Dive into the heart of the Pléiade, 89 years old, cult collection of French literature
LE PARISIEN WEEK-END.The flagship of the Gallimard house, synonymous with eternal fame for the writers who appear there, has managed to survive the upheavals of the book industry.
“Gaston, a disastrous grocer, refused me the Pléiade […] the idiot! »Scribbles, angry, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, in March 1957.For a few years, the irascible author has sent inflammatory missives every week to his publisher, Gaston Gallimard.His obsession: to enter the prestigious Bibliothèque de la Pléiade during his lifetime, a literary monument on bible paper.Hidden in her Second Empire pavilion perched on a hill in Meudon, Céline fulminates.The volcanic writer has tried everything: flattery, compassion, anger, indignation, insult ...But the stern editor resists.
Ulcerated, the sixty-year-old force the doors of eternity with blackmail."You will not have my next book (Editor's note:" North "), that's all, if I'm not at the Pléiade in three months, the rest is blah-blah and tired ...”Finally, Gallimard gave in in June 1959.An enlightened decision - Céline's volume has been among the best sellers for sixty years, ensuring, alongside Saint-Exupéry, Proust, Rimbaud and Camus, up to 30% of the collection's turnover.But the story is cruel.The controversial author of "Voyage au bout de la nuit" (published by Denoël in 1932) died seven months before the publication of the work.
In eighty-nine years of existence, the Pleiade has caused more than one writer to lose their minds.A brotherhood of talents that brings together Racine and Joseph Kessel, Boris Vian and Aeschylus, the collection promises immortality even in its materials.The roundness of its "chagrin" leather, the finesse of its sewn pages and the brilliance of its 23-carat gilding make it an art object entrusted for nearly a century to the Babouot workshops, artisans bookbinders with millimeter movements, installed 35 km from Paris.
Posted Date: 2021-02-03