Sunday, March 18, 2012

POINTS 6

The sixth issue of POINTS did not meet the customary quarterly publication date of April-May 1950 due to family emergencies for both editors as detailed by Sindbad Vail in his introductory comments.  POINTS 6 once again featured some explanatory text on the front cover and bore the publication date of MAY - JUNE 1950.

Commentary © James A. Harrod, COPYRIGHT PROTECTED; ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

NOTES BY THE EDITOR

The editors of POINTS apologise to our readers for
delaying this issue a month.  It has not been too happy
a winter. First the French language editor and then the
English language editor had to absent themselves from
Paris for a certain time to take various ill members of their
families to the country and inevitably POINTS 6 got
postponed in the shuffle.                        

In a way, though, this unforeseen postponement did no
harm to the magazine. Had POINTS gone to press, on sche-
dule the quality of the contents would have suffered. It had
been announced in the previous number that this issue was
to have been devoted almost entirely to love stories, obviously
it is very easy for the editors to hold a conference and then
announce that the next number will be devoted to a certain
type of short story. It is entirely another matter to achieve
ones hopes. Love stories did come in and others were soli-
cited, but on the whole results were disheartening. It
appears today, from, what we saw, that there is no line
between a love story and a pornographic one.  Sex has
replaced love, especially a macabre perverted sex devoid of
all pleasure and joy. "Love stories" of today appear to be
stories recounting grim perversions on mutilated corpses or
helpless animals. A sad state of affairs, but perhaps not too
surprising when one considers the quality of most of today's
writing. In the end this editor kept a few of the better "love"
stories and completed the issue with other short stories. The
French editor, however, was obliged to discard all the French
language "love" short stories. This might help to prove that
French and English language "love" stories all stink, at least
today.

This number unfortunately has no "trip" of the type Roy
Bongartz did so well in POINTS 4 and 5. Mr. Bongartz has just
returned to the U.S. and he has promised to send us a letter
from New York for the next issue. The editors by the way are
extremely grateful to Mr. Bongartz for his invaluable help in
putting this issue together.

Not having a "trip" in this issue has been in part counter-
balanced by a larger book review section. The books reviewed
by Herb Gold are of definite interest on both sides of the
Atlantic. He has reviewed three fairly new American
books and Jean Genet’s "Our Lady of the Flowers", This
last named work must surely be of interest to many of our
readers, American readers must not be disappointed if some
of the books reviewed are a few months old. It takes quite
a while to get books over from America, by which time these
novels have usually been pretty well examined by the press.
Since it is impossible for this magazine to review books the
moment they appear, we content ourselves with choosing the
most interesting and controversial ones available.

Last year our short story "contest" was so successful
that it has been decided to have another. As yet the amount
of the prize has not yet been determined. However the follow-
ing facts are definite: The length of the short story can be
between 2,000 and 5,000 words. The subject matter is free.
The jury will consist mostly of young unknown writers. Short
stories will be accepted by our office between May 1st and
August 1st 1950. All short stories must be clearly marked
"contest", they must be typed (double space) and must be in
duplicate. No short stories will be returned unless accompa-
nied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. No contestant
must be above 35 years of age on or after August 1st 1950.
This information pertains only to English language contes-
tants. Complete details for both the English and French
language sections will be available in POINTS 7 which will
appear in June 1950, and in an official announcement to be
released to the press before May 15th, 1950.

SINDBAD VAIL

The back pages once again featured advertisements for other literary journals and publishers.






As noted by Sindbad Vail in his introductory comments, POINTS 6 featured an expanded section of book reviews, all authored by Herb Gold.

OUR LADY OF THE FLOWERS by Jean Genet
translated by Bernard Frechtman, Morihien Press, Paris
Review by Herb Gold

Those who have wanted to examine in English what an the shouting is about can now read Mr. Frechtman’s tense, ardent, and faithful re-creation of Genet's early novel. This is not the place for an examination of Jean Genet's primary matter, the glorification of the homosexual criminal both as fact and as symbol of love and beauty; it evokes an echoing violence of feeling in his audience, being the fiery decadence of a French literary tradition of which Balzac's Vautrin is a specimen more largely integrated in society and in the author's consciousness. Where Balzac tells us a great deal but finally suggestmuch more than he tells, Jean Genet has placed himself stridently at a narrower aspect of the hero-criminal, telling more than he suggests; within his limits, however, Genet sees a great deal, knows his subject to the point of making his life coincide with it, and crasheinto expression with a prose style both melodramatic and delicate, livened with argot and avant-garde stunts and attuned to his romantic masters.

