Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Monique Fong Wust is a writer, translator and interpreter. She was born in Paris on November 22, 1926, to a French mother and a Chinese father.
She met André Breton at a dinner party hosted by Claude Lévi-Strauss in 1949. Breton introduced her to the Surrealists and to Mexican poet and future Nobel Prize Laureate Octavio Paz (1914-1998) who had recently relocated to Paris while working for the Mexican Embassy. The two formed a lifelong friendship and professional collaboration. In early correspondence, Paz sent her some of his poems of which Fong Wust began translating into French. Paz became a mentor to Fong Wust, introducing her to the writings of Ezra Pound, Antonio Machado, D.H. Lawrence, and many others. He also introduced her to the politics, history, and culture of Mexico.
After severing ties with the Paris Surrealist group in March 1951, Fong Wust moved to Washington, D.C. and was hired as an interpreter for the Marshall Plan. She moved to New York permanently in 1966, where she met Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp also became a lifelong friend. She recorded an oral French translation of one of Paz's essays on Duchamp ( Marcel Duchamp o el castillo de la pureza), so that Duchamp's wife could understand it. Claude Givaudan published the piece as a "livre-objet" and included it in his gallery show, "Ready-mades et éditions de et sur Marcel Duchamp," (June 8-September 30, 1967).
Paz and Fong Wust continued their collaboration for many decades. Fong Wust has translated various works of Paz's including his second essay on Marcel Duchamp, Apariencia Desnuda. La obra de Marcel Duchamp, which was published in 1976. Other notable Fong Wust translations include John Cage's Silence. She has written extensively on Duchamp and published a biography, Duchamp des oiseaux, in 2008.
Fong Wust lives in New York City.
Contains correspondence with Octavio Paz and his French translator and friend Monique Fong Wust, 1961-1977. Includes 28 letters signed "Octavio Paz", then "Octavio" including 11 autograph letters, 16 typescript letters with autograph notes and 1 telegram, 43 pages (size varies), in Spanish (one letter in French, one in English). There is one carbon copy of a letter of Octavio Paz to the Cultural Program of the XIX Olympics held in Mexico, carbon of the poem "México: Olimpíada de 1968." Other correspondence to Fong Wust includes Robert Lebel, Marie-Jo Paz, and Juan García de Oteyza. Also included are original English typescripts of "The Centurions of Santiago" with corrections and additions from Paz and Fong Wust, an annotated and corrected printed copy of Paz's Apariencia desnuda. La obra de Marcel Duchamp for French translation, and various printed ephemera about related Paz events.
Organized into the following series: Series 1: Correspondence and Series 2: Manuscripts and Printed Materials.
Purchase, 2016 (AM 2016-114).
This collection was purchased (in part) with funds provided by the Program in Latin American Studies (PLAS).
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This collection was processed by Elvia Arroyo-Ramirez in June 2016. Finding aid written by Elvia Arroyo-Ramirez in June 2016.
Nothing was removed from the collection during the 2016 processing.
- Manuscripts Division
- Finding Aid Author
- Elvia Arroyo-Ramirez
- Finding Aid Date
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The Paz-Fong Wust correspondence largely dwells on their collaboration, but also documents the Nobel Prize laureate's ideas about life, writing and poetics, his opinions on the political regime in Mexico during the 1960s, and his intimate feelings about such figures as John Cage and Marcel Duchamp. Other correspondents with Fong Wust include Robert Lebel, Marie-Jo Paz, and Juan García de Oteyza.Physical Description
Carbon copy letter; includes carbon of the poem "México: Olimpíada de 1968."Physical Description
Manuscripts and printed materials relating to translation work Fong Wust did for Paz's works, including an annotated draft with revisions of Paz's essay, "The Centurions of Santiago," and a second essay Paz wrote on Marcel Duchamp Apariencia Desnuda.Physical Description
Original English typescript, 7 pages, with handwritten corrections and additions in the hand of Octavio Paz (black ink) and Fong Wust (purple ink). The text, published in Descent, was written on the occasion of General Augusto Pinochet's coup d'état in Chile. Includes carbon copy of final version. Also here is a collection of Fong Wust's personal keepsakes of Paz related events.Physical Description
Includes a handwritten dedication by the author to Fong Wust: "A Monique, con mi gratitud a la traductora y mi antigua, fiel amistad. Octavio. Cambridge, Mass, 12 de Diciembre 1976." The copy is corrected and annotated by this author for a French translation, comprising about 80 autograph corrections by Paz.Physical Description
Includes flyers, pamphlets, and ticket stubs to birthday celebration and posthumous commemorative events in honor of Paz's life.Physical Description