Tristan Tzara: proofs for his last book, corrected by the author
Tzara, Tristan (1896 – 1963). Juste Présent. Paris, La rose des vents, 1961. 48 pp., 38 cm. Incomplete proofs, with holograph corrections by the author. Page numbers in pencil lower right, corresponding to the published pagination. Tzara's emendations are in blue ink; at the top of the first page is written, "Corrections de l'auteur 13 Juillet 1961." Printed on fragile newsprint, browned with age. Overall in near fine condition.
A corrected set of proofs for the last work by the French-Romanian experimental writer whose work shifted from Symbolism to Dadaism to Surrealism to Leftism. Juste Présent collects eleven poems written in the aftermath of World War II, and reflect his political engagement – during the war Tzara, who was Jewish, served in the Resistance. Shortly after the book’s publication, he would be awarded the Premio Internazionale Etna-Taormina, an occasional poetry prize that since 1953 has been awarded to only a handful of writers (among whom: Dylan Thomas, Salvatore Quasimodo, Anna Akhmatova, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Yannis Ritsos).
When it was published, Juste Présent was printed in an edition of 140 copies on fine paper with etchings by Sonia Delaunay. The present example, sent to the author for review before publication, is printed on cheap newsprint. The proofs comprise the eleven poems only, without the illustrations or the blanks that appeared in the published text. Specifically, what is included here are the following pages: pp. 11-12 (Des profondeurs I); p. 15 (Des profondeurs II); p. 16 (Des profondeurs III), p. 19 (Épigramme); p. 20 (Une longue absence); p. 23 (La voix); p. 24 (Fin d'un été); p. 27 (Saison); p. 28 (Aujourd'hui); pp. 31-32 (À une morte); pp. 35-36, 39-42 (Juste present). Tzara’s emendations to some of the poems are substantial.
The proofs are from the collection of the French writer Alain Jouffroy (1928 - 2015). A poet and novelist who also wrote extensively on 20th century art, Jouffroy frequently invoked Tzara as the founder of the French avant-garde. “Tout commence bien sûr avec Tristan Tzara,” he wrote.
Unique and essential.
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