November 13, 2008

Debussy - Toulet : a lasting friendship

Paul-Jean Toulet and Claude Debussy met at the Café Weber, rue Royale in Paris. Toulet loved encouters with "my brother the whiskey and my friend the night." Debussy, who was not an easy friend to gain, quickly liked the poet. The two men planned to adapt for the opera As You Like It by Shakeaspeare. Their personal correspondence, first published in 1929, spreads over 16 years and closes up on Debussy's death. The letters testify the affinities that bind the writer and the composer : a love for arts and a taste for hyperbole. The two men speak about their Shakespeare's project that will ultimately not be done, about their social activities and artistic meetings. They are thoughtful to one another without dwelling on their respective diseases. In the last year, it is mainly wifes who discuss the health of their husbands. "Friends, charities, virtuosos, parents took all of us... I saw however a nice and intelligent doctor to make some essential injections to the Master, who is a little depressed ... " Emma Claude Debussy wrote to Madam Toulet.

Debussy died in 1918. Toulet, sick of too much alcohol and opium, succumbed two years later. With his Contrerimes, which are beginning to be published in 1910 and whose final edition will be released in 1921, Toulet is recognized as an important poet and appointed as head of the ecole fantaisiste (The Fantasy School).

Currently, the librairie Loliée offers :
  • Toulet (Paul-Jean). Correspondance de Claude Debussy et P.J. Toulet. Paris, Le Divan, 1929, binding by Huser. First Edition. One of the 15 first copies on Japan paper.
  • Toulet (Paul-Jean) . Les Contrerimes. Paris, Edition du Divan et Emile Paul, 1921, pfull binding by Huser. First edition. One of the first 20 copies on China paper.