April 1 • Having invented the “poem du jour” form, Jacques Jouet today begins a journal of poems. • In the palm grove, there is a blue cup. April 2 • Certain details indicate that Mr. Tchoulkatourine died some time during the previous night. • Victor Segalen, Gilber de Voisins, and the prefect of Zhao Hua meet in the tomb of Bao San naing in the province of Sè tchouan. Segalen takes photographs. • François-René Chateaubriand publishes this day a description of Niagara Falls in Atala. April 3 • Ettore Schmitz Promises For the last time To stop smoking. • Voltaire and the president of Brosses are received at the Academy of Dijon. • Samuel Johnson begins work on the second volume of his Dictionary, leaving space for the preface, the grammar, and the history, none of these chapters having yet been started. April 4 • Monsieur de Marivaux reads his Reflections to the Académie français in the form of a letter on the human spirit. • A new cinematographic series is launched with Une aventure de Bout de Zan, a film by Louis Feuillade. • After reading Soloviev’s History, Tolstoy jots in his notebook: “One comes to the conclusion, despite oneself, that the history of Russia is composed of monstrosities.” April 5 • Marshall Canrobert, dining at the Princess’s, has gout in his hand; nonetheless, he jauntily entertains the guests with a description of Marshall Lauriston’s death “on the field of honor of love.” • The group that would later be called the Cultivating Planters’ Pacific Olive Tree Project is founded this day, as attested by a letter from Dubeau to Father Enfantin. April 6 • On this 15 clinamen 77 E.P., Irénée-Louis Sandomir, in his inaugural Harangue, announces the birth of the College of ‘Pataphysics. • From Saturday night until Sunday morning, 25 Molotov cocktails go off around town. Today, a still blazing Alhambra, an Institut that’s nothing but a sad, smoking ruin, a Saint-Louis Hospital gaily flaming away, and not a wall still standing. • The Charterhouse of Parma hits the bookstores today. April 7 • Ludwig van Beethoven, age 16, goes to Vienna to work with Mozart. • Dostoevsky attends the banquet of the “petrachevists” (partisans of the socialist and anarchist Petrachevski), which is given in honor of Fourier. • Walter Benjamin sets sail on the Catania, which he’d taken six years earlier, bound for Barcelona, and from there to Ibiza. It looks like the weather could get rough. April 8 • Luster, in leaving, looks for the last time at the flower drooping over Ben’s fist, then leaves. • Delacroix is working on the painting Hercule attachant Nérée. Over Hercules, he puts a wash of vermillion, magenta, light zinc yellow, and a silvery violet-green. Over Nérée, light zinc yellow, magenta, cobalt, and Prussian blue. He touches the light, muted tones with a shade of pale rose-orange mixed with a shade of silvery violet-green, zinc yellow, and a mauve that’s lighter than the one he used for the wash. • In the city of Meung, where the author of the Roman de la rose was born, the young d’Artagnan cuts a startling figure on a bizarre nag that looks like Don Quixote’s Rossinante. • In Boston, Henry James speaks in the past tense about his novel The Bostonians, which he has not yet starting writing. April 9 • A son is born nine hours and fifteen minutes after midnight to the Jouberts. The father, in noting the fact, comments: that he might one day remember the suffering of his mother! On the same day, he also notes that he heard a cock crowing. • In her prison cell in the Barminstrasse, Rosa Luxemburg is reading a geology book and learns that, in a clay layer in Sweden, they’ve found traces of a brief downpour that fell millions of years ago. • According to the instructions in his will, the body of Hermann Raffke, brewer and noted amateur painter, is stuffed by the greatest taxidermist in the world, brought in specially from Mexico, and then is propped up in the chair in which he posed for the henceforth famous painting by Heinrich Kürz, titled A Connoisseur’s Collection. April 10 • A daybreak on his seventieth birthday, Tang Zhen toasts himself by drinking the rest of the wine. He then reflects that perhaps congratulations are not in order as he is much closer to his death than to his birth. But then he tells himself that though his hair may have changed and his teeth fallen out, his spirit has remained the