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PRÉVERT, Jacques.


Couverture de Brassaï. [Together with an autograph letter from the author and one from his brother.]

Paris: Éditions du Point du Jour, 1945 [i.e. 1946] Stock Code: 140435
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Jacques Brunius's copy, with autograph letters from the Prévert brothers

First edition, first printing, one of 324 copies on rives paper, Jacques Brunius's copy of one of Prévert's best known collection of poems. They were first published separately in various magazines from around 1930, and were, partially and amateurishly, collected by students from Rheims at the end of the war. The poems were officially gathered in 1945 and published on 10 May 1946 in this edition.

Loosely inserted are two undated letters: one from Jacques Prévert (1900-1977), one of the biggest names of 20th-century French poetry whose poems like "Le cancre" and "Page d'écriture" (both included here) are still given to French pupils to learn off by heart and recite in front of the class. In his letter, the author instructs an unnamed recipient to give him a call at the "Hotel Régent" where he was staying briefly, and to ask for "mister Prévert chambre 901".

The other letter, addressed to film director Jacques Brunius (1906-1967), is from the author's brother, Pierre Prévert (1906-1988), also a film director, notably known for L'Affaire est dans le sac and the documentary Mon frère Jacques (1961), in which Brunius features. In this colourful letter, Pierre thanks Brunius for the English book on French and international cinema, admitting that the text is "incomprehensible" to him, "but very good, without a doubt". He also mentions, in connection to a play, Pierre Brasseur (1905-1972), French actor and friend of the Prévert brothers, who also starred in Mon frère Jacques. Prévert concludes with an underlined "Je pense à toi".

From the library of John Lyle, surrealist bookseller and collector, who initiated the Exeter surrealist exhibition "The Enchanted Domain" to take place in the spring of 1967. "Brunius welcomed the opportunity to revive activity and enthusiastically took part in the organization of the show in collaboration with Lyle, and the poet E. L. T. Mesens" (Richardson). Sadly, Brunius died of a heart attack on 23 April 1967, "on the eve of the realization of one project he had helped to bring to fruition" (ibid.).

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Quarto. Original pictorial wrappers, titles in red to front cover, untrimmed. Jacques Prévert's letter: ink on single-sided sheet folded once (approx. 220 x 143 mm). Pierre Prévert's letter: multicolour crayon on single-sided sheet folded thrice (approx. 380 x 270 mm).


Ink ownership inscription "Jacques Brunius / 1946" and bookplate of John Lyle, surrealist bookseller and collector, to front free endpaper. Spine ends and front joint chipped, covers a little splayed, otherwise notably unfaded, marginal toning to contents as often, light chipping to fore edge of first few leaves, else internally clean; the letters with a touch of toning, else clean. A very good set.


Michael Richardson (ed.), "The International Encyclopedia of Surrealism", p. 110.


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