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56 the minnesota review Liz Heron Faits Divers, August 1927 Germaine Jolivet's shooting of her lover is reported in La Vigie. During the year he has worked as chauffeur to the English painter Noel Mirlees, Georges Roussel has often been away. Now, after a week without news, and suspecting infidelity, Germaine has followed him here from Paris. They argue in a restaurant, fiercely, and are asked to leave, without having eaten. They walk back to Georges' shabby room in the bout du quai, and the row continues, getting angrier, louder. "Is that any way to treat a woman!" some neighbours shout when they hear Germaine's screams and are in no doubt Georges is beating her. Then three gunshots. Two miss completely, one grazes a forearm. Before long, the police arrive. Her face pressed against the wall, Germaine is weeping. Georges sits on the bed, eyes blank, as if stunned. At Varengeville, along the coast, André Breton hunts owls in the woods surrounding the Manoir d'Ango. It is here, in a hut artificially camouflaged with shrubbery, that he has begun writing Nadja. Nadja is beautiful, passionate , capricious, mad; a woman made for men's dreams. . . . now the tower of the Manoir d'Ango explodes and a snowfall offeathers from its doves dissolves on contact with the earth of the great courtyard once paved with scraps of tiles and now covered with real blood.From prison in Milan, Antonio Gramsci writes to his wife's sister Tatiana describing the death of a sparrow from a stroke. He cried out like a child, he writes, but died only the following day: his right side was paralysed and he had to drag himself painfully to eat and drink . . . What I liked in this sparrow was his resistance to being handled. He would rebelfiercely, beating his wings and pecking my hand with great energy . . . I think his spirit must have been eminently Goethean ("Über allen Gipfeln"). In his cell another sparrow, tamer, servile, has replaced the dead bird. The letter marks nine months of imprisonment. On the sea-front near the Casino, where Yvette Guilbert is this week's star attraction, the police arrest Anna Haavikko, 23, Finnish, for possession of a knife and a revolver. Before the magistrate, her lawyers plead that the current situation in Finland makes possession of arms a common occurence. A small fine is imposed, along with a suspended sentence. When arrested she was staring out to sea, hatless, her pale hair wispy in the wind. She was fin- Heron 57 gering the gun, her thoughts elsewhere. It was low tide and gulls had gathered along the sandy shoreline, facing the waves. Perhaps she was homesick, or perhaps, with the reluctant northerner's sense of release, only glad to have left the even more fathomless greyness of the nordic sky up there in the past. If she were to tum her back, then this surely was where the south began, on this lip of stony beach. Spasmodic drops of rain were falling. The weather this August has made it the most dismal for years. In Charlestown gaol near Boston, Niccola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, anarchists, walk to their execution. Waiting six years for their death to be final, this shoemaker and this fish-peddler have become known to millions , in New York and Moscow, London and Geneva, in every great city of the world. Now, as they walk to the electric chair, they sing. Voices that soar and tremble sing Mario's aria from the last act of Tosca: ? lucevano le stelle . . .'; their farewell to life, to the brightness of the stars and the fragrance of the earth in the land where they were bom. Their places of birth are far apart, almost as far as Italy's north and south can be, separated by diet and dialect in a country where the language of music is the one still most shared. Vanzetti was bom in Villafalletto on the narrow Grana river which runs only a little way from its source in the Alps to join the Po. Sacco in Torremaggiore, on the edge of the sun-blasted Puglia plain that then swells out to become the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 56-59
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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