7 autograph MANUSCRITS,[for Discours du grand sommeil, 1915-1918]; 13 pages in-4.
Working manuscripts with many new variants.
Discourse of the Great Sleep is a poetic sequence that consists of a prologue, the long poem that bears this title and ten separate poems that revolve around the same theme. It was published in 1924 in Poésie 1916-1923 (Éditions de la Nouvelle Revue
Française). It is the direct result of the war, and dictated by the death of the young poet Jean Le Roy (to whom it is dedicated) and the marine riflemen of Nieuwpoort, decimated the day after Cocteau left the front; poetry is confronted with Death, the verbal pirouettes being only exercises in tightrope walking whose virtuosity masks gravity and danger. Cocteau began working on it at the front at the end of 1915, but the long elaboration would continue until 1918; these drafts, abundantly worked with important variations, bear a precious testimony to this difficult poetic genesis.
The set includes the following manuscripts: * the epigraph (1 p.), more developed than in the edition: "Translated from what? Of this dead language, of this country where my friends died. Sometimes the translator has a better chance. He finds rhythms, rhymes again. Sometimes he just translates accurately.
Sometimes he delivers himself on an aluminum ring with chiselings of the worst taste".
* L'Enfant du Nord (published under the title Ballade de l'enfant du Nord; 4 p.), almost complete with many variants and corrections): "Like lightning the shooting of the
De Marine pieces a large pale bindweed to the windows the room moves"... * Ode to the pipe] (1 p. abundantly erased and corrected), elaborating the end of the poem: "Ah ! Virgins to soothe you"... *[Tour of the quiet sector] (1 p. abundantly erased and corrected), of which we have 7 verses here: "At the marine observation post you stuck your eye like a feather
holder to see the church in relief"... * [Délivrance des âmes] (1 p. a