Les Monts Analogues de René Daumal.
Close Les Monts Analogues de René Daumal.
October 25

Les Monts Analogues of René Daumal
Talk presented by Boris Bergmann, followed by a reading of the work

Le Mont Analogue is a magical book that shakes up and guides the existence of anyone who, by reading it, takes part in turn in the quest of Daumal. During an initiatory narrative, which remained unfinished, a group of adventurers set off in search for and then the ascension of a mountain of an immeasurable height, a passage joining heaven and earth: Mount Analogue. The narrator, a young mountain-climbing poet, leads this expedition towards the unknown summit. This place is also the link between our certitudes and what escapes us. The rule is simple: to see, you have to believe.

Published for the first time by Gallimard in 1952, Le Mont Analogue was available only in paperback. In October 2021, the publishers brought out a new edition, with critical texts – including a preface by Patti Smith – photographs, and facsi-miles. But Le Mont Analogue is not just an important literary text: it has also acted as a signpost for several generations of artists. The director Alejandro Jodorowsky and the artist Philippe Parreno are among the best known, along with the writers Cécile Guilbert and Boris Bergmann – who directed this new edition.

Brought together for this talk, they mingle their visions of this vital text. Together, they show how Mount Analogue is above all a collective metaphysical adventure, a utopia, which is open and absolute. As Daumal wrote: “… the fact that there are two of us changes everything; it is not that the task becomes twice as easy: but that the impossible becomes possible.”


René Daumal

René Daumal was born in Boulzicourt, a small village in the Ardennes, in 1908. A brilliant student, when at school in Reims he met Roger Gilbert-Lecomte and other young people tempted by experimentation and transcending the supposed limits of reality. Every was game: writing, playing, drug-taking and collective experiences. Together, they formed a clan – the “Phrères simplistes” – then a group – le Grand Jeu – with a review of the same name and radical, poetic and revolutionary ambitions. But the adventure was short-lived, with adolescent friendships falling apart. Daumal then turned towards other means to know the truth, on a more individual pathway. He took an interest in India, Sanskrit, sacred dances, but also mountain climbing as a direct means to reach the heights. He published little: a collection of poems (Le Contre-Ciel, 1936) which remained little-known, his first novel with Gallimard in 1939 (La Grande Beuverie) and began Le Mont Analogue. He was never able to finish it. Daumal was struck down by tuberculosis, a consequence of his fragile health, but above all of his experiments with drugs during his youth. He died in 1944, aged 36, leaving behind an abundant and little-known body of work. His last book, Mount Analogue, was to be published for the first time posthumously by Gallimard in 1952.


Boris Bergman

Boris Bergmann was born in Paris in 1992. He has published five novels. The most recent, Les Corps insurgés (Calmann-Lévy, September 2020) won the Prix Felix Fénéon. He is the co-curator of the exhibition “Monts Analogues” at the FRAC Champagne Ardenne (from 17 September to 23 December 2021) which brings together archive material, but also works by artists inspired by Daumal and Mount Analogue. He directed Les Monts Analogues by René Daumal, a new edition of the work to be published in October 2021 by Gallimard.