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Pascal Pia Collection

A row of books in the Pascal Pia Collection.

Pascal Pia was the pen name of Pierre Durand (1903-1979), a French writer, journalist, and critic. Pia moved to Paris at age fourteen and quickly became part of avant-garde writing circles. He published his first poem at the age of eighteen and continued to write poetry along with reviews and articles.

Pia’s collection opens a window into the literary scenes he frequented: from Dadaism and Surrealism of the 1920s and 1930s to Existentialism in the 1950s and 1960s. Durand avidly collected scholarship on Apollinaire, Boris Vian, Alfred Jarry, Antonin Artaud, and Baudelaire. As a critic, Pia was instrumental in shaping the placement of authors within the French literary canon of the twentieth century. His collection includes numerous copies of books inscribed from the author to Pia.

A flyleaf or blank page with a personal note written in pen by the author to Pascal Pia.
A book inscribed by the author to Pascal Pia.

As a journalist, Pia also gathered a wide variety of journals and periodicals of the 20th century in Paris. His collection includes turn-of-the-century popular culture magazines as well as collections of Surrealist and Oulipo-affiliated journals of the 1950s and 1960s.

The Pascal Pia Collection provides insight into the twentieth-century French literary scene, authorship, literary criticism, and Pia’s relationships with individual authors. The collection is currently in the process of being cataloged.


Special Collections, Special Collections, Preservation, and Digital Strategies
Cassie Brand
Job Title
Curator of Rare Books
Phone Number
(314) 935-4950