The Jean Malaquais Papers consist of manuscript drafts, correspondence, notes,
clippings, scrapbooks, photographs, journals, and bound volumes belonging to the
French writer and translator, Jean Malaquais. The papers are organized into three
series: I. Works, 1936-2001, undated; II. Correspondence, 1917-2010, undated;
III. Personal and Professional Files, 1939-2009, undated.
Series I. Works includes drafts of Malaquais' stories, novels, essays, poems, play
scripts, and other writings. Malaquais wrote in both French and English and
occasionally in Spanish. Works are arranged in alphabetical order by title, with
shorter works combined into folders within specific alphabetical ranges. Because
publication information is difficult to verify for many of the French and Spanish
essays and shorter works, the publication information provided reflects what is
believed to be the date of first publication.
Of particular interest is a heavily annotated edition of Les
Javanais that also contains many handwritten notes and emendations taped
over the original published text. Similarly, a heavily annotated first edition
Planète sans visa is also contained
within this series. Due to the fragility of both of these bound volumes, each
been restricted and a digitized version is available for use.
Also noteworthy is a carbon typescript draft of the preface to Le gaffeur written by Norman Mailer. Series III. Personal and
Professional Papers contains additional material related to Mailer.
Series II. Correspondence makes up a considerable segment of the papers and it is
arranged into two subseries: A. Personal and B. Professional. Correspondents include
Nelson Algren, James Baldwin, Roland Barthes, Samuel Beckett, Charles Boyer, Michael
Fraenkel, Varian Fry, André Gide, Norman Mailer, Granger Ryan, Leon
Trotsky, and other American, French, and Australian writers, artists, intellectuals,
publishers, translators, and admirers. Most letters are either in French or English,
but some are in Spanish. Carbon copies of Malaquais' outgoing letters are found
throughout the correspondence.
Subseries A. Personal correspondence contains a large volume of letters with French
writer André Gide. Contents include original handwritten letters from Gide
to Malaquais and Malaquais' typed transcriptions of these letters. In addition,
there are a few of Malaquais' outgoing typed carbon copies and hand-transcribed
copies of Malaquais' letters housed with Gide's papers at Bibliothèque
Sainte-Geneviève in Paris. This collection of letters was published in
France as André Gide-Jean Malaquais: Correspondance,
1935-1950 (Phébus, 2000) and edited by Geneviève
Millot-Nakach and Pierre Masson. Series III. Personal and Professional Papers
contains page proofs of this manuscript. Filed separately in this subseries are
letters from Gide's secretary, Yvonne Davet.
Of significant importance is personal correspondence between Malaquais and American
writer, Norman Mailer from 1948 to 1992. Interfiled within these original letters
are Malaquais' letters photocopied from the Ransom Center's Norman Mailer Papers.
Scattered among these letters are several letters from Mailer's first wife, Beatrice
(Bea), and in later years from his sixth wife, Norris. This collection of letters
was published in France as Correspondance: Jean Malaquais et
Norman Mailer (Le Cherche Midi, 2008) and edited by Geneviève
Millot-Nakach and Elisabeth Deberdt-Malaquais. Series III. Personal and Professional
Papers contains Mailer's edits of this manuscript. A small segment of letters
which Mailer discussed the mental health of Malaquais' son, Jeannot, is restricted
until Jeannot's death.
Related to Mailer is a large volume of lengthy letters from convicted murderer Jack
Henry Abbott. Abbott contacted Mailer in 1977 upon learning that Mailer was writing
about convicted murderer Gary Gilmore for his book, The
Executioner's Song. Abbott offered to write about his own prison
experiences and Mailer ultimately assisted Abbott in publishing In the Belly of the Beast (1981). Malaquais became
acquainted with Abbott after Mailer and other notables petitioned to have Abbott
released from prison in 1981 and Malaquais frequently hosted Abbott in his home.
weeks after his release, Abbott fatally stabbed a man and was convicted and returned
to prison. In his letters, Abbott recounts details of the stabbing, discusses
philosophical topics, and often mentions Mailer. Abbott's writings and other
attachments accompany some letters.
Also of interest are letters from Eiichi Yamanishi, Japanese translator of Mailer's
The Naked and the Dead. Though his letters
mention Mailer, they often focus on the political situation in Japan and his
admiration for Malaquais' work and his attempt to get his writings published in
Japan. Also present are letters from one of Malaquais' translators, Mary Guggenheim.
Subseries B. Professional correspondence contains letters from French, American,
English, Mexican, and other publishers; agents including Madeline B., Franz J.
Horch, Scott Meredith, and Russell & Volkening; and other translators,
editors, and admirers. Contracts, royalty statements, and other attachments are
frequently interfiled with this correspondence, such as the contract between Mailer
and Malaquais for his French translation of The Naked and the
Dead filed with the Albin Michel correspondence.
Also included is a file of letters associated with Malaquais numerous university
appointments and files of letters associated with various works. In 1967 to 1968,
Malaquais and his wife, Elisabeth, collaborated on an English translation of an
anthology of contemporary French literature that was never published. A file
includes letters to many notable writers, including Samuel Beckett, in order to
secure rights to republish their work.
Series III. Personal and Professional Papers contains documents related to Malaquais'
life as a writer. Biographical papers, contracts, film project material, journals,
manuscripts written by other authors, notes and research material, photographs,
scrapbooks, and material related to his university appointments are found in this
Of primary interest is material related to writer Norman Mailer. This only item
associated with Malaquais' translation of Mailer's The Naked
and the Dead is a first edition of the novel inscribed to Malaquais in
December 1948. The volume contains remarkable annotations and translation notes
by Malaquais. As Mailer admits, Malaquais wasn't fond of the novel and this copy
contains numerous pages with words underlined and lines connecting words suggesting
Malaquais' disapproval of ideas and word repetition. Manuscript drafts for Mailer's
introduction to Malaquais' The Joker (published in
France as Le gaffeur) and a 1996 essay entitled
"War of the Oxymorons" are also among the
materials. In addition, are two edited manuscript drafts for Correspondance: Jean Malaquais et Norman Mailer (Le Cherche Midi, 2008)
edited by Geneviève Millot-Nakach and Elisabeth Deberdt-Malaquais and
published in France. The personal correspondence in the second series includes
original letters between Mailer and Malaquais that were used for this manuscript.
Also present is a small amount of photographs of Malaquais and Mailer taken between
1982 and 1997; Elisabeth Malaquais and Norris Mailer also appear in some of the
In addition to fiction and prose, Malaquais explored film-making particularly while
living in Mexico in the early 1940s. He wrote several scripts and treatments and
this series contains a small sample of this work. Within this segment is research
and grant applications for a documentary film Malaquais wanted to make about the
native Indians of Peru. French cinematographer Edmond Séchan was considered
for the project and the material includes letters from Séchan and several
film stills from the set of Crin-Blanc (White Mane).
Also of importance are five incomplete journals written in French, particularly the
journal dated 1943 to 1954 that was apparently buried and kept by his wife for
Reviews and clippings in English, French, and other languages are also included in
this series. In addition, two scrapbooks contain clippings from 1944 to 1960.
the fragility of these scrapbooks, each has been restricted and a digitized version
is available for use.
Access Note: Based on restrictions imposed by the donor,
any material related to Jean (Jeannot) Malaquais' health is closed until Jeannot's
death. Some letters from Joseph Church, Norman Mailer, and all letters from
Bethsabee de Rothschild were removed and are restricted until that time.