‘To Revive the Wind’, on René Crevel’s ‘Babylon’.

The grandfather and the mother had to remain in Paris because of their work. The grandmother settled in with her grand-daughter on the family property in the Seine-et-Oise. Queen of a box-bordered garden, the old lady drenched her roses with a syringe, as if those persnickety creatures had need of a clyster to preserve the pretty colour, the natural delicacy of flowers. The hour of the daily apotheosis rung, and the intricate task once performed (which for nothing on earth would she abandon to the uncouth indifference to mercenary hands), the grandmother ascended in great dignity the steps of the belvedere from where each car she perceived gave her a pretext for regretting the magestic and dustless era of victorias and princess gowns “.

from To Revive the Wind, Babylon , by René Crevel, Trans Kay Boyle Quartet Encounters, 1985. Illustrations by Max Ernst.

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