Thursday, October 27, 2016

"Lost Profiles: Memoirs of Cubism, DADA, and Surrealism" by Philippe Soupault, Translated by Alan Bernheimer (City Lights Books)

ISBN: 978-0-87286-727-7 City Lights Books

"Lost Profiles: Memoirs of Cubism, DADA, & Surrealism" by Philippe Soupault; translated by Alan Bernheimer

Philippe Soupault is one of my favorite writers. A member of the Surrealist world, with a touch of DADA, is a remarkable poet, as well as a prose artist. I also read his remarkable memoir of his years in the French Residence, called "Age of the Assassins" (which needs to be re-printed - NYRB please do so). "Lost Profiles" is a series of Soupault's remembrances of various friends, who happened to be iconic writers such as Apollinaire, René Crevel (underrated poet), Proust, Joyce, Georges Bernanos, Reverdy, Cendrars, and a critical essay on Baudelaire's poetry, plus an appreciation on the artist Henri Rousseau. A short and very sweet, but thoughtful book on the nature of these writers, and what makes them great. The fact that Soupault had a long life, and actually knew Apollinaire and Proust is mind boggling incredible. I'm almost star-struck just by reading this book. Beautifully translated by the poet Alan Bernheimer, with an introduction by Mark Polizzotti and an afterword by Ron Padgett, this is basically a must- read for those who have an interest in the European avant-garde of the early 20th century.

Philippe Soupault, photographed by Man Ray

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