Romains, Jules. (1885–1972)
"I am prepared to accept conditions significantly inferior to the sort I have become accustomed to, though somewhat better than those you have proposed" - Collection of Letters Concerning a Speaking Tour in Italy
Group of seven letters, including four typed letters signed from the French poet and writer together with one autograph letter signed and two TLS from his wife, Lise Romains, to Professors Giancarlo Camerana and Irma Antonetto of the Associazione Culturale Italiana, regarding a speaking tour in March of 1956. In the first letter (Paris, 15 October 1955; 1 pp. on A4 personal stationary), Romains writes in part (translated from the French) "It would be my pleasure to speak to your public in the four cities you suggested. However, the material conditions you've offered seem quite modest to me. Because I am so fond of Italy and because I am always happy to return there, I am prepared to accept conditions significantly inferior to the sort I have become accustomed to, though somewhat better than those you have proposed...Would you be so kind as to let me know if you agree to these conditions?" In the second letter (Paris, 1 February 1956; 1 pp. on A4 personal stationary), he writes in part "I find myself in a huge embarrassment. La Comédie-Française, which was supposed to mount one of my shows after the Easter holiday, has just informed me that the piece will go immediately into rehearsals for a mid-March opening, without giving me a precise date. If everything goes well, I am hopeful rehearsals will be over by March 14. But it is more than likely that they will run two or three days late. / You understand well, I am sure, that I would be very annoyed not to be able to attend [your talks]. But there is another possible solution," going on to ask about the availability of dates the institute had previously suggested. The two remaining letters from Jules concern payment, arrival dates, and other practical matters. The three letters from his wife are to Irma Antonetto and of a more social nature, one sent with an absent photograph upon the couple's return to France, another sending an article Lise thought may be of interest, and the third thanking Antonetto for sending a photograph of the couple in the Piazza San Carlo in Turin while mentioning that the next time Antonetto comes to Paris, the Romains will show her "a bistro just as good as the Gatto Nero." Expected mailing folds, two holes to left margin of each letter, else fine.
Romains was nominated for the Nobel prize in literature sixteen times, and Sinclair Lewis considered him one of the six best novelists in the world.
Irma Antonetto (1920-1993), was founder and director of the Associazione Culturale Italiana [Association of Italian Culture] for 46 years, during which time she brought some 400 philosophers, writers, scientists, artists, and Nobel winners to lecture in Italy. She was recipient of the 1964 Cavaliere al merito della Repubblica italiana.