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an open letter to andre breton from louis aragon on robert wilson's deafman glance My dear Andre, It wasn't very likely I would ever write you another letter. It's already been forty years. I didn't do it with you living, and afterward . . . I remember my anger in a far away country, a socialist one at that (but that's neither here nor there) when a stranger brought me a letter for the dead Eluard, begging me to place it on his grave. That's not what I am doing now for you. I write because I didn't write before, even though all the signs showed that in the autumn of 1965 we could have found each other in one of those places from the past which were marked by miracles, a cafe by chance unchanged (Tout va hien no longer existed and La Regen e, where Nadja had waited vainly for you in the rain, had changed so much that the shadow of Diderot had fled) or at the Palais des Mira les, which now exists as the Grevin Museum, or at the Place Maubert, where Etienne Dolet ran away, or at the Pont des 3 Suicides at Buttes-Chaumont . . . It didn't happen, but the miracle was produced , the one we were waiting for, about which we talked (remember that walk the length of the Tuilleries, where you said, "If ever we stop believing in miracles . . . -) the miracle came about long after I stopped believing in them. And this happened today. In a theatre which was the old GaiteLyrique , and do you remember the time we spent in the square in front of the Gaite, one day in May, 1918 before we were separated? It must have been a Sunday, the silence was absolute. Not a horsedrawn car, not a coughing taxi. You say to me, "Listen to the silence." And we laughed for all the horses who weren't there to neigh at that idea of listening to silence . . . all of a sudden , in deepest seriousness, you continued, "It's because we have become deaf that we think Paris is mute." Well, that's precisely the miracle. The play they did-but was it a play and were they acting? who'?-was called Deafman Glance, my friend. To get there you had to go through the hell of Paris, the tumultuous Boulevard Sebastopol, and all of a sudden one no longer needed, or hardly needed his ears. The world of a deaf child opened up to us like a wordless mouth. For more than four hours, we went to inhabit this universe where, in the absence of words, of sounds, sixty people had no words except to move. I want to tell you right away, Andre, because even if those who invented this spectacle don't know it, they are playing it for you, for you would have loved it as I did, to the point of madness. (Because it has made me mad.) Listen to what I say to those who have ears, seemingly not for hearing: I never saw anything more beautiful in the world since I was born. Never never has any play come anywhere near this one, because it is at once life awake and the life of closed eyes, the confusion between everyday life and the life of each night, reality mingles with dream, all that's inexplicable in the life of deaf man. There are people who say about this great Game of Silence, this miracle of men and not gods, that it's a cheap kind of surrealism, a "shopwindow surrealism ," who knows what else! Because right now surrealism is on every tongue, they say of a barque that's slightly baroque that it's a surrealist house everyone wants, the old people of our time and others who grew out of the soil we made fertile and then left, everyone wants to be, everyone calls himself "surrealist" and thank God the deaf can't hear them! Bob Wilson's piece (and I hope he forgives me for preferring the diminutive of his first name) Bob Wilson's piece, which comes to us from Iowa. is...


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