venerdì 29 maggio 2020
SIMENON SIMENON. FROM JOSEPHINE TO MAIGRET
Two magazine projects that never came to life
SIMENON SIMENON. DA JOSEPHINE A MAIGRET
Due progetti di riviste che non sono mai venuti alla luce
SIMENON SIMENON. DE JOSEPHINE A MAIGRET
Did you know that Simenon almost became a newspaper director? The first time when he was a young man in his 20s; the idea of creating a newspaper was related to his passion for the then most famous star in Paris, Josephine Baker. Although the Creole queen of the variety was surrounded by wealthy men, famous actors and influent politicians, this young dreamy Sim made inroads into her heart. For the novelist, who at the time was neither rich nor famous, this was a story that left its mark. In the enthusiasm of this relationship, Simenon had the idea of publishing a Josephine Baker Magazine, all dedicated to his lover. He involved in the project the journalist André de Foquiers, a famous worldly columnist, and also Paul Colin, an illustrator and graphic designer, with the objective to make a very luxury magazine. On the cover of the first issue there stood a big M, like “modern, monthly, mondial (worldwide)”. The enterprise was financed by Josephine Baker herself and the star’s impresario, Pepito Abatino.
But the birth of the newspaper seemed to answer more to the sentimental needs of the two lovers than to precise editorial motivations, and thus there was only one issue made, all the more that the story between Georges and Josephine ended abruptly with Simenon's sudden departure from Paris to the Aix Island with his wife Tigy. Simenon had fled, because he had feared to become “monsieur Baker”.
The second time occurred some years later on. In 1944, Simenon met Sven Nielsen, who at the time was a small publisher. The novelist was trying to find a way to leave Gallimard, the prestigious publishing house he had entered a dozen of years ago. Nielsen’s small firm pleased him and Nielsen himself, this “very timid, but with iron will” Swedish man pleased him even more. Both were convinced that they were made for each other. Simenon, with his “romans durs” and his Maigret novels would have made the Presses de La Cité take such a step up that twenty years of hard work would not have been enough to achieve it. Nielsen’s small publishing house lent itself perfectly to that control on his works to which Simenon had also aspired: covers, prints, rhythm of publication, launching…
Among all the hypotheses that they explored, Simenon put forward the idea of a Maigret Magazine. It would have been one more tool to make a hen with golden eggs better, that is to say Maigret’s investigations, which allowed Simenon to write more difficult novels that were not necessarily intended for the general public and thus of limited print runs. The study for the magazine went rather forward, and they had come to divide the quotes (45% for Simenon, 45% for Nielsen and the remaining 10% for the New York literary agent Max Becker).
But also this turned out to be more the fruit of professional infatuation from the part of the publisher and the writer than a project that would have an editorial validity. And also because Simenon at that time left for America, where he would stay for ten years. Nevertheless, the publishing partnership with Nielsen would be strong and go on until the novelist’s death. And the Maigret Magazine remained for both one of the many memories of their over forty years of collaboration.
Pubblicato da Maurizio Testa a 00:31