Le mur du son

Year: 1953

Author: Pierre Seghers (1906 - 1987)

Publisher: Pierre Seghers, éditeur

Le mur du son, cover

In 1953, publisher/poet Pierre Seghers published a remarkable poem, Le mur du son (The sound barrier): a nicely produced 'concertina book' on Auvergne paper, printed in red, green and black in an edition of 500 copies.

But this poem is not just a poem; it is above all a political statement, a manifesto. Seghers, who played a central role in the poetry of the French resistance, made his strong reservations about the utopian communist ideals clear in four strophes:

'Nous avons pris la lunette des guillotines

Pour un soleil et le regard en couperet

N’est pas une image'

('We had mistaken the mouth of the guillotine / For a sun and the view of the falling blade / Is not an image')

His good friends, the decidedly communist writer couple Louis Aragon and Elsa Triolet, reacted in shock to the venomous publication, in which he observed that the world was considered coherent and that the brain contained electronics ('Nous avons appelé l'univers coherent / Mais nos cervelles devenaient électroniques'). Seghers realised what kind of reactions he was causing. In this copy, he wrote a dedication in the back (to painter couple Philippe and Liliane Morisson): 'ce tract qui m'a valu bien des misères'. His friendship with Aragon and Triolet survived, but Seghers would remain suspicious towards politics and its destructive influence on relationships. The text would never be reprinted, with the exception of a Bulgarian edition from 1976.

Bibliographical description

Description: Le mur du son / Pierre Seghers. - [Paris] : [Pierre Seghers, éditeur], 1953.- Leporello ([4] p.) ; 18 cm

Printer: Union (Paris)

Edition: 500 copies

This copy: Number 29 of 500 on Auvergne

Note: With a handwritten dedication by the author to Philippe and Liliane Morisson

Shelfmark: KW Koopm D 180


  • Max Adereth, Elsa Triolet and Louis Aragon: An introduction to their interwoven lives and works. Lewiston, The Edwin Mellen Press, 1994
  • Pierre Seghers, Pierre Seghers, choix de textes, illustrations, bibliographie, fac-similé. Paris, Seghers, 1967