Book//mark – Commentary | Marcelle Sauvageot, 1933

Commentary Marcelle Sauvageot 1933
Marcelle Sauvageot, Commentary, 1933            Marcelle Sauvageot, 1933

“Does the past become an old thing so quickly?.”

“When, in the morning, daybreak awakens us from a dream, we close our eyes and remain still,
trying to recreate and continue the scene. But the day’s light has destroyed everything, words
are without sound, gestures without meaning. It is like a vanishing rainbow: some hues survive
for an instant, disappear, seem to return: there is nothing left.”

“If only I could have begun the scene again to kiss that face and say: ‘I will not betray you.’
But things do not begin again; and I must not have uttered that sentence, for I don’t know
how to speak at the right moment or with the appropriate tone. I am too easily overcome by
emotion, and harden myself to avoid giving in to it. How can one convey the full sense
of turmoil produce by an emotion at the exact moment it occurs?”

“Some ballads begin as your letter does: ‘You, whom I’ve loved so much…’ This past tense,
with the present still resounding so close, is as sad as the end of parties, when the lights
are turned off and you remain alone, watching the couples go off into the dark streets.”

“Should I doubt love or you?”

Marcelle Sauvageot, Commentary, 1933
Marcelle Sauvageot
Commentary is a narrative—hovering between the genres of memoir, theory, and fiction—told by  a dying woman whose abandonment by a lover precipitates a complex and moving investigation into suffering, solitude, friendship, and the nature of romantic and sexual love. Sauvageot died of tuberculosis, after several stints in sanatoriums, at the age of 34. Commentaire was highly praised in its time by Paul Claudel, Paul Valéry, André Gide, Charles Du Bos, René Crevel and Clara Malraux.
Marcelle Sauvageot (1900-1934) was connected to the Surrealists by friendship, love, and artistic practice, but has been excluded from the dominant narrative about that movement until a reissue of her single book, Commentaire (initially retitled Laissez-Moi), was published in Paris in 2002, prompting a revival of interest in her work and inspiring a successful one-woman show in Paris. She died in 1934 of tuberculosis.

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