More thoughtful, more metaphysical despite his conflicting poses than is such a fellow convert to the cult of pleasure and violence aHenry Miller, Genet tends like him to choose metaphors and situations which dissolve into pantheism. (One example of the pantheismthe orality and the sexualization of all ideas: he remarks that he wants to open his mouth so wide that it turns back, finally swallows himself, and then, still opening, at last envelopes and swallows the world.) The essence of what he sees as his theme is Genet's conviction that he really does prefer evil to good; but despite his glee in gratuitous viciousness, stupidity, and sexual habits whose appeal is not so much their disagreement with conventional morality as the hatred to be expressed in them, he is a poet who is doing the old work over again, that of converting evil into good. Genet the anti-artist is the most traditionally "artistic" of modern poets" while he remarks that his characters are trivial and nasty, he decks them out in mythic references, claims to tragedy, and theological splendor of the mosextravagant sort. His eye and his sense of perspective, telling him one thing about his characters, is at variance with his reverie, which ithe deepest impulsion to the actions of the novel. Despite a density of event, thinned again by the repetitive quality of what is manifestly also a daydream, this novel is primarily a lonely song, sustained marvelously, sustained even when it becomes boring because Genet is singing only to himself.

Frechtman's excellent translation of a work of unusual linguistic texture falters only in isolated passages, chiefly in the impossible task of reproducing the argot of the "milieu". It's unfortunate that the publishers have chosen to bring it out in a snotty gift edition at a forbidding price, ($15), designed mainly to be smuggled, to an underground circulation in the States, thus encouraging an interest based on sniggers. It is to be hoped that they will see fit to reprint the book at a reader's price, without the dainty engraved leather designs, ribbon, inscription by Genet and Jean Cocteau, and other appeals to preciosity.                             

EDITOR'S NOTE. — The opinions expressed by Mr. Gold in these
book reviews are not necessarily those of the editors.



The limited first edition in English that Mr. Gold reviewed was published in a limited run of 500 copies 25 of which have been reserved, in the original simulated red pebbled morocco cloth and marbled endsheets, with Cocteau's famous portrait drawing of Genet, there is a dedication "were it not for Maurice Pilorge, whose death keeps poisoning my life, I might never have written this book. I dedicate it to his memory".  Copies in good condition now fetch over a hundred dollars on the rare book market.  Mr. Gold's wishes that a readers edition, reasonably priced, were soon met by an Olympia Press edition in France as well as a Grove Press paperback edition in the United States.

The contents of POINTS 6 once again featured several authors who would leave a lasting mark in the world of literature:

SINDBAD VAIL – Notes by the Editor
GEORGE EGON HATVARY – Young Professor Pibrac
DOLORES MANN – Lisette
JACQUES GUILLESTRE – La Belle Aventure Que V’la
DAVID GASCOYNE – Six Poems (FROM A ZODIAK FOR K.J.R.)
JEAN LAMBERT – Le Journal de Lézard
PETER MAAS – The Girl
CLAUDE BAL – Les Granges Vieilles
ANTONY EVANS – The Hedger
JEAN PROVINI – Fragent d’une evidence particulière
MATTHEW CARNEY – Unquiet Drifting
JAMES LORD – The Lizard
BENOIT BRAUN – L’Existentialisme n’est pas un vain mot
HERB GOLD – Book Review: The Sheltering Sky
HERB GOLD – Book Review: The Breakup of our Camp
HERB GOLD – Book Review: The Cannibal
HERB GOLD – Book Review: Our Lady of the Flowers

POINTS 6 also noted background information on new contributors to the journal:

NOTES ON NEW CONTRIBUTORS

CLAUDE BAL : 20, French. So far has had only a few poems published but is now working on a novel and cinema scripts.

BENOIT BRAUN : 28, born Brussels. Has published 4 books of verse during the war in Brussels and Paris (Editions des Artistes) and also a play Mane-Diave (Brussels 1944-45). Is art and literary critic for “ARTS”, "Beaux Arts de Bruxelles", etc.

MATTHEW CARNEY : 28, born Bronx, New York. Now studying
philosophy and literature in Paris. Published for the first time in POINTS.

ANTONY EVANS : 24, English. Former, student of Old Vic, now
working for a publishing firm. Began writing at 18, and is now
working on a novel to be called Thor. Published for 1st time in
POINTS.

DAVID GASCOYGNE : 34, English. Started writing under influence of French Surrealists, first collection of Poems "1937-1942" was published in England after war. Now primarily a follower of the French Catholic poets. Has appeared in numerous English publications : Penguin New Writings, etc.

