Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Reverdy/Chanel Big Mistake

Made a ghastly mistake: having read Hal Vaughan's book about Coco Chanel, Sleeping with the Enemy (Vintage, 2012), I fell for something hook and lines. It was Pierre Reverdy's dedication to Chanel of a bunch of poems in 1949, that begins "I give you my hand/I give you my heart." The poem was from 1949, but was listed as being his dedication for her tomb. Alas, I printed the concluding three lines in my preface to my anthology of Reverdy poems (New York Review Books, just appeared) and cited his statement. Here are the concluding lines:
       Before heading toward/ The dark road’s end/ If condemned/ If pardoned/Know you are loved.

Rhonda Garelick, whose forthcoming biography of Chanel ( Antigone in Vogue: Coco Chanel and the Myths of Fashion (forthcoming in 2014 from Random House in the United States and Picador Books in Australia and New Zealand)  will set records straight all around, helped me discover the origin of this dedication: i am more than grateful! It seems I cannot put an erratum slip, and can't think where to print a  mea maxima culpa except here, so here it is!

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