"Pourquoi, diable, ne m'avez vous pas écrit dix jours plus tôt?": The correspondence of Paul Ginisty

Ginisty, Paul, French writer and journalist (1855-1932). 8 autograph letters signed, 1 autograph manuscript signed, and 2 autograph calling cards.

Paris and n. p., n. y.

Various formats. Altogether 11 pp. and 9 lines on 28 ff. Together with a contemporary photograph.


Engaging collection of autographs reflecting Ginisty's manifold interests and occupations. Three items can be dated with respect to their content. On 12 November 1911 Ginisty writes to André Messager, the director of the Paris Opera, or to Camille Saint-Saëns directly, asking for two tickets to the dress rehearsal of Saint-Saëns' "Déjaniré" ahead of the Paris premiere: "Je pense avoir quelques titres, en souvenir de Béziers et de l'Odéon, à vous demander deux places pour la répétition générale de Déjaniré. Je n'ai pas besoin de vous dire combien je serai heureux d'applaudir l'ouvrage que j'ai naguère monté, sous sa première forme [...]". Ginisty refers to the original version of "Déjaniré" as a tragedy with accompanying symphonic music, choruses and a ballet, which had successfully premiered in the arena of Béziers in August 1898. An abridged version of Louis Gallet's play with Saint-Saëns' music premiered at the Théâtre de l'Odéon on 11 November 1898 under Ginisty's direction (1896-1906). In 1910 Saint-Saëns adapted his composition as an opera in fulfilment of a commission by the Opéra de Monte-Carlo. Following the premiere in Monte-Carlo on 14 March 1911, André Messager conducted the Paris premiere of "Déjaniré" on 22 November 1911.

A letter to the sociologist and feminist Léopold Lacour (1854-1939) can be dated to 1914, as Ginisty thanks the recipient for a copy of his 1914 book "Les maîtresses & la femme de Molière".

The manuscript in the collection is an article entitled "Une Histoire Vénitienne" that appeared in "Comœdia" on 26 July 1921. In the text Ginisty describes a pompous memorial mass at San Marco's Basilica for a benefactor named Soldini.

In a letter that probably dates to the 1880s, Ginisty announces to the unnamed recipient that he had passed on the post of editor-in-chief at "La Vie Populaire" to Catulle Mendès: "J'étais, en effet, chargé de la redaction de la Vie populaire, depuis quatre ans ... Mais - depuis dix jours - je ne l'ai plus, et j'ai passé la main à Catulle Mendès. Pourquoi, diable, ne m'avez vous pas écrit dix jours plus tôt?" (Paris, 9 Feb., n. y.). The literary biweekly was launched in 1880 by the prominent newspaper "Le Petit Parisien". Mendès was among the founders of "La Vie Populaire", but Ginisty served as editor-in-chief before him.

In a letter dated 8 September (no year), Ginisty thanks a journalist emphatically for a favourable review, probably of a performance at the Odéon: "Je ne saurais vous dire combien je suis touché de votre aimable lettre, et je vous en remercie bien vivement. Vous connaissez si parfaitement le théâtre que votre approbation a pour moi un prix particulier, et je garderai votre lettre comme un précieux encouragement dans cette voie [...]".

Two letters on stationery with printed letterhead of the "Société de L'Histoire du Théatre" and one on stationery with printed letterhead of "Le Petit Parisien". Generally well preserved. The manuscript and the letter concerning "Déjaniré" show crayon marks. Manuscript slightly creased, smudged and unprofessionally bound with tape. All objects with traces of former mounting.

Stock Code: BN#54256 Tags: ,