JACQUES GUILLESTRE : 23, born in Paris. Studying philosophy at the Sorbonne. Has been published in local French provincial papers.

GEORGE EGON HATVARY : 29, born Budapest. Went to the U.S.A. at the age of 14. Taught literature at Boston University. Except for three articles on Proust, Thomas Wolfe and the Novel, published by Nelson's Encyclopedia in 1948, heretofore unpublished.

JEAN LAMBERT : 36, born Touraine, France. Has had 3 books published by the Nouvelles Revues Françaises and numerous critical essays in French periodicals. Now mainly a theater critic.

JAMES LORD : 28, born New York. First published in HORIZON, now living and writing in Europe.

PETER MAAS : 23, born New York City. Former editor of Duke University student magazine. A free lance writer, being published for thfirst time in POINTS.

DOLORES MANN: 22, born Milwaukee, Wisc. First wrote for the
University of Wisconsin Literary Preview and poems appeared in
Bronxville Villager. Now teaching English in a French lycee.

JEAN PROVINI : 25, French, born Istamboul. Published for the first time in POINTS. His text in this issue is the first chapter of a longer and yet incomplete work.

The following obituaries provide additional details on some of the authors:



 
GEORGE EGON HATVARY
Published: September 2, 2008 NYT
           
HATVARY--George Egon, died suddenly on August 30th, at Saint Vincent's Hospital, at the age of 87. Son of the late tenor, Carlo Hatvary, and Magda Hatvary, he was born in Budapest and came to the United States as a child. A specialist in 19th-century American literature, Professor Hatvary taught at Saint John's University for over 40 years, until his retirement in 1992. A prolific writer and scholar, Professor Hatvary was best known for his scholarship on Poe and Horace Binney Wallace, whose major influence on Poe he discovered, and for his novels: The Suitor (1981), The Murder of Edgar Allan Poe (1997), and his recent book The Slap and Other Stories (2007). He is survived by his wife, Laurel T. Hatvary, Professor Emerita of Yeshiva University, and their daughter, Maura Hatvary, a photographer. The funeral will be held Wednesday, September 3rd, at 2:30pm, at the Riverside Funeral Home at 77th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.

PETER MAAS
(June 27, 1929 – August 23, 2001) was an American journalist and author. He was born in New York City and attended Duke University. Maas had Dutch and Irish heritage.
He was the biographer of Frank Serpico, a New York City Police officer who testified against police corruption. He is also the author of the number one New York Times bestseller, Underboss, about the life and times of Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.
His other notable bestsellers include The Valachi Papers, Manhunt, and In a Child's Name, recipient of the 1991 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime book. The Valachi Papers, which told the story of Mafia turncoat Joseph Valachi, is widely considered to be a seminal work, as it spawned an entire genre of books written by or about former Mafiosi.
Peter Maas was married to Audrey Gellen Maas, with whom he adopted a son, John-Michael Maas. He died in New York City. He made a brief cameo as himself in an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street.


DAVID GASCOYNE

Poetic champion of surrealism whose vision survived insanity to flourish again in later life
Valentine Cunningham
Obituary: Guardian, London, UK
Tuesday November 27, 2001

David Gascoyne, who has died aged 85, was that rarity among 20th-century English writers: a poet who sustained a fully European consciousness and enjoyed a wide European reputation. The last survivor of the neo-romantic group of poets, who included Dylan Thomas, WS Graham and George Barker, he achieved early importance and fame as Britain's first serious advocate of surrealism as a mode of writing poems and painting - he remained more or less loyal to the surrealistic vision all his life.

Born in Harrow, the son of a bank manager, Gascoyne was educated at Salisbury cathedral choir school - where he absorbed something of the religiosity that became an aspect of his writing - and the Regent Street Polytechnic. He was extraordinarily ambitious and precocious; his first volume of poems, Roman Balcony, appeared in 1932, while he was still a schoolboy, and his only novel, Opening Day, was published the following year. Much of it is the story of an aesthetic youth, like himself, falling out with a father who does not care for his son's cultural pursuits.

On the proceeds of the novel, Gascoyne went to Paris, arriving on or around his 17th birthday, and hunted out the works and the acquaintance of surrealist notables such as André Breton and Paul Eluard. His A Short Study Of Surrealism appeared in 1935. By then, his poetic work had appeared in an anthology edited by Alida Monro, wife of Harold Monro, of London's Poetry Bookshop, and he had been taken up by Geoffrey Grigson in the most important of the period's little magazines, New Verse, appearing alongside the slightly older WH Auden.

