Monday, October 29, 2012

In Alfred Jarry's Room...

Jarry's place was filled with reductions. This half-floor room was the reduction of an apartment in which its occupant was quite comfortable standing up. But being taller than he, I had to stay in a stoop. The bed was the reduction of a bed; that is to say, a mere pallet. Jarry said that low beds were coming back into fashion. The writing table was the reduction of a table, for Jarry wrote flat on his stomach on the floor. The furniture was the reduction of furniture--there was only the bed. On the wall hung the reduction of a picture. It was a portrait [of Jarry by the Douanier Rousseau], most of which he had burned away, leaving only the head....The library was the reduction of a library, and this is saying a lot for it....a cheap edition of Rabelais and two or three volumes of the Biblioteque rose. On the mantel stood a large stone phallus, a gift from Felicien Rops. Jarry kept this member, which was considerably larger than life size, always covered with a violet skullcap velvet, ever since the day the exotic monolith had frightened a certain literary lady who was out of breath from climbing three and a half floors.

'Is that a cast?' the lady asked.
'No,' said Jarry 'It's a reduction."

--Guillaume Apollinaire on Alfred Jarry's Apartment: 'notre grand chasublerie' on rue Cassette