Literature


Poetry and Fiction written within early avant-garde communities .
 
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Pierre Albert-Birot, Memoires d’Adam. 1943. First Limited Ed. of 200 copies. Éditions Balzac: Paris. Sextodecimo paperback, 171 pp.



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Théodore de Banville, Odes Funambulesques. (Tightrope-Walking Odes) 1859. 2nd Edition. Michel Levy Frères, Paris. Sextodecimo, 297 pp. Stamp of "Reunion des officiers de Marseille." Text corrections and marginalia by previous 19th Century owner, so far unidentified. First Edition was published in 1857.



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Banville was a central node of the second-generation Avant-Garde network, the Parnassians in particular. He was a close friend of Gautier, Nerval, and other older Romanticists, as well as his own younger generation including Baudelaire, Nadar, Mallarmé, Mendés, and many others, especially the Romanticist historians/archivists Champfleury and Charles Asselineau. Along with the latter two, he was at the forefront of the community's historiographic efforts, as this book shows. At first published anonymously, it is a collection of satirical verses about the avant-garde community, and thus a glimpse into the kind of debate that today is often played out in facebook comments; the poems range from light-hearted raillery to savage criticism to drily introspective observations on the trajectory of progressive culture. 
 
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Auguste Barbier, Iambes et Poèmes. 1841. 4th Ed. Paul Masgana, Paris. Sextodecimo, 287 pp. Leather spine, skin scraped from boards.

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Roger de Beauvoir, Le Chavalier de Saint-Georges. 1840. 2nd Ed.. Bibliothèque Choisie, H.-L. Delloye, Paris. Four Volumes: Sextodecimo, 780 pp.
 

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The Bohemian-Dandy Roger de Beauvoir was a co-founder of the Bohême Doyenné group, along with several ex-Bouzingos such as Théophile Gautier, Louis Boulanger, the Devéria brothers, Nerval, and others (see elsewhere in archive); as part of this group he was instrumental in bringing about the fusion of Dandyism and Romanticism which would soon be explored by Baudelaire, Verlaine, and others. He probably wrote this biographical novel while living in the group’s Romanticist haven in the Rue Doyenné, after which they were named. The book is based on the life of the mulatto musician and soldier known as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges. The son of a colonial landlord and a slave, Saint-Georges rose to become a favourite court composer for the French royal family and was known as the ‘black Mozart’; at the time of the Revolution, he organised and led a regiment of black troops in the Revolutionary Army (in which the father of Beauvoir’s friend Alexandre Dumas had served). Due to his history with the royal family he was persecuted by the Jacobin government on trumped-up corruption charges, narrowly escaped the guillotine, and ended his life destitute and forgotten. Beauvoir’s preface contained an outspoken attack not only on the institution of slavery itself, but on the European colonialization of the Americas generally, remarking that:
“In 1492, Christopher Columbus conquered the New World. Before 1592, the greater part of the primitive population of the New World is exterminated by the whites. By 1692, the whites think to transport the blacks to the very country whose population they have exterminated. Louis XIV publishes the Code of the Blacks. This race is assimilated to beasts of burden, the jews themselves are less oppressed. Therefore it is posited that the black or coloured man is deprived of the gift of intelligence.” 
Though in fictionalised form, this was the first book ever written on Saint-George and Beauvoir did a great deal of original research, including interviews with people who had known him, laying the groundwork for further study of Saint-George. The same year as this corrected second edition was printed, he also mounted a one-act play based on the Chevalier’s life.

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Georges Berry, Louis XIV & Molière: A propos en vers. 1880. Sole Edition. Tresse, Paris. Copy owned by Avant-Garde historian, archivist & writer Jules Claretie (see "Historiography"). Inscribed by author: "A Jules Claretie / Bien faite [?] Hommage à l'auteur / G. Berry". Light marginalia by Claretie, p. 6. Pamphlet, later hard-bound, probably by subsequent owner.

