Poèmes de guerre suivi de Pièces Détachées. Illustré par l'Auteur. Third Front and Detached Pieces translated by Roland Penrose & The Author.London: London Gallery Editions, 1944 Stock Code: 140447
NotesFirst UK edition, first impression, presentation copy inscribed on the half-title "A mon vieil ami Jacques Bernard Brunius, 'Nous avons mis vingt ans trente ans, A vivre avec ingénuité, Force et ingéniosité...' En toute affection, E. L. T. Mesens. 9 Avril 1944". This bilingual publication, with French and English facing texts, is number 8 of 500 copies only signed by the author in pen and five colour fingerprints.
The recipient was the French actor and film director, Jacques Brunius (1906-1967), who worked as assistant director to Luis Buñuel on L'Âge d'or, and appeared in more than 30 films, under several pseudonyms. Brunius was a member of surrealist groups in France and then in England, with his friends Conroy Maddox, Roland Penrose, and the Belgian composer, E. L. T. Mesens (1903-1971). Mesens was an artist and writer, and a founding member of the Belgian Surrealist movement. In 1938, he settled in London and ran the London Gallery, where surrealist works were exhibited to popularise the surrealist movement in the Anglo-Saxon world. In 1941, he worked with the BBC on their wartime broadcasts and adapted the tune of "La Cucaracha" for the taunting refrain, "Radio Paris ment, Radio Paris ment, Radio Paris est allemand" ("Radio Paris lies, Radio Paris lies, Radio Paris is German").
Loosely inserted are pp. 9-12 from another of Mesens's London Gallery 1944 publications: Message from Nowhere. Page 9 includes a note by Maddox on religion, pp. 10-11 is a poem by Mesens, dedicated to Brunius "Le dimanche la radio annonce toujours de bonnes nouvelles" ("On Sunday, the radio always gives good news"), illustrated by drawings from Edith Rimmington and John Banting; on p. 12 is the beginning of Roland Penrose's "Bulldoze Your Dead".
Brunius and Mesens were brought together one last time for the Exeter surrealist exhibition "The Enchanted Domain", which was planned for the spring of 1967. "Brunius welcomed the opportunity to revive activity and enthusiastically took part in the organization of the show in collaboration with the bookseller and collector John Lyle, E. L. T. Mesens, and Conroy Maddox" (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... His death was made all the stranger by the fact that the previous evening, as they had been making the final preparations for the exhibition, Mesens had predicted that 'three of our friends with names beginning with a B will die during the year' (in Pagliano, 1987)" (ibid.).
Octavo. Original pale green wrappers with flaps, printed in black, untrimmed. With the original glassine.
5 wood-engraved illustrations by the author, including 1 double-page.
Slight wear to corners, hinges starting but firm, small edge-splits to glassine, internally fresh and clean; a remarkable survival.
Michael Richardson (ed.), "The International Encyclopedia of Surrealism", p. 110.
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