experimental metaphysics

Excerpts from A Chronology of the Life of Roger Gilbert-Lecomte

1907 Roger Lecomte born on 18 May in Reims.

1921 First poems. With schoolmates starts a magazine, Apollo; is editor-in-chief.

1923 Lecomte, Daumal and others form a group, Les Simplistes; experiments with carbon tetrachloride.

1924 The Simplistes experiment with out-of-body experiences (carbon tetrachloride, ether, opium); discovery of Surrealism and automatic writing.

1925 Daumal begins studying Sanskrit; Lecomte develops first morphine habit, aided by a pharmacist's daughter.

1927 Experiments with extraretinal vision at Rene Maublanc's apartment; Lecomte attends medical school in Reims. Grand Jeu (Great Game) group is founded. The group name invented by Roger Vailland; weekly meeting chez Joseph Sima.

1928 Grand Jeu No. 1 (magazine) comes out in March.

1929 Surrealists sumon Grand Jeu group to meeting "to study possibilities of joint action" (March). Grand Jeu No. 2.

1930 Surrealists attempt to coopt Lecomte and Daumal; Daumal is publicly wooed by Breton; rebuffs Surrealist advances in an open letter to Breton. Lecomte is hospitalized in clinics for withdrawal from drugs several times this year. Daumal finishes Le Contre-ciel (Counter-heaven); starts relationship with Vera Milanova. Grand Jeu No. 3.

1931 Grand Jeu No. 4, its theme "experimental metaphysics," is ready for the printers but fails to comut out (It never did appear until the 1977 reprint of the whole of Grand Jeu magazine). Group beginning to disintegrate. Lecomte is detoxed several times.

1932 Grand Jeu group goes into final crisis; involvement in the "Aragon Affair." Fall: formal dissolution of Grand Jeu. December: Daumal leaves for New York City as press agent for Uday Shankar, the Hindu dancer. Lecomte delievers a lector at the Sorbonne, with Artaud in the audience: "The Metamorphoses of Poetry." Lecomte joins the Association of Revolutionary Artists and Writers, together with Breton, Crevel, et al.

1933 Death of Lecomte's mother. Lecomte arrested with a drug dealer; hospitalized. On leaving hospital he spends inheritance on drugs and an addict girlfriend. Publication of Lecomte's Life Love Death Void and Wind.

1935 Daumal's Counter-heaven wins the Jacques Doucet prize.

1937 Daumal's Night of Serious Drinking, a fictionalized account of Grand Jeu times, is published. Lecomte arrested for dealing drugs.

1938 Lecomte's Black Mirror is published.

1940 Lecomte's close friend Arthur Adamov, having tried unsuccessfully to persuade Lecomte to move to the Unoccupied Zone; Lecomte is found by Mme. Firmat unconscious in the street.

1941 Daumal translates Suzuki essays on Zen, a booklength collection to be published by Gallimard, guest-edits special issue of Cahiers du Sud on India; working on his own essays on Indian civilzation and Sanskrit literature and philsoophy to be published in France under the title Bharata (and in U.S. as Rasa).

1943 Daumal returns to Paris from a two-year convalescence in the Alps for TB; working on Mount Analogue. Lecomte, unattended at Broussais hospital, dies of tetanus. Although penniless at the moment, Lecomte was on the point of being awarded a large inheritance from a recently deceased aunt.

1944 Daumal dies in Paris of TB. Special issue of Cahiers du Sud dedicated to Lecomte.

1955 Publication of Testament, a volume of selected poems by Lecomte assembled by Arthur Adamov with the permission of Lecomte, Senior, by Gallimard.

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