April 28, 2010

Surrealist tracts from the Aragon case

In 1927, following Paul Eluard and with André Breton, his two friends from Surrealism, Louis Aragon joined the Communist Party. In 1930, he went to the USSR, to represent the Surrealists Congress of Revolutionary Writers in Kharkov. Vladimir Mayakovsky, critic of the new regime, has just committed suicide. The Communists of strict obedience suspect the surrealists to drift to Trotskyism and anarchism. Aragon took sides and, on his return to France, published a poem, Front Rouge, which broke with surrealism aesthetic. His tone is provocative [Pliez les réverbères comme des fétus de pailles / Faites valser les kiosques les bancs les fontaines Wallace / Descendez les flics / Camarades / descendez les flics / Plus loin plus loin vers l'ouest où dorment / les enfants riches et les putains de première classe/ Dépasse la Madeleine Prolétariat/ Que ta fureur balaye l'Élysée] and, in 1931, Aragon is charged for inciting to murder.
If Breton defends him by publishing L'Affaire Aragon, he also denounced in Misère de la poésie how Front Rouge is "poetically regressive". The break -up between Surrealists and Aragon is consumed.

Currently, the librairie Loliée offers :
  • Certificat. Paris, 1932. 1 leaf in-4, recto. Printed in black on green paper. Famous tract against Aragon signed by Paul Eluard who ends with a Lautreamont quote : « Toute l’eau de la mer ne suffirait pas à laver une tache de sang intellectuelle. »
  • L’Affaire Aragon. Paris, january 1932. 2 leaves in-4, the second removable, printed in red on velum white paper. Tract asking for solidarity with Aragon, signed by 12 members of the movement.
  • Paillasse ! (Fin de « l’affaire Aragon »). Paris, Éditions Surréalistes, March 1932. stapled booklet, in-8. Pamphlet against Aragon by Char, Crevel, Dali, Eluard, Ernst, Péret, Tanguy et Tzara.