Poetry News

An Eleventh-Hour Reprieve for André Breton & Marquis de Sade

By Harriet Staff
Andre Breton, Second Manifesto of Surrealism, cover

Circulating around the interwebs this week, you may have seen news of the manuscript scroll of the Marquis de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom being declared a national treasure by the French government. But beneath the headlines, our dear poetry readers with a Surrealist bent will be happy to see André Breton's Surrealist Manifestos were also saved from the auction block and designated national treasures, alongside the eighteenth-century "Gospel of Evil." From Paris, Henry Samuel reports for The Telegraph:

The Marquis de Sade called it “the most impure tale that has ever been told since our world began”.

But France on Monday declared the manuscript of The 120 Days of Sodom a "national treasure" hours before the subversive and pornographic work was due to be sold at auction in Paris.

Officials ordered the 18th-century erotic masterpiece – whose depravity has seen it dubbed "the Gospel of Evil" - to be pulled from the sale along with Andre Breton's Surrealist Manifestos, meaning they cannot be exported from France, the Aguttes auction house confirmed.

The works were part of a vast sale of historic documents owned by the French investment firm Aristophil, which was shut down in scandal two years ago, accused of embezzling up to €850 million (€750 million) of investors' money.

The 120 Days of Sodom was expected to go for up to €6 million on Wednesday, while Breton's seminal manifestos on modern art were estimated at around €4 million.

Read on at The Telegraph.

Originally Published: December 20th, 2017