The Twentieth-Century Periodical in French
Debra Kelly Pierre Albert-Birot and SIC
: The Avant-garde Review as Collective Adventure and Personal Poetics L’avant-garde en art c’est revenir aux principes de base. Ils sont très simples et peu nombreux. Déplaisent aux gens qui se piquent de science. — Robert Pinget, Du nerf This chapter focuses on the review SIC, founded, edited and published by Pierre Albert-Birot and of which fifty-four issues appeared between January 1916 and December 1919. Three areas are addressed: the role of SIC in war- time Paris; the collective and collaborative adventure represented by SIC; and finally the place of SIC in the development of the work of Albert-Birot from sculptor, painter and occasional poet to the literary activity of the following fifty years. While it may not be possible to speak of SIC itself as having a fully coherent poetics, a theoretical and creative ‘programme’ is discernable in the intersection it reveals between the collective and the individual. Moreover, the experience of this literary and artistic review provided the opportunity for Albert-Birot to elaborate a personal poet- ics that would endure until his death in 1967. SIC’s importance as a site where the ideas, actions, convergences and divergences of its collaborators were played out has often been obscured in literary history due to the hos- tile criticism it received at the time, after the war (most notably from the Surrealists), and by later critics commenting on the review. These issues will be addressed in the conclusion, and we are therefore also engaged here, to some extent, in a re-evaluation...
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