The Review Years

“You ask me how Commerce began… One day, all of a sudden, Valéry said: ‘Why couldn’t we continue our meetings by publishing our discussions in a review? As a title I suggest  Commerce, the commerce of ideas.’ That idea delighted all of us there. The editors (Larbaud, Valéry, and Fargue) were appointed immediately. Adrienne Monnier and I took respon-sibility for putting everything in motion and we started straight away.” These are the words of Marguerite Caetani, describing events in 1924. She was born Marguerite Gilbert Chapin, an American who had arrived in Europe in 1902 and married Roffredo Caetani, Prince of Bassiano. In Paris they called her “the Princess,” though she signed herself Marguerite Caetani.  Of the three editors, Paul Valéry was the authority, Léon-Paul Fargue a writer admired above all by other writers, and Valery Larbaud a great literary go-between, a mercurial ferryman whenever one spoke in a certain

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