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Raymond Queneau:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Collection in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator: Queneau, Raymond, 1903-1976
Title: Raymond Queneau Collection
Dates: 1917-1990
Extent: 13 boxes, 2 oversize boxes (5.46 linear feet)
Abstract: The Raymond Queneau Collection includes manuscripts, research notes, correspondence, programs, posters, offprints, clippings, and third-party works documenting the professional life of the French writer.
Language: English and French
Access:

Open for research




Acquisition:

Purchase, 2003 (R15204)

The collection was acquired by purchase from San Francisco collector Richard Q. Praeger.

Processed by:

Richard Workman, 2004

Repository:

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center


The Raymond Queneau Collection includes manuscripts, research notes, correspondence, programs, posters, offprints, clippings, and third-party works documenting the professional life of the French writer. Best known for Zazie dans le métro (made into a film by Louis Malle) and Exercises de style, Queneau had a long and distinguished career as a versatile and influential writer, editor at Gallimard publishing house, director of Encyclopédie de la Pleiade, and member of the Académie Goncourt. The materials are arranged in three series: I. Works, II. Correspondence, and III. Third-party Works.

The Works series is subdivided by genre: Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry and Songs, and Translations and Adaptations. Much of the nonfiction materials concern Queneau's research and writing in the 1930s for a projected book on "fous littéraires," or "literary crackpots" in nineteenth-century France. Included are research notes made on slips of paper in the Bibliothèque Nationale, compilations of notes on particular individuals, an extensive manuscript, and a condensed version that he titled Aux confins des ténèbres: Les "fous littéraires" français du XIXe siècle, which was published posthumously in 2002. In addition, Queneau worked some of this research material into his novel, Les enfants du limon. The nonfiction subseries also includes manuscripts of several articles written for the monthly review Volontés that were later reprinted in Le voyage en Grèce (1973), and various other short pieces, including notes on the study of the Hebrew language. Of special interest is a manuscript notebook titled "The Little Cyclopædia" containing Queneau's notes on reading James Joyce's Ulysses .

The Fiction subseries includes manuscripts for Le chiendent (1933; Queneau's first published novel), Les enfants du limon (1938), and the three parts of Les œuvres complètes de Sally Mara: On est toujours trop bon avec les femmes (1947), Journal intime de Sally Mara (1950), and Sally plus intime (1962). There is also a copy of Barbara Wright's English radio adaptation of Exercises de style (1947).

Among the items in the Poetry and Songs subseries is the manuscript of Queneau's earliest poem, "Les derniers jours," written when he was fourteen. There is also a computer printout, credited to Queneau, of one of the 100 trillion possible permutations of his Cent mille milliards de poèmes (1961).

The Translations and Adaptations subseries includes the manuscripts of Queneau's translation and radio adaptation of George du Maurier's novel Peter Ibbetson .

All manuscripts are handwritten unless otherwise specified.

Letters from Queneau to three correspondents make up the Correspondence series. Those to Georges Pelorson, editor of Volontés, are the most numerous, consisting of fourteen letters, notes, and postcards. There is also a single brief letter to William Saroyan mentioning their common friend Henry Miller, and a letter to an unidentified correspondent concerning the artist Joan Miró.

The Third-party Works series includes printed and manuscript works by other writers, and posters and other promotional materials for films, stage performances, and exhibitions related to Queneau's work. In this series is a collection of letters, entitled by Queneau "Hétéroclites," addressed to Gallimard staff by writers hoping to have manuscripts (sometimes included) published by that house. Also here are printed and manuscript materials removed from books that were in Queneau's library; the items have been sleeved with a photocopy of the title page of the book from which they were taken. Several items in the Third-Party Works series are associated with writer Anne Argela and her husband, writer Marcel Jullian, and have no apparent connection with Queneau, but were included with the rest of the archive; the miscellaneous folder at the end of the series contains material connected with Argela and also includes correspondence between officials of the Librairie Académique and the Imprimerie des Coopératives Réunies concerning the works of T. Combe.


The acquisition also included several hundred books by Queneau and other writers (including many written by the "fous littéraires" he researched for Aux confins des ténèbres ), which have been transferred to the Ransom Center Library. In addition, three sound discs were transferred to the Center's Sound Recordings Collection, and a number of original works of art by Queneau were transferred to the Center's Art Collection.