You’ve announced thirty-three forthcoming books. Why thirty-three?
The list of thirty-three books that I’ve been announcing for forty years is not exclusive, restrictive, or prohibitive; the number thirty-three is the key figure of activity, of life. So this is not at all in ink. If might be an index, but it is not The Index. It doesn’t include the titles of novels which I will never write—the other day I was surprised to discover that La Main coupée, which I published in 1946, had been on this list since 1919. I had completely forgotten that! On the list are books that I will take up again and that will appear in the future. Also listed are the ten volumes of Notre pain quotidien, which are written but that I left in various strongboxes in South American banks and which, God willing, will be found by chance some day—the papers aren’t signed, and are left under a false name. I’ve also listed a group of poems that I value more than my eyes but that I haven’t decided to publish—not by timidity or pride, but for love. And then, there are the books that were written, ready for publication, but which I burned to the great detriment of my publishers: for example, “La vie et la mort du soldat inconnu” (five volumes). Finally, there are the bastards, the larvae, and the abortions which I will probably never write.
—from Blaise Cendrars’s 1966 Paris Review interview