University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Raymond Queneau:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Collection in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator: Queneau, Raymond, 1903-1976
Title: Raymond Queneau Collection
Dates: 1917-1990
Abstract: The Raymond Queneau Collection includes manuscripts, research notes, correspondence, programs, posters, offprints, clippings, and third-party works documenting the professional life of the French writer.
Extent: 13 boxes, 2 oversize boxes (5.46 linear feet)
Language: English and French
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Scope and Contents

The Raymond Queneau Collection includes manuscripts, research notes, correspondence, programs, posters, offprints, clippings, and third-party works documenting the professional life of the French writer. Best known for Zazie dans le métro (made into a film by Louis Malle) and Exercises de style, Queneau had a long and distinguished career as a versatile and influential writer, editor at Gallimard publishing house, director of Encyclopédie de la Pleiade, and member of the Académie Goncourt. The materials are arranged in three series: I. Works, II. Correspondence, and III. Third-party Works.

The Works series is subdivided by genre: Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry and Songs, and Translations and Adaptations. Much of the nonfiction materials concern Queneau's research and writing in the 1930s for a projected book on "fous littéraires," or "literary crackpots" in nineteenth-century France. Included are research notes made on slips of paper in the Bibliothèque Nationale, compilations of notes on particular individuals, an extensive manuscript, and a condensed version that he titled Aux confins des ténèbres: Les "fous littéraires" français du XIXe siècle, which was published posthumously in 2002. In addition, Queneau worked some of this research material into his novel, Les enfants du limon. The nonfiction subseries also includes manuscripts of several articles written for the monthly review Volontés that were later reprinted in Le voyage en Grèce (1973), and various other short pieces, including notes on the study of the Hebrew language. Of special interest is a manuscript notebook titled "The Little Cyclopædia" containing Queneau's notes on reading James Joyce's Ulysses.

The Fiction subseries includes manuscripts for Le chiendent (1933; Queneau's first published novel), Les enfants du limon (1938), and the three parts of Les œuvres complètes de Sally Mara: On est toujours trop bon avec les femmes (1947), Journal intime de Sally Mara (1950), and Sally plus intime (1962). There is also a copy of Barbara Wright's English radio adaptation of Exercises de style (1947).

Among the items in the Poetry and Songs subseries is the manuscript of Queneau's earliest poem, "Les derniers jours," written when he was fourteen. There is also a computer printout, credited to Queneau, of one of the 100 trillion possible permutations of his Cent mille milliards de poèmes (1961).

The Translations and Adaptations subseries includes the manuscripts of Queneau's translation and radio adaptation of George du Maurier's novel Peter Ibbetson.

All manuscripts are handwritten unless otherwise specified.

Letters from Queneau to three correspondents make up the Correspondence series. Those to Georges Pelorson, editor of Volontés, are the most numerous, consisting of fourteen letters, notes, and postcards. There is also a single brief letter to William Saroyan mentioning their common friend Henry Miller, and a letter to an unidentified correspondent concerning the artist Joan Miró.

The Third-party Works series includes printed and manuscript works by other writers, and posters and other promotional materials for films, stage performances, and exhibitions related to Queneau's work. In this series is a collection of letters, entitled by Queneau "Hétéroclites," addressed to Gallimard staff by writers hoping to have manuscripts (sometimes included) published by that house. Also here are printed and manuscript materials removed from books that were in Queneau's library; the items have been sleeved with a photocopy of the title page of the book from which they were taken. Several items in the Third-Party Works series are associated with writer Anne Argela and her husband, writer Marcel Jullian, and have no apparent connection with Queneau, but were included with the rest of the archive; the miscellaneous folder at the end of the series contains material connected with Argela and also includes correspondence between officials of the Librairie Académique and the Imprimerie des Coopératives Réunies concerning the works of T. Combe.



Open for research

Separated Material

The acquisition also included several hundred books by Queneau and other writers (including many written by the "fous littéraires" he researched for Aux confins des ténèbres), which have been transferred to the Ransom Center Library. In addition, three sound discs were transferred to the Center's Sound Recordings Collection, and a number of original works of art by Queneau were transferred to the Center's Art Collection.

Administrative Information


Purchase, 2003 (R15204)

The collection was acquired by purchase from San Francisco collector Richard Q. Praeger.

Processed by:

