Régnier", Lucie Delarue-Mardrus in the edition.); Conte; La catastrophe; Dimanche; La soirée douce; Adoration; L'orgue (title added by De Max); Nocturne (2 versions); Souvenir de l'Ermitage (copy R); [Calme] (in 3 stanzas, the last one crossed out on the copy R attached) ; Une très jolie toile de l'école Watteau ; Sur la mort d'une belle dame (2 versions) ; [Les vers] ; Portrait (plus copie R) ; Les six muses de ma bibliothèque (2 versions, the 2nd dedicated to Maurice Rostand) ; Chopin's third ballad "after Auberey Beardsley"; Isola Madre; Symphony in Pink in Verona (on the back, pencil sketch of a poem about Venice); Promenade (plus copy R) ; [Fresco] (on the back, pencil draft of a text on Venice; plus copy R); The Pendant (plus copy R); In the Manner of an Epitaph Venice; In Memory of an Autumn Evening in the Eaden Garden; The Desirous; The Madwoman; The Unconscious; The Fearful.
II. The bronze pedestal - "And he saw on the bronze pedestal the lighted lamp" Offering; The Fox; The Satyr; Psyche ("to René Rocher"); The Faun; The Soul of the Wood (2 versions, the 1st unpublished as a sonnet, the 2nd untitled, plus titled R copy).
III. Les Cauchemars - "and the sorcerer ran to the fire which was not yet extinguished and he threw into it some of the incense powder he had on him while muttering a magic formula" Les carillons mélancoliques (plus copy R); La Vengeance (id.); Quasimodo; Le vieux monsieur à l'orgue ("The old man with the organ") (plus copy R); La cendre ("The ash") (id.).
IV. The miraculous orchard with drawing (on the back another drawing with a pen, caricature of a full-length man with long moustaches and wearing a boater, perhaps a caricature of Barrès) - "And Aladin, the poor man, did not know that the fruits with unknown colors were opals, aventurines, cymophanes, tourmalines, peridots, jayets and crysoprases" The Secret (2 versions) ; Le bon mouvement (May 28, 1907); Le Rêve; Tes yeux (2 versions; on the back of the 2nd, bill in pencil to a friend: "Go and see de Max, I hear he complains that you don't go - but above all don't say that you see me all the time because he would be furious to know that I come to Paris without passing through rue Caumartin").
V. The vault - "And he saw himself buried alive between the four walls of the vault full of blackness and horror, in spite of all the gold it contained. And he sobbed for a long time, buried in his pain" Les Façades (3 versions; on the back of the 3rd, draft of another poem, Le Basset, unpublished); Despair; Prometheus (crossed out dedication to Péladan, plus copy R); Eros; Les Bruits (plus copy R); Les mauvais conseillers.
VI Silence - "At this moment of her narrative Schahrazade saw the morning appear and, discreetly, kept silent". Le crépuscule (2 versions) ; Le Soir " à Madame Bréval " ; Symphonie nocturne (2 versions) ; Les grands soirs tris
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