Since 1984, the Centre d’Etudes Blaise Cendrars (CEBC), as an association, has offered to make known the unpublished works and documents of the Found Blaise Cendrars in the Collection of the Swiss Literary Archives, to encourage the study of the works of Cendrars and to ensure the posterity and influence of the work and the writer.
The CEBC is associated with the major publishing projects that have marked the recognition of the writer, with the Complete Works published in fifteen volumes by Denoël in “Tout Autour d’Aujourd’hui” collection (2001-2006), then with the publication of two boxes and an Album in the Pléiade collection by Gallimard: in 2013, the Complete Autobiographical Works were published and in 2017, the Complete Poems and Complete Novel Works. Jean-Carlo Flückiger, founder of the CEBC and Christine Le Quellec Cottier, current director of the CEBC, were associated with this editorial work, directed by Claude Leroy. Through its director, the association is linked to the new Éditions Zoé collection “Cendrars en toutes lettres”, which has been publishing the writer’s correspondence from the archives held at the Swiss National Library since 2013. The association organises events, conferences and exhibitions. After having published 15 issues of the journal Continent Cendrars (1987-2013), it edits with the AIBC the annual journal Constellation Cendrars, published by Garnier in Paris. The association maintains the collection of monographic studies Cahiers Blaise Cendrars, published by Champion.
Since its foundation in 1978, the International Association Blaise Cendrars has been dedicated to bringing together friends of the poet from all over the world in order to make his work better known and recognised. To this end, the AIBC has taken and continues to take the initiative in numerous events: meetings, symposia, conferences, publications, performances, exhibitions.
Starting with an inaugural symposium in 1981, a research group, Études et travaux sur Cendrars, has organised annual Study Days or symposia whose proceedings, always published, have profoundly renewed the reading of a poet sometimes trapped in his legend. A monthly seminar on “Cendrars and publishing” was launched in 2018 at the Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA) in Paris. And a Day dedicated to Cendrars has taken place on 10 July 2019, at the Sorbonne, during the Congress of the International Association of French Literature (AIEF). There is no shortage of projects and work in progress.
In addition, the AIBC has played a decisive role in the critical edition of the works of Cendrars: firstly, the Complete Works collected by Denoël in the 15 volumes of the “Tout autour d’aujourd’hui” collection (2001-2006); then, as a consecration, the Complete Autobiographical Works (2013), followed by the Complete Poetic and Romanesque Works (2017), which entered two by two in the “Bibliothèque de la Pléiade” at Gallimard.
Christine LE QUELLEC COTTIER
Conservator in charge of the Fonds
Vincent YERSIN, Swiss Literary Archives
Frédéric Jacques TEMPLE
Miriam GILOU CENDRARS
Frédéric Jacques TEMPLE
Centre d’Etudes Blaise Cendrars
Case postale 5653
CH – 1000 Lausanne, Suisse
Archives littéraires suisses / BNS
Salle Blaise Cendrars E 418
CH-3003 Berne, Suisse
16, rue Rempart Châtelet
For any iconographic research, contact both firstname.lastname@example.org and Vincent.Yersin@nb.admin.ch.
“It would be regrettable if this precious literary heritage were to be dispersed,” wrote Miriam Cendrars to the Swiss National Library to warn that the trunks of Blaise Cendrars (1887-1961) – studded with colorful labels and dented at the four corners for having wandered all over the world – needed a safe haven. And so, thanks to his foresight and the commitment of the federal authorities, the Swiss Literary Archives have, since 1975, housed the most comprehensive collection of manuscripts and documents on the poet’s life and work.
In particular, the Blaise Cendrars Collection contains all the early manuscripts of the budding young writer, from 1905 to 1912, which, revealed as early as 1969 by a volume of Inédits secrets (presented and published by Miriam Cendrars as a complement to the edition of the Œuvres complètes du Club français du livre), completely renewed the image of the writer. He also possesses the manuscripts of most of the great books of his maturity. The in-depth examination of the files of unpublished texts and unfinished projects has enabled researchers to uncover a whole “ghost work” made up of fragments, snatches and multiple fragments, which supports and extends the published work in a multiplicity of as yet little-known aspects.
At the time of its acquisition, the Blaise Cendrars Collection represented forty large removal boxes, numbered in red and blue, Arabic and Roman numerals. In addition to this considerable mass of documents, the library contained some three thousand books, including about four hundred “truffled” books, i.e. containing dedications, letters, maps and various notes.
In a meticulous inventory and classification work, Marius Michaud, the first curator of the collection, drew up the catalogue, published in 1989 by Editions de la Baconnière, Boudry-Neuchâtel, coll. Cahiers Blaise Cendrars no. 1, available from the CEBC. Since this date of publication, the collection has been continually enriched. Since the end of 2013, the completed catalogue of the Blaise Cendrars Collection has been available online, on the Swiss Literary Archives website, thanks to the work of Marie-Thérèse Lathion, curator.
Miriam Gilou Cendrars died on 21 June 2018, the year of her 99th birthday, after an unfailing commitment to the promotion of her father’s work. The members of the associations send their condolences to her children.