Lost Profiles

Lost Profiles
Memoirs of Cubism, Dada, and Surrealism
Translated by Alan Bernheimer
Foreword by Mark Polizzotti
Afterword by Ron Padgett

Los Angeles Review of Books
Oct 15, 2017

"Soupault's lively, up-close account underlines the astonishing vitality and versatility of the avant-garde he helped to create and shape. . . . Despite his preference for poetry, Soupault writes prose with gusto and élan. He beautifully conveys the passage of time and its impact on individuals and their relationships. . . . Lost Profiles captures the restlessness and aspiration of a generation of writers for whom received wisdom was cant, but who could never shake their own self-doubt and propensity for disenchantment."––Paul Maziar

The Massachusetts Review

"[P]art of what a book like this one does is precisely to construct a tradition of its own . . . Part of what [Soupault] wonderfully captures in these portraits (all of which are also, of course, self-portraits) is the noisiness of the age's experimentalism."––Michael Thurston

Rain Taxi

"Soupault's memoir would not be out of place in the company of such minor classics as Ambroise Vollard's Recollections of a Picture Dealer, Manuel Rosenthal's Satie, Ravel, Poulenc, Jean Cocteau's Professional Secrets, or even Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. . . . The accumulation of choice details leaves us with the impression that at an advanced age, Soupault continued to look back on the past fondly—and to inhabit, in his own quiet way, the world that had been explosively dramatized decades earlier by Dada and Surrealism, wherein events counted for more than aesthetic artifacts. Or as Blaise Cendrars had taught him, 'You have to live poetry before you write it; writing, that was superfluous.'"––John Toren, Rain Taxi



"Like Marc Dachy's essential Discoveries: Dada: The Revolt of Art, Soupault’s book—with its pocket size, short chapter format, and reasonable price—makes for the perfect travel companion. Even though the essays presume a certain level of familiarity with the French avant-garde, they have an engaging quality that transmits Soupault’s palpable love for experimental art . . . Lost Profiles offers witty and unexpurgated views of venturesome men during a daring era, but it is in no way a sufficiently broad-spectrum historical overview of the birth of the avant-garde in Paris."––Joseph Nechvatal

"Alan Bernheimer's multilingual poetics"
Jan 17, 2017

Coverage of Alan Bernheimer's event at Kelly Writers House where he discussed Lost Profiles with Ariel Resnikoff.

- Jacket 2

National Post

"[C]harming . . . a brief account by a perceptive writer who was on the scene when modernity was young."—Robert Fulford


"The attraction of this little book pivots on the first word of its subtitle. Memoirs, yes, but not only just that, considering their author––along with André Breton and Louis Aragon—is a founder of Parisian Dada and surrealism. Charming, deft, the profiles that the author paints of those he knew, and one he didn't, though all to him were friends in truth or feeling, reach out and ever so subtly ensnare. It is not that they reveal anything completely new after nearly a century of scholarship and criticism. Nor is that the point. But freshness is a value, both personal and poetic that, for Soupault, is as natural as breath."––Allan Graubard

"A Tour of Paris, 1917, with Blaise Cendrars"
Nov 29, 2016

An excerpt from Lost Profiles of the chapter on Blaise Cendrars, with a brief introduction by translator Alan Bernheimer.

- Literary Hub

"Lost Profiles included in the French Embassy's list of new titles"
Nov 7, 2016

Lost Profiles is featured on the French Embassy's website.

- French Embassy in the United States

"The Watchlist: November 2016"
Nov 7, 2016

Lost Profiles featured in this list of new notable books in translation - "Assuming you don't already, you'll wish you had been there yourself. I certainly do."

- Words Without Borders

Kirkus Reviews

"First published in 1963, this charming collection of reminiscences by surrealist poet Philippe Soupault offers warm, generous, appreciative profiles of some of his famous contemporaries. … Sharp, stylish, and anecdotal, the book offers a fresh glimpse into a fertile artistic world."

Publishers Weekly

"In [Alan] Bernheimer's graceful translations, Soupault's little reflections on many of his contemporaries give readers the poet’s own insights into a host of literary giants … For anyone interested in early 20th-century literary and artistic movements, Bernheimer’s translation is a worthy event."

Northwest Review of Books

"Lost Profiles offers witty and unexpurgated views of a daring era in the Arts when the world became shatteringly altered. These are the memories shared some forty odd years later by one actively involved with multiple fellow players in various scenes of the time. It's a delightful, thought-provoking read that will have those who are already familiar with the material returning to favorite books, while those who are unfamiliar will be busy becoming acquainted with marvelous characters from a key period in world literary history. Even more importantly, Lost Profiles signals a necessary reminder of how much joy there is to be found in discovering terrific, epochal texts freshly translated."––Patrick Dunagan

"My Strange Friend Marcel Proust"
Oct 26, 2016

An excerpt from Lost Profiles appears in The Paris Review online.

- Philippe Soupault