From Book 3: Guernica

            In April the German air force, commanded by Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen, bombed the town of Guernica in Spain which was the center of Basque culture and also the northern bastion of the Republican resistance movement. The two-hour assault by a squadron of Junkers warplanes leveled the town. The young men were away fightingContinue reading “From Book 3: Guernica”

From Book 3: The Spanish Civil War, Part 2

            The spring unwound under slow fingers. Franz and Catherine left for the Pyrenees, taking Aleron with them; he had been ill and Franz thought the mountains would help him. Desnos was working with André Masson on a new book, Les sans cou. Youki and Louis both worked on their art galleries and most ofContinue reading “From Book 3: The Spanish Civil War, Part 2”

From Book 3: The Spanish Civil War, Part 1

            The next morning, my brother and I agreed to spend a day apart.             I showed my photograph to shopkeepers, to hotel clerks, to women in the street. No one had seen Justine. I ended up in a graveyard, sitting on a toppled gravestone and staring at her photograph. Now I doubted Justine hadContinue reading “From Book 3: The Spanish Civil War, Part 1”

From Book 3: Artaud, Anais Nin and Henry Miller

Previous scene here (the lecture at the Sorbonne).             Hulkish Allendy appeared in the doorway, eyes glowering from beneath his brows. His own drooping beard barely moved when he spoke. “Get him out of here.” He and the blushing man seized my arms and dragged me to the entrance. My laughter bounced over the headsContinue reading “From Book 3: Artaud, Anais Nin and Henry Miller”

From Book 3: I Love You, Part Three

Previous scene here. I walked to the end of rue Blomet and turned right onto the rue de Javel where I found a weather-battered movie house advertising Abel Gance’s Lucrezia Borgia. I went in.             The film was simply dreadful. It had none of the scope or deftness of Gance’s grand epic, Napoléon. I foundContinue reading “From Book 3: I Love You, Part Three”

From Book 3: Smuggling Artaud

            The Sainte-Anne hospital was a walled compound like a mini-medieval city. It stood not far from the studios of René Thomas and Sonia Mossé. Desnos told us about it after we met. Sainte-Anne had been constructed in the thirteenth century and was named after, of all people, the patron saint Anne of Austria, thatContinue reading “From Book 3: Smuggling Artaud”

From Book 3: Artaud d’Arc

            None of us had the nerve to step into the outer office to tell Artaud’s mother and his sister this news. I sat at the desk and tried to calm myself while Louis and Desnos paced around wordlessly. When Paulhan returned half an hour later, I repeated the news for him. After leaving IrelandContinue reading “From Book 3: Artaud d’Arc”

From Book 3: This Ragamuffin

            “And could that be why,” Barrault interrupted, “Artaud is angry with me?”             He sounded stricken. I turned to him again and saw the pain in his eyes. He was, after all, just a kid. “Barrault, what has happened?”             Barrault sighed. “We’ve spent so much time together and shared so many ideas thatContinue reading “From Book 3: This Ragamuffin”

From Book 3: Mexico and Trotsky

Days later, when I again visited the studio, Artaud had the gall to tease Sonia and me in front of Anita about knowing how to show an attractive young lady a good time on her first visit to Paris. When Anita in her effervescent voice demanded the details, Sonia threw a bottle of ink atContinue reading “From Book 3: Mexico and Trotsky”

From Book 3: A Challenge

            The poor woman now laid her large, beringed fingers on my arm and was thrusting a letter before my eyes. Her name was Valentine Hugo. I remembered the name as the costume designer for The Passion of Joan of Arc. There it was, in Breton’s unmistakable handwriting: I will love you so long asContinue reading “From Book 3: A Challenge”