Chantefables et Chantefleurs de Robert Desnos

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Authors
Desnos, Robert
Issue Date
1995
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Book, Whole
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This book represents an expansion of an earlier find, 30 Chantefables pour les enfants sages from Gründ in 1944. Let me include some of my comment from that book: The title here is unfortunately creative, at least for our sense of 'fable.' These are indeed rounds to be sung to and with little children. They are all about animals, one to a page. Perhaps the most fascinating question about this book concerns how we are to picture a French publishing firm with a German name in 1944. The chantefables were combined with a set of chantefleurs and published in 1955. The story of the genesis of these rounds is fascinating. During the German occupation of France, René Poirier suggested to Desnos that he write some poems for children. He had already written some things for children but never expected that they would interest a publisher. He did write these poems and gave them to Poirier. They were his last poems; the Gestapo came for him shortly after. He had been active in the resistance. Michel Gründ hurried the publication of the poems to surprise Desnos. His companion Youki writes of him that he was so alive that no one doubted his return. He died just after the war of typhus in Czechoslovakia. His last concentration camp had been there. Youki writes in 1955 that she is pleased that these pretty flowers and peaceful animals are something left behind by that sinister age. This book then combines the earlier published rounds about animals with those about flowers. There is a T of C at the beginning but unfortunately no pagination. The new illustrations are as enchanting and as suggestion-laden as the rounds. This book was published exactly fifty years after Desnos' death. Witold Lutos?awski has set these poems to music.
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