Alfred JARRY, Eugène DEMOLDER & Claude TERRASSE.

Lot 13
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100000 - 120000 EUR
Alfred JARRY, Eugène DEMOLDER & Claude TERRASSE.
Pantagruel. Approximately 1897-1911.
Set of manuscripts and autograph drafts totalling 1016 pages.
Exceptional reunion of more than a thousand pages: unpublished autograph manuscripts of Pantagruel, the major project to which Alfred Jarry devoted the most time.
Originally conceived as a mirlitonesque fairy tale intended for the Théâtre des Pantins, Pantagruel was to be progressively transformed into a lyrical play. An enormous mass of manuscripts "of a hopeless complexity" (Patrick Besnier) was reduced, in 1911, through the intervention of Claude Terrasse and other collaborators, to a thin libretto for an opera buffa.
"One can hardly understand this Pantagruel and the madness of the enterprise by considering it rationally as a libretto for a comic opera. [...] For Jarry, it was first of all a game, the exploration of connivances and complicities. There is not ONE Pantagruel, but literally five or ten, and in fact many more, like so many versions of a dream that is always being restarted, a real work in progress, born and growing out of its own impossibilities and contradictions. Neither an adaptation nor a continuation of Rabelais, not even a variation on his universe, Pantagruel is rather a dismantling followed by a reassembling, a skilful deterioration, a loving destruction, both a trivialization (mise en mirliton) and a cannibalization of Rabelais. At the heart of Jarry's relentlessness, one can perceive the will to put an end not only to this particular work, but to literature as a whole, which he tries to reduce to some infernal round of puppets.
What was undoubtedly one of Jarry's great dreams is thus hidden behind the hybrid 'product' published under the name of Pantagruel. In this dream, which sought to go beyond literature and theatre, Rabelais became both an absolute (in which Jarry tried to merge) and a disarticulated puppet (he played with it). Only a few thousand pages, preferably illegible, could materialize this dream" (Patrick Besnier).
The thousand sheets of paper presented here, skilfully sorted, classified and commented on by an intimate connoisseur of Jarry's work, are of major interest for the study of this long-term undertaking.
They make it possible to retrace the different stages of writing, from the first attempts at adaptation in 1897 to the final stage, the playable version developed by Demolder and Terrasse.
According to any resemblance, they come, for the most part, from "the enormous bundle of papers, in which were inextricably mixed illegible drafts in pencil, legible drafts in ink, copies and recopies of different versions, without order or numbering", entrusted at the beginning of the 1950s by the Matarasso bookstore to Emmanuel Peillet alias Sainmont. Known by the only analysis published by the latter in the fifteenth Cahier du Collège de Pataphysique (1954), this set has since disappeared from circulation. Sainmont reports that he drew from it a manuscript of 96 leaves, which was put on sale in the catalogue of the Matarasso bookshop in 1952. It is most likely the almost complete version of the second version described below, totalling 105 pages.
To this set are added three manuscripts and three synopses of the last version from the Noël Arnaud collection (acquired at public sale on 20 June 2005, lot 232.)
Detail, according to the classification used by Sainmont and Besnier dividing the genesis into three stages:
Version 1 (1897-1901) intended for the Théâtre des Pantins; it received the assistance of Willy
- First fragments and drafts, 27 pages in-8, autograph manuscript in ink with parts added in pencil;
- Autograph drafts, 14 pages in-folio;
- First draft, very close to the Rabelaisian work in language and form: autograph manuscript, 43 pages in-8, including a count in Terrasse's hand of a hypothetical performance;
- Third draft, in verse, modernized at the request of Claude Terrasse, 57 pages, mostly in-folio: clean-up with additions and corrections. 30 pages in Jarry's hand (prologue, 1st and 2nd acts), carefully edited with didascalies and names of characters underlined in red; 22 pages attributed to Mazade; contains Claude Terrasse's plan reproduced in the Almanach du Père Ubu 1899, with, on the back, the programme of the Théâtre des Pantins de la rue Ballu (2 pages in-folio).
"It is a fact that the manuscripts of the modernized versions of the I[st] version are all incomplete.
Only the Prologue and the 1st Act are found, carefully written with underlining in red ink. So much so that we have wondered if the ending was ever fully written" (Sainmont, Cahier de Pataphysique n° 15, 1954, p. 26).
Version 2 (1902-1905), Terrasse seeks to obtain a playable version; collaboration of Demolder and, probably,
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