In December 1906 l'Abbaye de Créteil was formed and lasted until January 1908. Inspired by Rabelais's Abbaye de Thélème, it was intended as a kind of non-religious artistic commune, an escape from the commercialisation of the mind, from the slavery to which artistic people were subjected, printing its own works and leading a 'natural' life.
It wouldn't have been possible without the writer Charles Vildrac, who was strongly supported by his friend the poet Georges Duhamel. They found a rundown mansion – belonging to the automobile manufacturer Barriquand – for rent in Créteil and the poets René Arcos and (slightly later) Alexandre Mercereau, the painters Albert Gleizes and Henri Doucet, the printer Lucien Linard, and others, took part in the (very short-lived) experiment. The poet Henri-Martin Barzun was the patron. Thirty years after the event, Georges Duhamel gave a fictional representation of l'Abbaye Créteil in his novel Le Désert de Bièvres.
Perhaps surprisingly, the real press managed (painstakingly, with a pedal machine) to produce about twenty books. This one is highly readable.
L'Abbaye de Créteil, Val-de-Marne
L'Abbaye (1906–1908) [Video]