In 1936, his surrealistic verse collection Man's Life Is This Meat was published by the Parton Street Press. In the Parton Street cafe, he mixed with teenage radicals brought on by the publisher David Archer, a feisty group including Esmond Romilly and Philip Toynbee. His closest friend was George Barker.

Gascoyne was also in at the foundation of that pioneering sociological survey, Mass-Observation, and remained close to one of its instigators, the painter Julian Trevelyan, as well as to the poet Kathleen Raine, then married to another another Mass-Ob chieftain, the poet Charles Madge.

This was a time when radical poetry and politics mixed naturally. One day, Gascoyne might be scrapping with Oswald Mosley's fascist thugs in London's East End, the next assisting at the opening of the first international surrealist exhibition in London. By rushing out to buy a spanner at a local ironmonger's, he became the person who saved Salvador Dali's life, when the painter could not get out of the deep-sea diving suit and helmet he had donned for the occasion.

Gascoyne's translation work began in the mid-1930s, with works by Dali, Benjamin Peret and Eluard. His version of Breton's What is Surrealism? came out in 1936. By then, he was in Barcelona, broadcasting republican propaganda from loudspeakers in the Ramblas.

He spent much of the later 1930s in his beloved Paris, where he lodged with Lawrence Durrell and Anais Nin, and cultivated the acquaintance of surrealist poets, as well as people like Picasso and Henry Miller. The 19th-century lyric poet Friedrich Hölderlin provoked a turning point for Gascoyne's work at this time, but he was a dangerous friend, too; like Hölderlin, Gascoyne was already troubled by depressions, and what he feared might be madness - or "going out of my mind", as he noted in July 1939.

Driven back to London by the German occupation of France, he lodged with the painter Lucian Freud. His poetic talents achieved wide recognition with the publication of Poems 1937-42, by Tambimuttu's Poetry London Press, with illustrations by Graham Sutherland. In 1947 he was back in Paris, living a rather bohemian life. His aptly titled A Vagrant And Other Poems came out in 1950. As a now established poetic figure, he went with Kathleen Raine and WS Graham on a Three Younger British Poets reading tour of the United States, and became a well-known figure on the BBC Third Programme.

But depression, fuelled by amphetamine abuse, took its toll. The writing dried up, and, in the 1960s, Gascoyne retreated in despair to his parents' home on the Isle of Wight, fetching up, after his father's death, in the local asylum. There, a miracle occurred. A therapist named Judy Tyler Lewis read one of his poems, September Sun, to the inmates. When he claimed it as his, she thought it one more of his delusions. But they married, and lived happily thereafter on the island.

Gascoyne's writing took off again. His fine and revelatory 1930s journals were published by the Enitharmon Press in 1978 and 1980, with jackets designed by Julian Trevelyan. Lovely, staunch, memorial and elegiac poems flowed, especially tributes to the friends and colleagues he had known and promoted. His writing life was the essence of loyalty; he was a truly magnanimous man.

The latest of his Collected Poems was published by the OUP in 1988. He became a celebrated lecturer, especially on the art movements he had been associated with - his best reviews and memorials are in the 1998 volume of Selected Prose, 1934-96. He is very good on the custodian relicts of great poets and painters, as well as on his time in mental hospital.

It was fitting that Gascoyne should, in October 1990, unveil the memorial in Madrid's Residencia de Estudiantes to the five British writers killed in the Spanish civil war. It was a joy to see the love between him and Judy, the way he relied so much on her through tiring days, but also to watch the affection with which this grand survivor of poeticised struggles was held by Spanish writers and critics.

Judy's sustaining was a great strength through his last days. In many ways his rescuer, and greatly cherished for it, she survives him.

