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Signed book, First edition

Robert de MONTESQUIOU Manuscrit autographe inédit du recueil "Le dernier pli des neuf voiles", véritable testament poétique

Robert de MONTESQUIOU

Manuscrit autographe inédit du recueil "Le dernier pli des neuf voiles", véritable testament poétique

s.d. (ca 1920), 620 ff. sous trois chemises de 25x33cm, en feuilles sous chemises.


Unpublished handwritten manuscript of the “Le dernier pli des neuf voiles” collection, a true poetic testament

A priceless poetic testament from Marcel Proust's mentor, who lies dormant and out of sight since the death of the author.

The set of largely unpublished handwritten poems by Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac is brought together by the Count in a collection entitled Le Dernier Pli des neuf voiles, whose composition extends from his very first collection (Les Chauves-Souris, 1892) to his last triology (Offrandes, 1915).
Handwritten set of 620 leaves. 532 unpublished, first draft, handwritten on the recto and numbered in pencil, preserved in 3 chemises in half red contemporary morocco, red morocco labels with gilt author and title?; the poems are then placed in the chemises with a handwritten title and planned numbering for their publication. According to a note from the author, “the differences in ink have no meaning, mere change of copy?”. Rare pages from the hand of his secretary Henri Piniaud?: pg. 20 of “?Huitième #voile?” and pg. 29 of “?@Neuvième voile#?”. 23 pages present the printed or typewritten texts of the poems and are enriched with Montesquiou's handwritten corrections.
A set of printed proofs are found at the top of the first chemise, as well as a pencil tracing based on Aubrey Beardsley carried out by the author and accompanied by his handwritten indications.
%Sublime ode to dandyism, to homosexuality and beauty, this worldly and poetic promenade by Montesquiou plunges the reader into the decadent, fin-de-siècle Paris described in $@Recherche du temps perdu #% by his friend Marcel Proust. Imbued with his legendary enthusiasm for pictorial, decorative, theatrical and floral art, the collection also delivers hundreds of verses in mourning of the disappearance of the Count's lover, Gabriel Yturri.$
Thanks to this collection of poems by Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac, all of which had been lost since 1986, it is now possible to complete the rehabilitation of the aristocratic poet who has long embodied and shaped the Parisian spirit. In May 1920, Montesquiou left handwritten instructions for the posthumous publication of the collection, initially announced in two volumes, and never produced. On his death a year later, the poems will be bequeathed to his secretary Henri Pinard, who will sell them on an unknown date. Auctioned on 24 November 1986, they were mentioned in the @Loire-Littérature# colloquium in 1989.
This considerable manuscript by Montesquiou forms a veritable “?home of poetry?” like his famous aesthetic apartments described by Huysmans, where the series of “?voiles?” contain dozens of unpublished poems written in parallel with his previous collections. The author himself indicated the kinship of each “?voile?” with a published collection, announcing here the total completion of his work by the addition of poems which still lay dormant in his papers.
The three thick chemises contain rare and curious treasures, sometimes drawn on coloured sheets, often pasted on larger sheets, rigorously ordered while awaiting their publication. The poems are written without crossings-out, they are fluid, with rounded and precious handwriting, and stand alongside other first-draft manuscripts: redactions and corrections also bear witness to the work in progress on the new poems?; they were applied in the printed proofs of the work, present at the top of the manuscript's first chemise. Some poems are taken as they are from collections already published but are slightly modified, according to the explanations given by the author. Montesquiou also adds some handwritten notes detailing his intentions.
The manuscript contains a poetic anthology of sacred art, of extremely rare flowers and of antique furniture adorning his famous Parisian apartments “?around which so many legends were built?” (Jacques Saint-Cère) which fuelled the personalities of Des Esseintes, Baron Charlus, Dorian Gray and the vain peacock in Edmond Rostand's @Chantecler#. Moreover, Montesquiou was overwhelmed by the features of these famous fictional ghosts, of which he would be the common denominator, the original matrix. The tastes that forged these characters, pushing refinement to excess, are however never far away?: porcelain from Saxony, Chinese cups, Empire furniture...a real museum on paper is built over the course of the verses, fortifying the interiors so celebrated by the Count?:
“?%[...] when I [touched a lacquer,$
%An ivory, an object [which seduces the eye,$
%And crystal [clear or opaque alabaster$
%I felt myself [brush against the gentle touch of art$?”
The “?voiles?” of the manuscript collection are packed with orientalist and symbolist poems where we meet the paintings of Gustave Moreau, the Extasy of Saint Teresa by Bernini which “?shivers with love?” or Saint Sebastian, fetish martyr of Uranism, pierced by the arrows of love and desire. We also find the manuscripts of his curious floral and scented dedications on coloured papers, in the purest spirit of Des Esseintes, assembled in the @Commentaire descriptif d'une collection d'objets de parfumerie#. This highly scientific title refers to poetic impressions born of olfactory experiences?: “?%The subtle casseroles / Where the last sigh sleeps / Of the death of the violets / In the remains of elixir$?”. The omnipresence of Latin titles also recalls the library of his Huysmans @alto ego#, a great bibliomaniac like Montesquiou.
