Malcolm de Chazal was a Mauritian writer, painter, and visionary, known especially for his Sens-Plastique, a work consisting of several thousand aphorisms and pensées.
Chazal was born in Vacoas of a French family long established in Mauritius and wrote all his works in French. Except for six years at Louisiana State University, where he received an engineering degree, he spent most of his time in Mauritius where he worked as an agronomist on sugar plantations and later for the Office of Telecommunications.
In 1940 he began to publish in Mauritius a series of volumes consisting of hundreds of numbered thoughts and ideas entitled Pensées. In 1945, a seventh volume of Pensées, bound with another collection of unnumbered aphorisms entitled Sens-Plastique appeared, and two years later a separate Sens-Plastique, Volume II, appeared. It was this latter volume on which the Gallimard edition of 1948 was based that brought Chazal into prominence in France.He was hailed as a surrealist by André Breton. The following examples may illustrate the novelty and variety of Sens-Plastique.
In the prefaces and afterwords of the various editions of Sens-Plastique Chazal explained his method of thinking and writing as follows.