lundi 31 août 2009

Open letter The Artaud Affair Le Monde — 1/6

‘mobile table, with in its middle a tin-plated copper reservoir large enough to lie a body in, and enabling, in a short space of time, continuous heating of all the posterior part of the drowned person’ (Felix Archimède Pouchet, 1840)

Plea for resuscitating the drowned
Open letter (as form demands) to Jean-Louis Jeannelle* and Le Monde des livres. *Writer of the article “L’Affaire Artaud : journal ethnographique de Florence de Mèredieu : Artaud et les jésuites” (11 June 09)

First of all, let us salute the courage of Jean-Louis Jeannelle. And of Le Monde in the wings. To dare, simply dare, write an article, or the semblance of one, about L’Affaire Artaud is by no means an easy matter. As the silence of almost all the press shows. So let us acknowledge the initiative itself.
And since L’Affaire Artaud concerns the press and the media at large, I would like to give this letter a ‘generic’ aspect.


‘By dissecting each analysis the papers have (or haven’t) printed concerning her previous publications, Florence de Mèredieu has made criticism of her new book, L’Affaire Artaud, a delicate matter. Articles written by journalists in "Le Monde des livres" are sifted over in it. Having no wish to be suspected of collusion or of wanting to censure, all that remains is to refuse to take sides - an unsatisfactory position in the eyes of the author who sees in it a form of “jesuitism”’...
(Jean-Louis Jeannelle, Le Monde, 11 June 09)

‘Artaud et les jésuites’ - The title amused me. For someone like me, with a reputation for having a big mouth and lacking diplomatic tact, it is delightful to be called a ‘Jesuit’. All the more so for a book that strikes out at them and doesn’t hide truths that no one wants to hear. A book that appears to frighten and upset quite a few ! All right then : let people salute in me a ‘jesuitism inside out’, a certain sense of ‘diplomacy in reverse’. It is true that in my book I charge Le Monde with ‘a certain jesuitism’ for the way it has handled the Artaud Affair...

Rather than deal with the Affair and the content of the Affair, the article concentrates (but in a very elleiptic manner) on the treatment of the affair by Le Monde des livres. The paper has been very much involved in the Affair, and it may be said that at one stage it was pleased enough ‘to make the play’.

Certain criticisms expressed in my latest book do concern articles published not long ago by Le Monde or the absence of articles concerning certain works.

It is easy to see then that L’Affaire Artaud, journal ethnographique (Fayard, March 2009) could only be taken up by Le Monde with long-handled pincers. And looked at askance.
But enough of my own ego. That is just one aspect of the incriminated book, which names many other papers (Combat, Libération, Le Nouvel Observateur, Le Figaro, Art Press, Télérama, etc.), institutions (Gallimard, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Pompidou Centre, etc.), some toothsome personalities (Paule Thévenin, Roland Dumas, Philippe Sollers, Jacques Derrida, etc.). And any number of events.
What then is the purpose of this article (‘Artaud et les jésuites’) which consists for the most part in proclaiming that nothing will be said of the book it names, for fear of what its author might say or think ?

J.L. Jeannelle is content to set forth facts that are already well known while passing over in silence the mass of new documents, information and facts, many of which have never before been published. All of that might have given rise to a lot of discussions.
- ‘Artaud still in debate’, wrote Josyane Savigneau in 1995. - Reading again this last short article, we see that Le Monde has one single idea in mind : close discussion as soon as possible. In other words : ‘Move along ; there’s nothing to see. On your way and ABOVE ALL : forget the Artaud Affair.

Does Le Monde stand to lose something ? Has it something to hide ? Or mask ? - Le Monde and, of course, those who in the background pull the strings of the story. - There are too many people that matter involved in the Artaud affair.

What is it that Le Monde is frightened of, to refuse so explicitly to ‘take sides’ for fear of being accused of ‘jesuitism’ again or - far more serious (and here it is me who is putting something forward) - of wanting to hide the truth and ensure that the reader does not rush off to get that book : L’Affaire Artaud ? I am not a very powerful enemy and it makes me laugh to think that the article could be summed up by saying : ‘Who’s afraid of FdeM ?’ - No one, right ? Well ? I would like someone to fill me in.

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