In the privacy of Montesquiou's idyll, the manuscript contains the poet's ultimate homage to his lover. Presented here in its final state, his collection in memory of “?his faithful Yturri?”, entitled @Le Chancelier de Fleurs,# is completed thanks to seventy unpublished poems about his companion. The flamboyant and skittish Argentine, nine years his junior, whom the poet, from the height of his venerable lineage, ennobled “?don Gabriel de Yturri?”, shared his life for twenty years. The latter died of diabetes in 1905, only two months before Marcel Proust's mother. The sensitivity of the two lovers had brough them ever closer to themselves and distant from others, taking pleasure in artistic preciousness, the love of Beauty and the trinket of which these poems are the sensational testimony?:
“?%Yet you are there on this [<u>sensitive</u> paper,$
%Like my heart. Us both [we are proud of us$
%Him, for keeping your image [visible, $
%Me, to make last what is left of [you$?”
(“?Premier voile?”). The %$Montesquiou-Yturri union is so consolidated that doubt lingered for a long time over the true author of the verses published in the name of the Count. Montesquiou does not hesitate to make facetious references to his homosexual attraction which he condemns - at least hypocritically - among his contemporaries and his predecessors, notably in a sonnet about Philippe d'Orléans, installing a lascivious statue of Antinous and Hadrian: “?%Leaning against each other, they are standing and naked / Their softness unites them, but their type contracted [...] Alone, the literate passer-by knows what defames them / And that, for his guidance, put them in this place / Sir brother of the King, who does not like Lady$?%!$?” (“?Sixième voile?”).
On Yturri's death, an inconsolable Montesquiou published @Le Chancelier#, a poetic and biographical collection in honour of this beloved messenger, who carried the famous bouquets that the poet offered to his relatives. Their stormy and passionate relationship transpires from these macabre lines with desperate accents, unveiled after his own disappearance?:
“?%You, who preceded me yesterday [into the grave.$
%You have in this, which is not [offered to me.$
%Already day is falling, evening is drawing, the [night falls.$
%And I remain alone, like [the iron ring.$?”
With the publication of @Dernier Pli des neuf voiles#, Montesquiou hoped for the posthumous triumph of his poetic works, while his memoirs - which themselves were edited - would ensure his fame as a chronicler of his time. Jealous of his protégé Marcel Proust, now crowned with glory and honour, Montesquiou bitterly remembers the times when his young disciple was initiated into the mysteries of high society with him and sharpened his literary aspirations. The two men, in 1905, blame the death of a cherished mother and an irreplaceable companion, which brings them closely together. Subsequently, Proust famously sacrificed his friendship with the Count for his great Work, exposing without pity his weaknesses through the Baron Charlus, in which Montesquiou easily recognised himself despite the writer's denials. Their capricious characters and Proust's seclusion got the better of this fraternal friendship, which nevertheless greatly influenced the style and substance of @Recherche du temps perdu.#
After his disappointments with the literary writers, Montesquiou is more lenient with the poets, and in particular the fickle D'Annunzio with whom he had troubled relationships, and also Paul Verlaine with whom he was close during the last years of the author of @ Poèmes saturniens#. In a typescript version with handwritten corrections of “?Sonnet anniversaire?”, marking the 25th anniversary of the death of the celestial tramp, he mentions his destructive and paroxysmic relationship with Rimbaud?:
“?%This chance has led you into [sad twists and turns$?%;$
%Some were [cruel, through [being tender$?%; $
%The others [were beautiful, [through being [bitter$?”.
The manuscript collection also contains tributes to artistic icons of le Tout-Paris, the actors Charles Le Bagy, Ida Rubinstein, Réjane, but above all Sarah Bernhardt, Montesquiou's corpus enriched by two previously unknown poems dedicated to the actress.
Close to the circle of inverts, Montesquiou also multiplies the poetic offerings to his muses with lesbian leanings. The “?premier voile?” of the manuscript contains the very first, yet unpublished poem, dedicated to the poet Lucie Delarue-Mardrus, lover of Nathalie Clifford-Barney, who famously rejected the young Philippe Pétain. She was a rival of Anna de Noailles in the affections of Montesquiou, who also devotes a poem to the latter. Oscillating between admiration and hatred of the female sex, we find sonnets dedicated to the great personalities who surrounded them, such as the Marquise of Casa-Fuerte, Mme Edmond Rostand, Princess Bibesco, Countess Piccolomini, but also vitriolic verses on the famous courtesans, the Pompadour (“?%She is dreadful at the same time as exquisite$?”, (“?Deuxième voile?”), or the Païva “?%the beautiful Jewess who seizes Paris / For there make a grim choice of husband$?” (“?Deuxième voile?”).
%The “$?%Lord of Hydrangeas$?%”, signs his farewell through hundreds of unpublished handwritten pages and unveils a piece of his still unexplored poetic home. His fictional character has long overshadowed his capacity as an author, which finds its rightful place in this exceptional collection that has been lost for a century.$

38 000 €

Réf : 75933

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