Jean-Louis Barrault elaborates in Dijon a surreal and squeaky menu, illustrated with cartoons

Barrault Dijon lettre et caricatures

Jean-Louis Barrault (1910-1914). Autograph letter signed “Your poor Barrault “, Dijon, on 4 March 1933, to his “old Tosi ” [Guy Tosi, next literary director of Éditions Denoël; he was the publisher, among others,, of Céline, Cendrars, Malaparte and Miller], with 9 cartoons in gray pencil. 4 pp. in-4°. Header of the “Grand Café”. Restaurant. Rue du Château (Près de la Poste). Dijon. ”

Jean-Louis Barrault, garrisoned in Dijon, idle and furious to have his permission removed, takes revenge by developing a surreal and squeaky menu, illustrated with cartoons.

Barrault Dijon lettre et caricatures

My old Tosi

It’s been a long time since I chatted with you and you can’t know how much I regret it.!..

If I crystallize at the moment to” the atmosphere here it is what can roll in the palm of your hand, like a sumptuous menu from a high-class restaurant : a spangle of people pivoting on their arthritic axes among a velvety tobacco smoke

a half-general ice cream, half-captain, with as prâlines an old remnant of 24Hours “kind” permission, all bathed i[n]a black-cockroach liquid. This entremet is in honor of my permission deleted to[day] resultant, no from my misconduct, but of the relatively bad functioning at this moment of the stomach of the lieutenant general.

a blue hood

a puff pastry of mobilization booklets of all colors and perfumes: ô Huysmans !

finally a large salad containing all species: “homemade salad” : native watercress growing in wet channels of gray matter.

Barrault Dijon lettre et caricatures

Wines years 1930-31-32 from the clos Dancourt unfortunately a little passed since we bottled it on 20 last October.

etc etc…. This is a starting point from which I could leave to wander endlessly, to roughly ejaculate my mental elucubrations and draw a line that would proscribe angles, real macaroni madly long and monotonous, species of father-colic that would eventually sit at the top of its spirals, ventable [sic] species of dried snake skin, mandatory abandonment, sad and lonely (let me fall asleep from the sleep of the Earth!) that any individual who evolves must deposit between two stones, true species of the style genre of …. There you go: Lord! You made me powerful but lonely! [For. de Vigny. Poèmes antiques et modernes. Moïse. “So I will always live powerful and lonely.? / Let me fall asleep from the sleep of the earth. »]

or in style 20th century, I was forbidden any clutch so my engine is racing, in a whirlwind, growing, on itself; and if the Present Moment pinned a single image of this crazy movie strip, pinned it to the wall like a multicolored butterfly, he would see a form of fetus looking at his neck and whipping his kidneys with its umbilical cord..

etc etc…

Wait for me to reread myself to get upset! And thus mortified, I would probably prefer to imitate the journalist, instead of the poet (sic !). Basically, I don’t imitate anyone [;] in front of you I relax. On the altar of friendship, in your honour, I burn my brain feces! (It gave off a smell of lavender like an old Provencal wardrobe with piles of white cloth!)

Then! I read it again… Good evening!…

Barrault Dijon lettre et caricatures

Here I am again:

[Follow 7 grey pencil cartoons, then 2 on the back among which we seem to recognize Darius Milhaud, James Joyce and Jean Anouilh].

Barrault Dijon lettre et caricatures

I don’t know what to tell you anymore because really the life that is commonly called real lacks of charm. I’m still not bad at recruiting, I’ll pass “first class”, it will save me the chores. until then, I had all the permissions I wanted, but it doesn’t seem to want to continue. Finally I am always very good with Dullin who is always very nice. [Charles Dullin. He was his pupil from 1931, then actor of his troupe from 1933 to 1935]. I feel good and maybe I’ll deal with a movie business these days..

I read as much as I can. I’m still learning to sing. I tried to learn the Oboe but then I run out of time and I will be forced to abandon it.

I expect your news, more balanced than mine.

All my friendship. Your poor Barrault…

… who gets disgusted, but then can no longer feel at certain times. Snob, poseur, ham, hollow, kind of balloon of the Galeries Lafayette, so I appear at this moment.


Exceptional letter in which J. L. Barrault lets go of his verve, angry but nevertheless very poetic.