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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Lettrism papers
    Date (inclusive): 1946-1965
    Number: 980036
    Creator/Collector: Queneau, Raymond, 1903-1976
    Physical Description: 28.0 items
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: A collection of letters and ephemera belonging to editor Raymond Queneau, one of the founders of "Ouilipo." The materials concern the avant-garde movement Lettrism, and comprise correspondence, manuscripts, typescripts, and ephemera.
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    Language: Collection material is in French

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Raymond Queneau (1903-1973) worked with the surrealists as a young man before becoming known as one of the founders of "Oulipo" (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, or the Workshop of Potential Literature). Two of his most famous works are Les exercices de style and Zazie dans le métro, which Louis Malle filmed in 1960. As an editor at Gallimard, Queneau was extremely influential in the publication and support of avant-garde movements and their proponents. Queneau began publishing Isidore Isou in the late 1940s and was supportive of him and his efforts to establish Lettrism.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Lettrism papers, 1946-1965, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 980036.

    Acquisition Information

    Collection was acquired in 1998.

    Processing History

    Lynda Bunting processed the collection in October 1998

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Letters and ephemera sent to editor Raymond Queneau concerning the avant-garde movement Lettrism, founded by Isidore Isou. A letter, a clipping and the tract "Defense d'Isidore Isou" illustrate Isou's problems with obscenity charges brought against him in 1962. Three letters to Queneau and a copy of a 7 p. letter from Isou to Gaston Gallimard, dated 1962 and 1964, plead for continued support for the movement. Other materials by Isou are a handwritten card (1946), a handwritten cover design for a proposed book "Oeuvres complètes de Isidore Isou" (n.d.), a typescript titled "Domaine artistique integral" (n.d.), and the tract "Vive la retrospective surrealiste!" (1964), which denounces André Breton.
    The collection also includes three handwritten letters from Gabriel Pomerand concerning books Queneau sent him during his imprisonment (1949) and his hospitalization (1954), three typed letters from Jacques Spacagna regarding the issue of Bizarre that he and Maurice Lemaître are preparing, and two letters from Lemaître (1962, 1965). Ephemera consist of two announcements "Première manifestation lettriste" (n.d.) and "Le lettrisme" (n.d.), an invitation to a Lemaître event with ink drawings and stapled film strips (n.d.), the program "La poesie et la musique lettristes et aphonistes" (n.d.), and a 4 p. advertisement, with text by Noël Arnaud, for three recordings (1964).

    Arrangement note

    Arranged in one series, in rough chronological order.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Queneau, Raymond, 1903-1976

    Subjects - Topics


    Genres and Forms of Material

    Drawings (visual works)


    Arnaud, Noël
    Gallimard, Gaston, 1881-1975
    Isou, Isidore
    Lemaître, Maurice, 1926-
    Pomerand, Gabriel, 1926-1972
    Spacagna, Jacques