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Aloysius Bertrand, Gaspard de la nuit (Treasurer of Night or Caspar/Magus of the night or Night Rat). 1957. No. 483 of Edition of 12,000 copies. Le Club français du Livre: Paris. 237 pp. Cloth-bound Hardcover Octavo.


 
Aloysius [Louis] Bertrand was one of the most experimental writers of the first-generation avant-garde, and was frequently cited as a precursor by Baudelaire, the Symbolists, and the Surrealists. Bertrand is often credited as the (paradoxically) unacknowledged inventor of the prose-poem; in fact discussions and experiments regarding the form had been going on since the late 18th Century, but in this book Bertrand systematically developed it to its full potential, and in his Preface to Paris Spleen Baudelaire states that Gaspar de la nuit was the inspiration and guiding model of his own collection of prose poems. Bertrand's work, like Nerval's, often seems to envelop a second discourse within it regarding his activity with occult, alchemical, and mystical research and practice. 

Bertrand's collection was set for publication in 1833, but stalled for years, due probably to lack of funding. During the entire course of its composition he was slowly dying of tuberculosis, and when the book finally appeared, it was a year after his death in a Paris pauper's hospital in which he had taken refuge without informing his friends; only by chance did the Romanticist sculptor David d'Angers stumble upon him there a few weeks before his death. The book finally appeared, in a very small run, the following year. It was reprinted intermittently over the course of the following century, but always by small underground presses in very small editions. By the time this edition was published, Bertrand's work was finally becoming available in France.

Like many Frenetic Romantics, Bertrand was deeply involved with philology and linguistics, as reflected in the title; 'Gaspard' is an extremely rare and archaic word with several possible meanings, ranging from the name of one of the Three Magi to slang for 'rat'.

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Ambrose Bierce, Tales of Soldiers and Civilians. 1891. 1st Edition, Privately Printed. E.L.G. Steele, San Francisco. Inscribed by M.J. Sanders, Bookplate of Tully M. Sanders, with 2 Newspaper Clippings.


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Bierce inherited the Gothic tradition as re-imagined by Poe, married it to savage satire and a naturalist voice, and in this collection of stories presented one of the very first sustained efforts at anti-war literature, articulated through supernatural horror. He was in turn one of the major influences on Chambers (see book below), Lovecraft, and Weird Fiction generally, in which his city of Carcossa, the fictional god Hali, and others have entered the Cthulic pantheon.

This copy was kept with clipping from St. Paul Pioneer Press (no date) regarding new information regarding Bierce's disappearance in Mexico and probable execution or murder by Pancho Villa, and a second clipping (unidentified source shortly before to outbreak of World War II) of essay on Bierce by H.L. Mencken.

Tully Sanders was the uncle of the Evolutionary researcher and utopian theorist David Loye, who has written extensively on Tully and the rest of is family in the book-length memoir Brave Laughter. Sanders, it is clear, appreciated Bierce fully, and treasured this first edition, which was privately financed by a patron after the book was refused by all the publishing houses in America (it had been published in the UK a year previously under the title
Can Such Things Be?)
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Ambrose Bierce, In the Midst of Life: Tales of Soldiers and Civilians. 1892. Bernhard Tauchnitz, Leipzig. Collection of British Authors, Tauchnitz Edition, Vol. 2814.  Inscribed in pen: "Joe. Lorraiur[?]. / NY City." Inscribed in pencil in different hand: "This collection of [Liour???] are the most powerful ever penned by man / L.L." With light marginalia in pencil by previous owner (p 132).





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Pétrus Borel, Rapsodies. 1884. Bibliotheque Galante, Aug. Brancart ed., Brussels. Limited Ed. of 250. Reprint of 1832 ed.

