The Collection

Home Page > Works > Robert Desnos’ sleeping fit of 28 September 1922

Robert Desnos’ sleeping fit of 28 September 1922

First period of hypnotic sleeping fits



Author Robert Desnos
People cited Jacques Clain, Dr Théodore Fraenkel, François-Dominique Toussaint, dit Toussaint Louverture, André Breton, Max Ernst
Notes by André Breton


Manuscript of a sleeping fit by Robert Desnos transcribed in part by André Breton and dated 28 September 1922. Associations, associations... Moving from a recurrent evocation of Toussaint Louverture to that sybiline answer, when asked who Fraenkel is, from an "open belly with an egg in it", Desnos, asleep, continues to slide from one phoneme to another, varying the themes by changing a vowel or two. From hypnotism, no doubt, we arrive at this striking formula for designating Breton: "the convolvulus and I know the hypotenuse." This would become the title of a poem published by Breton in Clair de terre [Earthlight]. One or two striking figures (such as this "woman in red mourning") appear in this series, where the questions (no doubt on some of the sheets posed after the fact) give rise to hallucinatory and incomplete oracles - what will happen, for example, on "21 October 1926 in Nîmes at noon"? It should be noted that, despite the inclination to believe in these oracles, Breton never took them seriously enough to make the trip to Nîmes... First period of hypnotic sleeping fits 28 September 1922. - 13 in-4° pages on Congrès de Paris letterheaded paper handwritten by Desnos in black pencil and inserted into another sheet of Congrès de Paris paper folded in two and annotated by Breton: "Thursday 28 September, Desnos, 1st sleeping fit". Breton questions Desnos: "Where is Toussaint-Louverture? Who is Max Ernst? - The railway synonymous with the emperor." After drawing an eye with an arrow in the iris, Desnos says: "Breton. The convolvulus and I know the hypotenuse." Torn.
Creation date28-sept.-22
Date of publication 1922
Physical descriptionDs et Ms - crayon noir

Bibliothèque littéraire Jacques Doucet, Paris : BRT 161

Method of acquisition and collectionBibliothèque littéraire Jacques Doucet, Paris, don Aube et Oona Elléouët
Breton Auction, 2003Lot 2026
CategoriesManuscripts, Surrealists Manuscripts
Set[Manuscripts] Sommeils
Permanent link