same, vibrant and vigorous. “Today, at seventy, is the time to pull out all the stops.” • Emmanuel Hocquard sees Manhattan as a city or a little island. April 11 • The Passion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race by Alfred Jarry is published today in Le Canard sauvage. • Alfred de Musset converses with a Mandarin with painted eyebrows and fingernails eighteen inches long whose only exercise consists in trailing his gaze sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left, with a half-smile. April 12 • Between Malebranche and Locke in the library of Miss Shepheard (known as Léonora), you’ll find a certain number of novels— Cleopatra, Cassandra, Le Grand Cyrus, and Clélie, which falls open, when you open it, at the scene of the two lovers meeting in the grove. • A review by Eneas Sweetland Dallas appears in the Times, “There can be no mistake about Adam Bede. It is a first-rate novel, and its author takes rank at once among the masters of the art.” • In the streets of Paris, the people follow Voltaire, cheering him and calling him the Calas’s man. April 13 • At four-seventeen in the afternoon, with the sea beautiful and the breeze gentle, the Cunard Company’s Scotia, suffers a collision that tears a perfectly even isosceles triangle in its hull below the waterline. • Handel’s servant, lacking tobacco for his pipe, mitigates his boredom by blowing soap bubbles through it. April 14 • Paul Klee walks through the cemetery at Hammamet, which stretches, unwalled, along the sea. Around him, cacti, unveiled young girls, and a camel. The camel, above all, gives him a sense of stopped time. • During the night, an earthquake swallowed Elfrida de Monte Salerno’s palace. That noble and arrogant lady had openly boasted about possessing a veritable paradise, which is what, according to Pope Pius III, turned the place into a haunt of the devil. • Jacques Roubaud gives his fourth lesson, Le fils de Leoprepes, at the Villa Gillet. April 15 • Emily Dickinson writes: “Mr. Higginson, Are you too taken up by your occupations to tell me whether or not my Verses Live.” • Cézanne repeats his earlier statement to Emile Bernard—that nature must be dealt with in terms of the cylinder, the sphere, and the cone. • Three baggage carts wallow down the flooded road. They’re carrying the new pastor’s domestic effects to Hukelum.
April 16 • Valery Larbaud is in bed with a fever and Byron’s Don Juan. During the night while asleep, he recites the most banal stupidities in perfect byronian stanzas. • The first Dada exhibition takes place at the bookstore Le Sans Pareil. • Near Vechta, there are compasses that also keep time. April 17 • Monsieur de Kératry uses the word “démodé”; it is the first time it is pronounced in France. • At Madame Necker’s, seventeen venerable philosophers, after having invoked the Holy Spirit and dined and discussed with abandon, unanimously decide to erect a monument to Monsieur de Voltaire. • Mary Shelley finishes the final draft of Frankenstein. April 18 • George Eliot starts writing Janet’s Repentance at St. Mary’s in the Scilly Isles. • Cao Xueqin remaries just a few years before his death—three or four; no one’s sure of the date of his death, but that of his second marriage is confirmed by two coffers whose decorations, both written and drawn, form a whole: on one side, a poem dedicated to his new wife; on the other, the date of the poem: “day shangsi of the year gengchen, the twenty-fifth of the Qianlong era.” April 19 • Pontormo paints the head in with the rocks behind. He dines on nine ounces of bread, a cod roe, and a salad. It all makes him a bit lightheaded. • With the capital (New York) surging overhead, Walt Whitman contemplates the great bronze statue at dusk, when the setting sun gleams on its head and crown, making it dazzle like a huge, strange star. • The Raymond-Queneau Library at Juvisy-sur-Orge is inaugurated. April 20 • Zola, needing to research art dealers and connoisseurs for his projected novel L’Oeuvre, asks Antoine Guillemet for an hour of casual chat. • Terrasse, Fénéon, Vallette, Rachilde, and several others are invited to a day of celebration (with victuals and potables) put on by Alfred Jarry at his retreat along the canal. April 21 • Referring to the election of Ampère to the Académie française, Hugo notes in his journal: “Progress slow, but academies, like the