 
Petrus Borel was a co-founder and leader of the Jeunes-France / Bouzingo group, a key theorist of the first-generation avant-garde, one of the most prominent and politically outspoken Romanticist organizers and agitators of his generation, and the standard-bearer for the revolutionary-gothic subculture known as Frenetic Romanticism. Despite--or perhaps because of--all this, his presence even within the avant-garde has been almost occult since his death, only a few years after the beginning of the Third Empire, under which any public celebration of this flamboyantly transgressive figure would have been politically dangerous--and indeed his memory was kept alive during this time primarily among Leftist-Romanticist communities (the first biography of Borel was written by Jules Claretie, a historian of revolutionary movements and a member of the Paris Commune (see below). Nonetheless, Borel has been read by and exercised a strong influence upon a small but active element of the avant-garde ever since, including Baudelaire, Lautréamont, Claretie, Jarry, Tzara, and Breton; there seems to have been about one edition of Rhapsodies, his only book of poems, published per generation, usually in runs of around 300. The poems intertwine Byronic misanthropy, political protests, esoteric intertextuality with themes of werewolves, vampires, and murderers with a sardonic and grim humor. Nearly every poem in the book is dedicated to, or headed by epigraphs of, Borel's Romanticist friends and comrades. This book is one of 250 printed in 1884 (the same year as Huysmans' a Rebours (see below)) for the French Decadent community. Due to its liberal censorship laws, Belgium had been the centre of Libertine, Decadent, erotic, and politically radical publishing since the eighteenth century, and it is not surprising to see the book published in Brussels, which was at that time one of the largest and most active avant-garde communities in Europe.

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Joseph Bouchardy, Paris le Bohémien: Drame en cinq actes (Paris the Bohemian: Drama in Five Acts) 1842. Sole Edition. Théatre de la Porte Saint-Martin & Dondey-Dupré: Paris. Softcover Octavo, 36 pp.


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Though virtually forgotten today, Joseph Bouchardy was a co-founder of the Bouzingo group, the first self-declared “avant-garde” collective, blending political radicalism, gothic-horror subculture, experimental literature and art, and the transformation of everyday life. Trained in England as an engraver, back in France he soon turned to playwriting, and produced many blockbuster melodramas full of deception, disguise, double-crossing, violence, and convoluted, labyrinthine plots often taking place in labyrinthine settings--delighted when he was able to construct plots so complex that he even lost track of them himself. Paris the Bohemian is such a play. The first performance, as noted at the head of this paperback script, starred Fréderick Lemaître, the leading Romanticist actor, in the starring role. Incidentally, the chapbook is published by Dondey-Dupré, the extended family of Bouchardy's Bouzingo collaborator Philothée O'Neddy--though this has more to do with the sponsorship of the Théatre de la Porte Saint-Martin than with O'Neddy, for they were not sympathetic to the Romanticist cause.
 
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Alphonse Brot & Saint-Véran, Le Déesse Raison (The Goddess Reason). 1880. Dentu: Paris.  Sextodecimo, softcover, 369 pp. Bookplate of Lucien Puteaux (aka Victor Perceval).

 
Alphonse Brot is among the most enigmatic members of the Bouzingo group. He is the earliest person to go on record as self-identifying as a member of "l'avant-garde," in his 'Preface to Song of Love and Other Poems,' published in 1829. Yet he explicitly bases this solidarity on the avant-garde's leftist political commitments; he was particularly close to O'Neddy and to Franz Lizst, both at the time keenly interested in Saint-Simonism and other proto-Socialist moveents, along with others in underground Romanticism. But formally, he advocates for a middle-ground or synthesis between Romanticism and Classicism, and his close friend O'Neddy later remarked that the group felt he lacked commitment to the Romanticist cause.

After the dissolution of the Bouzingo, his path seems to have drifted away from the avant-garde (at least in its Romanticist form). He appears to have ceased writing poetry, and devoted himself to novels and plays, which sold successfully for the next sixty years; for two years he was co-director of the Théâtre Ambigu-Comique, which specialised in popular melodrama for the lower classes. Despite his popularity at the time, he seems not to have been read at all from within a few years of his death. In the avant-garde, too, his name disappears from the discourse entirely after 1833, with the single exception of the O'Neddy letter referred/linked to above.

