Remy de GOURMONT.

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Remy de GOURMONT.
Correspondence addressed to Alfred Jarry. Autumn 1894-spring 1895.
11 autograph letters signed, two of them in fragmentary form; in all 28 pages of various sizes, 4 proofs.
Important correspondence addressed by Remy de Gourmont to Alfred Jarry during his military service: it provides a wealth of information on the creation of the second issue of L'Ymagier, the review that the two friends had just founded (October 1894).
A young writer of 21, Alfred Jarry had only recently entered the world of letters thanks to the support of Remy de Gourmont, his elder by fifteen years. His first book, Les Minutes de Sable mémorial, had been published at the beginning of October by Mercure de France. In his first letter, his mentor sends him a glowing article by Gustave Kahn: he also assures him of the publication of his Acte héraldique, the manuscript of which he has entrusted to Vallette.
It is from the second letter, written around November 1894, that Gourmont begins to talk about clichés and prints of the engravings for the second issue of L'Ymagier. In Jarry's absence, he organizes the edition by correspondence.
Around December 3, 1894, preparations are in full swing. The issue must be published on January 10th and time is short. Gourmont supervises the printing of the engravings, receives more articles, waits for Jarry's article on Les Monstres and decides on the paper. He prefers to wait for the japanese: "We know the price; there will always be time and I would like for this test that the Ymagier was a little more widespread."
Finally, he also brings some good news for the continuation of the enterprise: "Mallarmé has provided us with a subscription; this makes the fourth since your departure; two a week; it certainly works.
Saw Gauguin preparing a wood for us. Filiger has sent a pretty violin player [...], tone of St.
Cécile, for sale if we can."
A printed proof of page 138 of Ymagier No. 2, with Gourmont's autograph addition, attached to the letter, does indeed mention Gauguin's and Filiger's engravings.
The next two letters were written on the back of printing proofs.
The first one is accompanied by a folio-sized trial print of one of the Indochinese woodcuts illustrating Jarry's text on Les Monstres, with Gourmont's autograph note.
The second one wonders about the gold printing of a Russian woodcut on the cover "to amaze the simple people". Remy de Gourmont is confident about the success of this second issue - "very beautiful, even too beautiful" - and is hopeful that he will be able to publish "an issue every two months from next year, without further sacrifices".
This letter is accompanied by a proof printed on both sides of the Russian saint in gold and Saint
Madeleine "in red, gold on top which would be offered to the luxury editions".
On December 27, the issue is "finished and ready to leave for the farthest countries". Gourmont is eager to show it to Jarry who is waiting for a leave. At the same time, l'Ymagier "has acquired a branch in the passage du Pont-Neuf, from a print merchant, in exchange for good words, - and we will display there, in a special bay, all our ymagiers, pictures, books, drawings, etc."
On December 31st, he deplores Jarry's absence, who did not get his leave: "I was hoping to spend at least two good days with you, to see each other again at last and to renew the thread of the tapestry. Until the last possible moment I will wait; the villains (as Filiger says) of whom you are a prisoner will perhaps let you go at the right time.
The binding will be finished within two days. Gourmont fears trouble with the authorities because of Jarry's collaboration, who is then in the army.
At the same time, he begins to ask for the money promised by Jarry to finance the magazine.
These financial questions continue in the last two letters, written after the publication of the issue.
The last letter was written shortly before the publication of the third issue, "very simple, quite plain, with a huge booklet". By comparison, his predecessor no longer "looks very good [although] it cost a lot of money, too much, and not everything is paid for". In general, his financial situation is quite precarious, so he waits impatiently for the issue to go on sale.
The correspondence is one of the rare documents testifying to the short-lived friendship between Gourmont and Jarry.
"...I am sure I have elected a true friendship and a true intelligence: you will do very original and very beautiful things and I will believe that you do them a little so that I will not be denied; [....] you know that I always proclaim that the first condition of art is the New, i.e. the personal, - and you have that [...]", we read in the second letter.
Or in this fragment of a letter written in December 1894 "annoyed and bored, frozen by a wind full of snow,
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