elderly, advance in small steps.” • Leonard de Vinci starts a new notebook and goes back to working on the horse for an equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza. • Paul-Jean Toulet writes to himself: “Dear Master, the respectful silence of Bruges reminds me too vividly of that which strikes me in your presence when, once again, I cannot bring myself to express to you the singular admiration I feel for your beautiful talent.” April 22 • While waiting for his baggage to come off the train that had just brought him from Brignoles, Gide suddenly senses, like an vision, the beginning of his novel The Counterfeiters. It’s going to start with the sentence: I’ll bet you’re traveling without a ticket. • Nietzsche composes a vocal quartet with piano, which he titles Sunny Days of Autumn. • Lovers in the Metro by Jean Tardieu is produced at the Lancry Theater. • At Heaven’s reception desk, the official fills in the pre-printed form addressed to Hell: “An individual of the name of Shakespeare has this day presented himself at our office.” April 23 • A boxing match in Madrid brings Jack Johnson, champion of Europe, face to face with Arthur Craven, champion of France and poet, who is knocked out in the first round. • On this day in the Echo de Paris, Monsieur Ubu announces to Achras that he has invented ‘Pataphysics. • At the town hall of Nantes, the honorable Morlierre (sic) humbly asks the members of the council to allow actors to put on their plays. • Roman Opalka is sitting on a fur cushion in the center of the floor of his studio. He has reached 3,455,207. April 24 • At La Rochelle, an anonymous fugitive seeking a way out of France promises the captain of a ship 200 thalers for each of the five people that he will bring to him, thus 1000 thalers in all. • The Citizen Army (Connolly) supported by a handful of Irish volunteers (Pearse) takes over the main Dublin post office and proclaims the Republic. • Towards evening, Roland Barthes runs through a cold rain to catch the #58. April 25 • The warbler, well known to Madeleine de Scudéry, returns to the grove today, as is its habit. • At the sale of Madame Hanska’s estate, the manuscript of Eugénie Grandet slips through the Viscount of Lovenjoul’s fingers, having been auctioned off at two thousand francs to Baron Cahen d’Anvers. April 26 • Towards one in the morning, Samuel Johnson writes to God: “If you have assigned my spouse to keep a watch over me, allow me to enjoy some of the good effects of her attentions [ . . . ] in the form of apparitions, impulses, dreams, or any other manifestation that your judgement finds agreeable.” • Raymond Queneau testifies in favor of Isidore Isou at his trial; the latter is accused of violating public morality with his book La Méchanique des femmes. • In an inn in Dordrecht, the young René Descartes disputes Lulle’s Ars parva with a learned man who prides himself on being able to argue a point for a full hour, and then switch and take the opposing argument for another hour. April 27 • Balzac is incarcerated in the Hotel des Haricots for having several times shirked his duties in the National Guard. • Georges Perec is at parachuting school at Camp Astra, near Pau in the lower Pyrenees. • An imperial decree orders all Chinese functionaries to send their province’s most literate people to the capital. April 28 • The King’s agents search the ship, but the fugitives aren’t found. And then a favorable wind, toward 11 or 12 pm, carries them far from the enemies of truth. • King Henry orders that “twenty-five écus be paid in cash to our dear and beloved sire of Sponde.” • Geoffroy Tory and Gilles de Gourmont present their Champ fleury. April 29 • Queneau finishes his long poem L’Explication des métaphores. • Like the day before, at two o’clock in the morning, Victor Hugo hears three sharp knocks; the sound makes him think of three lashes of the whip landing on his bed post. April 30 • Annibal de Coconnas and Boniface de La Mole are decapitated in the Place de Grève for trying to help Henri de Navarre escape from the Louvre, where he is held captive. Mathilde de La Mole appears, that evening, in deep mourning; Julien watches her in astonishment. • On his desert island, Robinson Crusoe notices that his supply of biscuits is diminishing rapidly and decides to limit himself to one biscuit a day, which grieves his heart deeply.