Item #2244 Lettre-Plainte. Jean Cocteau.
Lettre-Plainte
Lettre-Plainte
Lettre-Plainte

Lettre-Plainte

Paris: [R. Saucier], 1926. First edition. vii, [1] pp. Stapled printed wrappers. Slight offsetting to preliminary leaves, slight handling wear, slight sunning to spine. Of 25 copies printed hors commerce, this is exemplaire no. 7. “Cette lettre a été tirée à 25 exemplaires sur papier ver e d’Arches hors-commerce par les soins de Roland Saucier et achevée d’imprimer le 22 mai 1926 par l’Imprimerie centrale de l’ouest à La Roche-sur-Yon (Vendée).” Inscribed by Cocteau to the great collector Jacques Guérin. An original photograph of the young Cocteau, with cane and dog, is mounted to the half-title. We’ve traced another photo of Cocteau from the same sitting, circa 1918, without the dog, but this one is possibly unpublished.

Cocteau’s “complaint letter” addressed the issue of books and other possessions being stolen from Cocteau’s apartment on the rue d’Anjou. Although he writes “I accuse no one” (and indeed, “J’ai toujours préféré les voleurs à la police”), many of the books were stolen by Maurice Sachs, who was entrusted by Cocteau to sell some of his material while Cocteau was in Villefranche-sur-Mer and wound up taking considerably more than he should have, and pocketing the money. Cocteau published the letter “to warn everyone who owns books inscribed to me that I never dispose of books sent to me by their authors—not even after erasing the inscription, a current practice I consider worst of all.” The letter was published by Roland Saucier of the Gallimard bookshop.

See Steegmuller, Cocteau, Appendix XIII, p. 521; and Arnaud, Jean Cocteau, p. 430. Rosanna Warren also touches upon Sachs’ thievery from Cocteau in her biography of Max Jacob (p. 422), as does Carlton Lake in his chapter on Cocteau in Confessions of a Literary Archaeologist. OCLC locates four copies, Beinecke, BnF, KB, Delaware. Item #2244

Price: $5,000.00