67 L.A.S. "Léon Bloy" and 2 P.A.S., Paris, Montmartre, "Chameaux-sur-Seine", Créteil, Le Tréport, Bourg-la-Reine 1905-1917, to Léon BELLÉ, bookseller-printer in Lagny (Seine-et-Marne); 110 pages in various formats, most with envelope or address, tabbed in one volume in-4, red morocco binding, spine ribbed, black morocco lined back cover, red silk endpapers, case (Semet & Plumelle).
Very nice correspondence to the printer of Lagny ("Cochonssur-Marne") who became a friend of Bloy.
Full of ardour, humour, ferocity and often pathos, it testifies to the writer's intense literary activity, his material distress, his optimism, his ardent faith, and his pity for the country at war. The author of Le Désespéré declares himself "the most hopeful man in the world". We can only give here a quick glimpse of this magnificent correspondence, published in May-June 1951 in the Mercure de France.
1905. June 4th. "The poster [for Four Years in Captivity in Cochonssur-Marne] is amusing. But why do we want, with all our might, that
Cochons-sur-Marne either Lagny & not Meaux or Château-Thierry?
Who can believe that pigs are so rare on the banks of the ancient Matrona that they could be found in the only honored hole, 4 years, of my literary presence?"... Forgetting that he's "some kind of novelist" can expose him to ridiculous blunders... Bloy mocks with verve the fools: "Ignorant of literature & art as much as the most mundane tapirs, measuring the soul of a Writer to their low souls & feeling with that very shitty, they must have foolishly & filthyly believed - as it should have been - that I had used the 4 above-mentioned years to spy carefully on their turpitudes. They thought that I was going to disclose their scoundrels, their adulteries, their incest, their ignored infanticides or parricides, their hippopotamus puking ignominies... The work of art that is my book has deceived them all"... He invites Bellé to make whatever use he wants of this letter... June 10th. Asked for help in finding a bookseller in Meaux who would take his book on deposit: "I imagine that my Pigs would be mostly bought by the priests of the diocese, you know why"... [June 11]. He regrets that Bellé himself didn't write the article in Le Briard: "you wouldn't have made the very-provincial blunder of underlining my misery all the time, which is awkward and derogatory. You would have understood that my "begging" is much less a reality than a panache" ... June 26th. Sending of a letter to be inserted in Le Briard: "This is not "the multiple answer to all the turpitudes reported". Why bother?" Congratulations on the poster for Meaux. He found out from a clergyman that Pigs were circulating at the seminary... June 27th, an amusing postscript addendum to his open letter, the editor having confused scatology with obscenity... ...July 7. He complains about a new article in the Briard: the journalist uses Bloy against his enemies, and distorts his thinking by altering the quoted text: ""a urinal of ignominy", instead of a mirror! It would be childish to assume a typo. Your thug from Provins thought he had found something by bringing the Name of Jesus closer to this word. I call it goujatisme"... July 23rd. Learning that a complaint and an investigation is being made against the author of Pigs, he is saddened that the character of Abbé Galette is "deprived, by the indifference or stupid hostility of the public prosecutor's office, of the grandiose ass-kicking that a libel suit would infallibly earn him"... July 27th.
Explanations on the fate of Bloodsweat, sold off by Dentu's successor, and the misunderstood contractual consequences: "As for my "formal authorization", will I have to send it, sealed with a golden bubble of Byzantine Basileus, countersigned by three hundred imperial notaries & carried by a sumptuous embassy, powerfully armed" ... 1906. January 6th. Bloy reproaches Bellé for not deciding to be his friend "simply, without phrases or excuses, without absurd humility, without writing me lines or pages where you seem to ask forgiveness for being a louse on a tumour, [...] I like you & I think that this is the strongest reason that can be given for a friendship"... October 3rd. "Not only is the real Marchenoir, your friend, not dead, but he is also bored, which implies an indisputable vitality"... 1907. January 4th. Explanations on the case of Gil Blas, where he did not lose the opportunity to express his complete contempt for the Académie Goncourt ... "I do not wish to ignore the fact that
HuYsmans says of me. He's a bad man who hates me all the more because he owes me so much. I don't want to let him out of my sight"... Bellé's protest has