Washington University Libraries Acquire Library of French Literary Critic Pascal Pia

François Caradec et Pascal Pia, Correspondance En attendant Nadeau

François Caradec et Pascal Pia. Photograph from the French Journal’s website- En attendant Nadeau
Journal de la littérature, des idées et des arts

Washington University Libraries recently acquired the library of famous French literary critic and author, Pascal Pia. His library is comprised of books he reviewed in literary journals as well as books given to him by authors. The collection is roughly a 1,000 items of primarily French literature and includes a number of mid-century re-editions and scholarly works on major authors from earlier periods (Balzac and Beaumarchais). It has a significant number of pieces related to the historical avant-garde movements (Dadism, Surrealism, the OULIPO , and others). Many items are first editions and inscribed by authors and/or with notes by Pascal Pia himself.

Pascal Pia (pseud. of Pierre Durand, 1903-1979) was a poet, journalist, and editor (of the paper Alger Républicain).  Pia was a meticulous editor-scholar and produced an immense work of literary criticism.  From 1954-1977, he published weekly review essays in Carrefour and his reviews and criticism appeared in Le Magazine littéraire and La Quinzaine littéraire.  His published books on Baudelaire and Apollinaire are still available today in updated editions.

Pascal Pia’s library is now part of the rare book collections of the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections, where it joins an extensive collection of Anglo-American Modern Literature. The department hopes to begin cataloging this summer.

For more about Pascal Pia:

  • Apollinaire, Guillaume, and Pascal Pia. Apollinaire Par Lui-Même, Images Et Textes Présentés Par Pascal Pia. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1967. Print.
  • At the Forefront of Change: Paris, 1900-1970. Selections from the Pascal Pia Collection.” Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries, https://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/bandy/pia-exhibit/index.php. Accessed 29 Apr. 2019.
  • Grenier, Roger. Pascal Pia Ou Le Droit Au Néant. Paris: Gallimard, 1989. Print.
  • Pichois, Claude. “La Collection Pascal Pia de l’Université Vanderbilt.” Histoires littéraires, 1 (no 1, 2000), 156-159.

About the author

Daria is a subject librarian for Romance Languages & Literatures, Latin American Studies, and Linguistics at Washington University in St. Louis.