Auguste Poulet-Malassis  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Paul Emmanuel Auguste Poulet-Malassis (Alençon, March 16, 1825 – Paris, February 11, 1878) was a French printer and publisher who lived and worked in Paris. He was a long standing friend and the printer/publisher of Charles Baudelaire, whose collection suppressed poems, Les Épaves, he printed.

Contents

Biography

In his short six years of printing and publishing Auguste Poulet-Malassis released very few books, with little gain financially. He seemed to have been more concerned with the aesthetics and the appeal to his close friends than - much to the despair of his partner and brother in law De Broise- the actual profits and finance. The books were always bound beautifully and printed on fine paper with illustrations.

Poulet Malassis printed and published the works of Baudelaire famously, but also printed what would - at the time - have been safer, more acclaimed novelists, poets and critics. Which included the likes of Théodore Faullain de Banville, Théophile Gautier, Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve and Champfleury.

It sometimes seems as if he had printed his friends works - through acts of kindheartedness or even sympathy - when they had no where else to turn; this may have been the case with Baudelaire who struggled to make a living almost all of his adult life.

Together with Baudelaire they worked themselves further and further into debt until Poulet-Malassis was imprisoned for unpaid debts in November 1862; This debt would have been no problem, if it were not for the scarcity of sales, probably due to little or no advertising. It could not have helped being involved with the scandal and outrage which Les Fleurs Du Mal generated. He printed the first number of editions and the book of Baudelaire's poems was subsequently banned - after a pigheaded and uncharitable court case - for obscenities.

Also, at the instigation of Baudelaire, the company opened a ground floor shop in the centre of Paris, in the Passage Mires. The shop was laid out beautifully with oak shelves, no expense was spared but Poulet Malassis seemed to have treated the building as a literary club house where he would talk with his friends for hours on end. He never was famous for his business sense, the shop never did make a profit and was just another negative in the build up to his downfall.

Poulet Malassis also managed a literary magazine "Quarterly Review of Publications banned in France and printed abroad" (French: Bulletin trimestriel des Publications défendues en France, imprimées à l'Estranger) in which he promoted Les Chants de Maldoror by Isidore Ducasse after it had been refused distribution by its French printer.


French profile

Auguste Poulet-Malassis, né à Alençon en 1825 et mort à Paris en 1878, était un éditeur français.

Le nom de Poulet-Malassis restera à jamais associé à celui de son ami Baudelaire qui le surnommait Coco Mal-Perché.

Issu d’une longue lignée d’imprimeurs à laquelle on doit une impression de la Bible en français à la Réforme, il commence très jeune son apprentissage dans l’entreprise familiale. Il se lie d’amitié avec Léon de la Sicotière au lycée des jésuites d’Alençon. En 1845, il monte faire des études de lettres à Paris où il découvre les bouquinistes. Il prend part à la révolution de 1848 en publiant son propre journal, L’Aimable Faubourien, journal de la canaille : vendu par la crapule et acheté par les honnêtes gens, qui lui vaudra sept mois de prison.

En 1850, il rencontre Baudelaire et reprend la direction de l’imprimerie familiale en 1855 avec son beau-frère, Eugène de Broise. Il ouvre une libraire à Paris, rue de Buci. Le contrat de publication des Fleurs du mal est signé avec les éditions Malassis-de Broise le 30 décembre 1856. Six des poèmes devront être retirés de l’ouvrage condamné pour outrage à la morale publique, Poulet-Malassis et de Broise devront débourser 100 francs d’amende chacun. Le 24 mai 1861, Baudelaire cède à l’éditeur le droit de reproduction exclusif de ses œuvres littéraires parues ou à paraître, ainsi que de ses traductions d’Edgar Allan Poe. Il a également édité les poètes du Parnasse comme Théodore de Banville ou Leconte de Lisle.

Son goût pour les auteurs marginaux et les textes licencieux (Nerciat, Crébillon…) finirent par le mener à la faillite le 2 septembre 1862. Emprisonné pour dettes, il s’exile en Belgique où il recommence à imprimer clandestinement des textes de la même veine. En 1875, il revient à Paris pour y trouver la mort.

Références

  • Claude Pichois, Auguste Poulet Malassis : l'éditeur de Baudelaire, Paris, Fayard, 1996 ISBN 221359600X
  • Gérard Oberlé, Auguste Poulet-Malassis, un imprimeur sur le Parnasse. Ses ancêtres, ses auteurs, ses amis, ses écrits, Montigny-sur-Canne, Manoir de Pron et Imprimerie alençonnaise, 1996
  • Benoît Noël, Auguste Poulet-Malassis & Charles Baudelaire, 150 ans de l’édition des Fleurs du Mal, Ville d’Alençon éditeur, 2007.
  • Benoît Noël et Laurent Paturaud, Auguste Poulet-Malassis, éditeur alençonnais d’avant-garde, Ville d’Alençon éditeur, 2007.

See also

Date

Late 19th Century Source

Octave Uzanne, Le Livre, Paris, A. Quantin, 1884.[1]

Liens externes




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