Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Creator:
Char, René (1907-1988)
Collector:
Char, Marie-Claude.
Title:
René Char Papers
Repository:
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/4q77fw20f
Dates:
1928-2019 (mostly 1939-1980)
Size:
64 boxes and 58 linear feet
Storage Note:
This is stored in multiple locations. Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001233 to B-001243
Language:
French

Abstract

Consists primarily of the correspondence of 20th-century French poet René Char (1907-1988); a smaller subset includes correspondence and records documenting his involvement with the French Resistance during World War II.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Description:

Consists primarily of the correspondence of 20th-century French poet René Char (1907-1988), including correspondence and records documenting his involvement with the French Resistance during World War II.

Most of the description included here is from an inventory provided by Marie-Claude Char and Librairie Benoît Forgeot, which brokered the acquisition of the collection.

Arrangement

The order of the materials, most likely established by René Char and Marie-Claude Char, was mostly maintained.

Collection Creator Biography:

Char, Marie-Claude.

Marie-Claude Char is a French editor and publisher. The widow of poet René Char, she has been involved in disseminating her late-husband's work, and preserving the history of his role in the French Resistance.


Char

Celebrated 20th-century French poet René Char(1907-1988) published more than 30 volumes of poetry, criticism, and plays during his lifetime, many of which were widely translated. He frequently collaborated with both writers and artists, including Georges Braque, Joan Miró, and Nicolas de Staël. He was also decorated military veteran, receiving recognition for his service in the French army and his involvement with the French Resistance during World War II.

In the early 1930s, Char was active in the surrealist movement, joining a community of writers and artists that included Louis Aragon, André Breton, and Pablo Picasso. From 1939 to 1940, he served as a private with the 173e RA (Régiment d'Artillerie) in Alsace for which he was awarded the Croix de Guerre. During the Nazi Occupation, Char and his first wife Georgette, who were under surveillance, took refuge in the town of Céreste. It was there, in 1941, when Char began his involvement with the Resistance. By 1943, under the nom de guerre Captain Richard Alexandre, he became the commander of landing operations and parachute drops in the Basses-Alpes (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence) as head of Section Atterrissage Parachutage (SAP) Region 2. Char was awarded the Medal of the Resistance and also named to the Legion of Honor for his service. His prose poem collection Feuillets d'Hypnos documents his wartime experiences.

After the war, Char moved to the Luberon Mountains of southern France, near his birthplace. In his later years, he was involved with anti-nuclear activism.

Collection History

Acquisition:

Purchased from Marie-Claude Char in 2018 AM 2018-88; and in 2019 AM 2020-38.

Librairie Benoît Forgeot brokered both purchases.

Appraisal

No materials were removed from the collection during 2018 and 2022 processing beyond routine appraisal practices.

Processing Information

The papers on the French Resistance was processed by Faith Charlton with assistance from Julia English '19 and Matthew Oakland '20 in 2018. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in 2018. Folder inventory added by Julia English '19 and Matthew Oakland '20 in 2018.

The correspondence was processed by Kelly Bolding, Faith Charlton, and Amy C. Vo in 2022. Finding aid updated by Kelly Bolding, Faith Charlton, and Amy C. Vo in 2022. During 2022 processing, archivists did some minor sorting and interfiling of unsorted letters in the Correspondence series. While materials were removed from binders, most were left in the enclosures (sleeves) in which they were housed at the time they arrived at the library.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. No further duplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to Special Collections Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

René Char Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/4q77fw20f
Location:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
This is stored in multiple locations. Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001233 to B-001243