David Emery Gascoyne, poet, born October 10 1916; died November 25 2001


JAMES LORD

James Lord, Biographer and Memoirist, Is Dead at 86
By William Grimes
Published: August 27, 2009 New York Times
James Lord, an intimate of Picasso and Giacometti whose biographies and memoirs provide a vivid picture of the artistic milieu of Montparnasse after World War II, died Sunday at his home in Paris. He was 86.
The cause was a heart attack, said his longtime companion and adopted son, Gilles Roy-Lord.
Mr. Lord, while serving with Army intelligence during the war, traveled to Paris on a three-day pass in December 1944 and made a beeline to Picasso’s studio on the Rue des Grands-Augustins. There he gained entry into the artistic set in Montparnasse. Returning to Paris after the war, he became a kind of Boswell to the artistic and social elite in France and, to a lesser extent, Britain.
In three volumes of memoirs, he left sharp portraits of Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, Balthus, Peggy Guggenheim and other figures encountered in studios, cafes and salons. He wrote several important works on Giacometti, notably the definitive “Giacometti: A Biography,” and “Picasso and Dora,” a memoir dealing with the artist and his longtime mistress and muse Dora Maar.
All of Mr. Lord’s many encounters, it seemed, left an impression, which he turned into pithy vignettes, like the one involving Balthus and Giacometti that he recounted in “A Gift for Admiration.”
“I recall one afternoon with them at the Café de Flore,” he wrote, “when they argued at length over the perceptible dimensions of Géricault’s ‘Raft of the Medusa’ should it be viewed on the far side of the boulevard, Alberto loudly insisting that at such a distance it would appear to be only a few centimeters in height while Balthus calmly maintained that its appearance would correspond exactly to its actual size because one saw what one knew rather than what one mere hypothesized.”
Mr. Lord was born and reared in Englewood, N.J. His father was a stockbroker, and until the Wall Street crash the family lived, as Mr. Lord put it, in “the lower echelons of the upper classes.”
After attending private schools, he enrolled at Wesleyan University, where he labored without distinction. He was, he confessed, “a poor student, a cheater and malingerer.”
Unhappy at college, he enlisted in the Army soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor. As the Normandy invasion drew near, his command of French earned him a posting to the Military Intelligence Service and duty in France as a translator.
Mr. Lord cultivated Picasso assiduously and resumed the relationship on his return to Paris in 1947, after leaving Wesleyan without a degree. He set his sights on becoming a writer but spent most of his time and energy socializing, buying art, traveling and living a giddy expatriate life surrounded by artists and aristocrats who may or may not have noticed that he was taking careful notes.
“My friends say I am secretive and devious,” he wrote in the preface to “Picasso and Dora.” “They are right.”
Two early novels, “No Traveler Returns” (1956), about a rich American traveling in Europe in search of love and happiness, and “The Joys of Success” (1958), set in Hollywood, made little impression on critics or the reading public. On the other hand, “A Giacometti Portrait,” a slim volume published by the Museum of Modern Art in 1965 in conjunction with a retrospective exhibition, established him as an ingratiating, perceptive guide to the artist.
“It’s unrivaled in its account of Giacometti in his studio and his working methods,” Anne Umland, a curator at the Museum of Modern Art who helped organize its 2001 Giacometti retrospective, said Wednesday. “I still recommend it to anyone who wants an introduction to Giacometti.”
Like Mr. Lord’s subsequent work, the Giacometti essay was a curious blend of autobiography, reportage and criticism. Mr. Lord had struck up a friendship with the artist in 1952, and his essay was a highly personal account of the 18 sessions he spent sitting for a portrait by the artist, whom he drew out with pointed questions. “You look like a real thug,” Giacometti told him at their first sitting. “If I could paint you as I see you and a policeman saw the picture, he’d arrest you immediately.”
Mr. Lord returned to Giacometti with “Alberto Giacometti: Drawings” (1971), for which he wrote an introductory essay. In 1985 he published his full-length biography, 15 years in the writing, to near-universal praise for its subtle delineation of the artist’s conflicted personality and creative struggles. “It is still essential reading for anyone interested in Giacometti,” Ms. Umland said. Having finished with Giacometti, Mr. Lord embarked on a series of memoirs, told through the notable figures he cultivated, admired and often described in less than flattering terms. (Gertrude Stein, he wrote, “made me think of a burlap bag filled with cement and left to harden.”)
The first was “Picasso and Dora: A Personal Memoir” (1993), an exercise in gossip at the highest level. Mr. Lord added his own twist to the complex relationship between artist and muse when, despite his homosexuality, he entered into an affair with Maar. “When with her, one feels at an extraordinary altitude,” he recorded in his diary.
Mr. Lord continued his autobiographical series with “Six Exceptional Women” (1994), “Some Remarkable Men” (1996) and “A Gift for Admiration” (1998). At his death he had just completed a fourth volume of memoirs dealing with his experiences in the Army. Titled “My Queer War,” it is scheduled to be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in June.
The memoir will undoubtedly reflect Mr. Lord’s slyly pre-emptive approach to the form. “An autobiographer,” he once wrote, “is in the business of doing for himself what he wishes not to be done to him by anyone else.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: September 15, 2009 
An obituary on Aug. 29 about James Lord, a biographer and memoirist of the arts world of Paris after World War II, misstated the surname of his companion and adopted son. He is Gilles Roy-Lord, not Foy-Lord.







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