Article Title

Louis Aragon's L'Armoire à glace un beau soir: A Play of the Surrealist "Époque de sommeil"


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Louis Aragon was, in the Paris of -1919, a member of that floating commune of young writers who met at Certas in the Passage de l'Opéra at its annex Le Petit. Grillon, and occasionally at the restaurant of Mme. Saulinier, a few steps away on the rue du Mont-Thabor. Its members were twenty years old in 1920 and gathered around the periodical which they had defiantly named Littérature.1 This small yellow-covered magazine, which published the works of Gide, Max Jacob,. Reverdy, Cendrars, and Isadore Ducasse, Comte de Lautréamont, had set out to make a sweeping indictment of "traditional" literature, and Aragon was, at twenty-three, one of its three editors. Tall and delicate, with a thin moustache, he was already a leading figure in the French cultural avant-garde and a precocious literary success. The other two editors were André Breton, at twenty-four, the guru, and Philippe Soupault, twenty-three, the strongest devotee of dada who loved all things African and who once appeared costumed as the· President of the Liberian Republic. About these three gathered Paul Eluard who worked. in his father's real-estate business during the day and wrote poetry at night, Roger Vitrac, a nonchalant young giant of twenty-one who was to become the group's most serious dramatist, and Jacques Baron, at. seventeen, the youngest. This was the "surrealist" group in 1920, before there was a surrealism.

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