July 27, 2011

The Approximate Man of TristanTzara

Published in 1931, L'Homme Approximatif (The Approximate Man) is a pivotal text in the work of Tristan Tzara. Written between 1925 and 1930, this poem is at the crossroads of the revolutionary Dadaist period and the Surrealist growth. One can find in this work, without punctuation or capitalization, the struggle of the author : a desire to reclaim the language to better fight a civilization that restricts men, prevents them to overtake theirs limits. The man he described is approximate in the way that he is thrown at random in the world, inaccessible to himself as to others, uncertain of the meaning of his life, yet passionate.The goal of the poem is to imagine a new man who lets intuition and spontaneity guide him through life.
je parle de qui parle qui parle je suis seul
je ne suis qu'un petit bruit j'ai plusieurs bruit en moi
un bruit glacé froissé au carrefour jeté sur le trottoir humide
aux pieds des hommes pressés courant avec leur morts autour de la mort qui étend ses bras
sur le cadran de l'heure seule vivante au soleil
Currently, la librairie Loliée offers : 
  • Tzara (Tristan). L'Homme approximatif. Paris, Editions Fourcade, 1931, in-8, Bradel binding, plats, original covers. First edition. Limited to 510 copies, this one on  "vélin bibliophile".