May 27, 2011

Le Voeu d'une morte : an Emile Zola's novel wrote in his youth

Zola in 1865
In 1899 Emile Zola agreed to reprint with his usual publisher Charpentier an early work, Le Voeu d'une morte (The Vow of a dead woman). First released in serial in Le Figaro Villemessant in September 1866, this novel was published for the first time, the same year, by Achille Faure. The plot moves forward on a misunderstanding : Daniel Raimbault receives from his dying benefactress, Blanche de Rionne, the task to watch over the daughter of the latter, Jeanne. She becomes an adult, gets married. Then widow, Jeanne receives anonymous and passionate letters secretly sent by Daniel. Jeanne believes the letters are from a mutual friend, George (you can read the entire novel in french here). Success is not at the rendezvous. It must be said that this was a commissioned work that the author accepted just to do some cash. He wrote in 1889 about the reprint by Charpentier :
I decided to make it public, not for its merit, certainly, but for the interesting comparison the literature wonderers may be tempted to do one day, between these first few pages and those that I wrote later. 
To the novel, Zola added an appendix of four short-stories, Esquisses parisiennes (Parisian sketches). The amusing "Les Repoussoirs" recounts the adventures of Durandeau a owner-manager whose business is to trade ugliness. Thus, he provides, for a walk, services of foils whom, by contrast, enhances the client's physical (full text, in french, here).

Currently, the librairie Loliée offers :
  • Le Vœu d’une morte. Paris, Achille Faure, 1866, in-12, binding by Champs. First edition, no deluxe paper [Carteret, II, 490].
  •  Le Vœu d’une morte. Paris, Charpentier, 1889, in-12, vellum binding from that time. Second edition. One of the 100 copies on Holland paper, only deluxe paper. Ex-libris : Alidor Delzant, executor of  the Goncourt brothers.  

May 19, 2011

Claude Cahun : distance and metamorphosis

Claude Cahun, born Lucie Schowb (1894-1954) was an artist and photograph developing a queer approach. Friend with the Surrealists, she worked on numerous photomontages but was less known for her photographic self-portraits in which she developed an androgynous representation of the female body. 
Without a doubt, it is her self-portraits that have aroused the greatest interest among theoreticians of contemporary culture. Here the artist uses her own image to expose, one by one, the clichés of feminine and masculine identity. Claude Cahun (née Lucy Renée Mathilde Schwob) reinvented herself through photography (just as she did in her writing), posing for the lens with an acute sense of “performance,” whether dressed as a woman or as a man, with her hair short, long or shaven (which was extremely incongruous for women at this time). However, to speak of identity is also to speak, indirectly, of the body, and by the same token of the self-image that one projects and that becomes social as soon as it is shared. Unlike other artists – mainly men – who made portraits but never or very rarely exposed their own person to the lens (Man Ray, Hans Bellmer, André Kertész), Claude Cahun was at once the object and the subject of her artistic experiments. This is borne out by the care with which she chose her poses and expressions, the backgrounds she used (fabric, bedspreads, sheets, hangings), and her use of specific props (masks, capes, overgarments, glass balls, etc.) – even if the real focus of the image was still the face.
- in press pack of the exhibition  at the Jeu de Paume from 24  may to 25 september 2011.

En 1992, François Leperlier published a bibliographic essay named  "Distance and metamorphosis". Three heliographic and aquatinted engravings  go with  the 66 first copies of this first edition, and one can see the  enigmatic and poetic nature of the artist : 

Currently, the librairie Loliée offers : 
  • Leperlier (François). Claude Cahun. L'Ecart et la métomorphose. Essai. Paris, Jean-Michel Place, 1992, in-8, illustrated covers. First edition. Limited to 2000 copies, one of the 66 first with 3 heliographic and aquatinted engravings.

May 12, 2011

When Eugène Dabit describes the false bourgeoisie

India Ink drawing
Eugène Dabit (1898-1936) is best known for his novel Hotel du Nord, published in 1929 and immortalized in the 1938 film  by Marcel Carné. Autodidact, Dabit befriended writers of the time, GionoMartin du Gard and Gide. He shares with Céline, met in 1933, the experience of misery, the one of the 1914  trenches, the one of suburbs. The work of this proletarian writer is sometimes populist, also tinted with a naturalistic despair. Villa Oasis ou les faux bourgeois, published in 1932, presents the story of Helen, a woman who moves in with her mother that she does not known. The mother lives with a former worker who became a wealthy hotelier. Dabit portrays these "new rich", their hopes and their downfall.

handwritten page
Currently, the librairie loliée offers : 

  • DABIT (Eugène). Villa Oasis ou les faux bourgeois. Paris, N.R.F., 1932, in-8, Bradel Brael binding, original covers (Asper, Genève). First edition. Limited to 331 copies, one of the 109 printed in-4 tellière on Lafuma-Navarre paper. Copy with a dedication, a India Ink drawing and a handwritten page.

May 05, 2011

Vrille : Taking a surrealistic pulse after the Second World War

Surrealist magazine published at the end of World War II, Vrille is a only one number revue. As explained in the introduction "alibi", the purpose of this magazine, directed by Evrard de Rouvre (heir to a vast fortune built on the sugar industry, who became a film producer before being assassinated in 1979 by his valet), is to collect "texts, illustrations little-known from a public asleep by the grayish fog of a propaganda that clung to dimonstrate the emptiness of efforts of humans who, during the inter-two wars, tried to open art to wonderful horizons. But Vrille was especially attached to revive a tradition, over these four years of darkness, presenting texts as young witnesses of an overwhelming era, witnesses of the hope of whom who found in Surrealism the strength to contribute to the reconstruction of modern thought. "

One can find in the magazine, illustrated with many reproductions, the work of great figures of Surrealism including Oscar Dominguez who signed the illustrated cover. Among the texts, there is beautiful collection of Robert Desnos "Notes Calixto," in which the author discusses the literary influences in Surrealism, the importance of Mallarmé's work, gives us his thoughts on poetry :
Poetry gets landed with words and can not do otherwise. It also adopts sometimes (not poetry, fake poets of course) a cowardly attitude before the biggest questions : happiness, men future, the nature of being. Poetry is more often conciliation than resolution. Is it not possible to renew the links between poetry and science? 

Currently, the librairie offers  : 
  • [REVUE]. Vrille. La Peinture et la littérature libres. Mantes, s.é., 1945, in-4, illustrated cover by O. Dominguez.  First edition. Texts de G. Bataille, E. de Rouvre, R. Desnos, G. Hugnet, H. Michaux etc. Illustrations by O. Dominguez,  M. Ernst, P. Picasso, Dali...