Richard Workman, 2004

Folder List

Series I. Works, 1917-1969, nd

Subseries A. Nonfiction, 1938-1969, nd
Box Folder
1 Articles for Volontés, typescripts with corrections
1 "'De Jean Coste' et l'expérience poétique" (1938)
2 "Les horizons perdus" (1939)
3 "Lyrisme et poésie" (1938)
4 "Minotaurisme et monogamie" (1939)
5 "Naissance et avenir de la littérature" (not published in Volontés because of World War II)
6 "Le plus et le moins" (1938)
7 "Qu'est-ce que l'art?" (1938)
Aux confins des ténèbres: Les "fous littéraires" français du XIXe siècle (2002)
Research notes
* On 4x5" slips of paper filed in three alphabetical series: author, subject, and special terms (* slips and original container removed to custom boxes 10-13)
8-14 On selected "fous littéraires" on 5x8" pieces of paper wrapped in cover sheets
Box Folder
2 1-3 Cont.
4-6 Manuscript, with occasional typescript and carbon copies ("fous littéraires")
Box Folder
3 1 Manuscript, cont.
2 "L'affaire Dreyfuss et la vie future," concerning "fou littéraire" Eulalie-Hortense Jousselin, manuscript
3 "Chapitre XXI: En marge du Saint-Simonisme," typescript and carbon copies
4-7 Typescript and carbon copy with handwritten changes (untitled)
Box Folder
4 1-3 Typescript with extensive handwritten changes
4 "Hébreu," notebook
5 "Introduction à Bouvard et Pécuchet," typescript with handwritten changes
6 "The Little Cyclopædia," notebook re James Joyce's Ulysses
7 "Modellgeschichte," German translation by Eugen Helmlé of Une histoire modèle, duplicated radio script
8 Offprints of articles by RQ
9 "Préface" to Livre de Cocktails by Emile Bauwens, manuscript, 1969
Subseries B. Fiction, 1930-1962, nd
10-11 Le chiendent (1933), manuscript in twenty notebooks
Box Folder
5 1-2 Le chiendent, cont.
Les enfants du limon (1938)
3 Notes in four notebooks ("Opus 5"), 1931
4-6 Typescript with handwritten corrections, 1930-1938
7 "Exercises in Style," BBC radio program, English version by Barbara Wright, duplicated copy, 1959
8 Journal intime de Sally Mara (1950), partial typescript with carbon copy and notes
On est toujours trop bon avec les femmes (1947; by "Sally Mara")
9-10 Manuscript
Box Folder
6 1 Notes, incomplete page proofs, printer's copy, and clippings
2 Carbon copy typescript with handwritten changes (missing pages 1-19, 106, 119)
3 Sally plus intime (1962), miscellaneous manuscript pages, composite manuscript and typescript (titled "Foutaises"), printer's copy of frontmatter
Subseries C. Poetry and Songs, 1917, nd
4 "Les derniers jours," manuscript, 1917
5 "Paisan qui va-t-en ville," typescript with handwritten changes and printer's markings
6 "Le Porc," song score with music by Luc Etienne, photocopy with inscription to RQ by composer
7 "Les Ziaux," unbound handwritten and typescript folio of poems with illustrations by B. Luquet, 1961
8 Untitled poem generated from Cent mille milliards de poèmes, computer printout
Subseries D. Translations and Adaptations, nd
9 "Complete Destruction" by William Carlos Williams, translated into French as "Destruction totale," manuscript and typescript versions
Peter Ibbetson, by George du Maurier
10-11 Translation, manuscript
12 Radio play, manuscript and notes

Series II. Correspondence, 1936-1972

Box Folder
6 13 Pelorson, Georges, 1936-1972
14 Saroyan, William, 1938
15 Unidentified, 1962

Series III. Third-party Works, 1957-1990, nd

Subseries A. Printed and Manuscript Works, 1957-1986, nd
Box Folder
6 16 Articles, clippings, and offprints about RQ, 1957, 1986
Campbell-Sposito, Mary Elizabeth
17 "Narrative Structures in the Novels of Raymond Queneau: 'La vérité est encore ailleurs,'" dissertation, 1984
Box Folder
7 1 "Présence de l'actualité dans les romans de Raymond Queneau," typed article, with cover letter to "Rick," 1986
2 "Festival du film maudit," program and clippings
3-4 "Hétéroclites," letters of submission to Gallimard with occasional manuscripts
5 Offprints and brochures not concerning RQ
6-7 Printed and manuscript materials removed from books
8 Programs
Box Folder
8 1 Smock, Ann Austin, "The New Language of Raymond Queneau's Novels, or 'L'histoire: Qu'est-ce que ça fout?'" dissertation, 1971
2 Waldrop, Rosmarie & Keith, Letters, printed copy
3 Miscellaneous printed materials re RQ
Subseries B. Graphic Materials, 1960-1990, nd
4 Lobby cards for Zazie dans le métro
* Photograph of RQ by unidentified photographer (* removed to oversize, box 14)
* Posters mounted on foam core (* removed to oversize, box 15)
Le dimanche de la vie, film de Jean Herman, nd
Exercices de style,mise en scène Jacques Seiler, Theatre de l'Œuvre
"Folio 100: Dessins originaux de 100 illustrateurs, 1000 couvertures," Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, 1978
Le journal intime de Sally Mara
Mise en scène Denise Peron, Théatre Bouffes Parisiens
Mise en scène François Oloa Biloa, Théatre du Tourtour, 1987
Raymond Queneau, Bibliothèque Nationale, 1978
Raymond Queneau: Regards sur Paris, Salon d'Accueil de l'Hôtel de Ville, 1987
5 Promotional materials for various stage and film versions of RQ's work, 1960-1990, nd
Subseries C. Materials associated with Anne Argela and Marcel Jullian
Box Folder
9 Brome, Vincent, The Way Back, translated into French as L'histoire de Pat O'Leary by Anne Argela and Marcel Jullian
1 Manuscript
2 Typescript
3 Jullian, Marcel, Devoirs de vacances, playscript
Unidentified author
4 Untitled novel, manuscript
5 Untitled poems, printout
6 Miscellaneous manuscript, typescript, and printed materials and correspondence originally foldered together
10-12 Custom boxes of research notes
13 Original research notes container
14-15 Oversize materials