Marianne Enckell writes from CIRA:
"I was a little bit surprised to see the article on Clément Duval in the last issue of your Bulletin. It is inspired from a relatively old Italian article which itself improvised around the Italian translation of the Mémoires. Since then I published in French most of Duval's original text, having received it from the late Max Sartin who himself inherited it from Galleani, and I checked the sources and the information. I guess the true story is even better than the novelised one… A few comments on your article:
* Duval was never jailed on Devil's Island, only "traitors" (like Captain Dreyfus) were sent there; the life on the other islands (Royale, Saint- Joseph) was hard enough.
* The portrait had nothing to do with Duval, either young or old.
* His life was not turned into the bestseller Papillon. Papillon (Henri Charrière) spent several years as a convict in French Guyana, but in his memoirs he steals several anecdotes from other prisoners, from the legends, etc. But he describes himself as a faithful help for the authorities, the exact contrary of Duval who refused to work for the wardens and never spoke a word.
* The revolt on the island of Saint-Joseph happened in 1894, not 1895, and Duval did not directly take part in its preparation. He writes the names of his comrades and of the victims as he had heard them, unfortunately they are almost all misspelled. Honour the martyrs: Garnier, Boasi, Simon (aka Biscuit), Léauthier, Lebeau, Mazarguil, Thiervoz, Chevenet, Meyrueis and Marpaux."
We apologise to all our readers for our mistakes, and would like to thank CIRA for pointing them out. If anyone comes across either French or Italian versions of Duval's memoirs, we would be glad to receive a copy.