But despite this apparent apostasy, continuities seem to exist. On the one hand, many of his popular novels and melodramas seem to continue the gothic-Romanticist tradition of exaggerated violence, passion, and transgression; several of his titles, moreover, suggest themes related to revolution and resistance to tyranny (cf. Pray For Them, Karl Sand (a leftist German poet-martyr), and possibly this volume, which takes place during the French Revolution. On the other hand, enticingly, when in 1866 a group of avant-garde poets advocated for a new, experimental synthesis between Classicism and Romanticism, they designated themselves by a name that Brot used, in the very same paragraph, as a synomym for what he called the "avant-garde": the Parnasse Contemporain (Contemporary Parnassus).

I can find no other trace of his collaborator on this novel of the French Revolution, Saint-Véran. The book is published by Dentu (who also published other popular Romantics such as George Sand and ex-Bouzingo Auguste Macquet).

The previous owner of the book, Lucien Puteaux, was probably behind the pseudonym Victor Perceval, who seems to have published volumes of historical-fiction erotica around this time. In any case Puteaux was directly involved in the avant-garde; he was close to Alexandre Dumas and to the Realist 'Batignolles Group' of caricaturists who laid the groundwork for Impressionism; so his ownership of this book suggests at least some remnant of currency for Brot in the late-century avant-garde. The Revenant Archive also contains another book owned by Puteaux, Les Grotesques by Brot's fellow Bouzingo-cofounder Théophile Gautier (see below).




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Byron, The Bride of Abydos & The Corsaire. 1814. Moses Thomas, Philadelphia and Eastburn, & Co., New York. Inscribed w/light marginalia by Laura Woolsey (19th Century) & "Merry Christmas / -1981- / Uncle Walter".



The impact of George Gordon, Lord Byron's influence on European Romanticism generally cannot be overstated, but his significance for the radical elements within French Romanticism was unique. In his fusion of Gothic horror with experimental poetry, in his merging of art and life in his dramatic and dark self-presentation, in his convergence of Liberal politics with Libertinism, and in his mixture of irony with melancholy and misanthropy, he served as the key model of Frenetic Romanticism. Byron, like Hugo after him, was able to straddle the intellectual and popular worlds, and was among the most famous men in the West. This book (numbered Vol. III of a collection of his work) seems to be composed of signatures from two separate volumes, published by different publishers in different cities, bound together--not an unknown practice in the 19th Century. The Bride of Abydos is a tale of incest and murder in the near East, in an experimental 'organic' verse form; The Corsaire is one of the poems that did most to establish the brooding, misanthropic 'Byronic Hero' which would become a defining myth in avant-garde subculture through most of the 19th Century.

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Lewis Carroll w/John Tenniel, Alice in Wonderland. 1871. Lee & Shepard, Publishers, Boston. First edition was 1865.


Not a representative of the avant-garde per se, but a landmark in the development of the vernacular tradition of Nonsense literature exemplified by Lear. Carroll unquestionably represented one of the most culturally pervasive questionings of society's relationship with language and knowledge, which within a generation was experienced early in the formation of children's approaches to the world; and was an acknowledged influence in the avant-garde at least by of the end of the century. Tenniel, who created the iconic illustrations to the book, was a satirist regularly published in Punch. This copy has certainly spent time in some kids' rooms over the last 140 years, but for all that is in pretty good shape.

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Robert W. Chambers, The Maids of Paradise. 1903. 1st Edition. Harper & Brothers, New York.


After training as a painter in Paris during the height of the Decadent movement, Chambers returned to America and wrote the cycle of horror stories revolving around the mysterious Yellow Sign, and a banned Decadent-Symbolist play, The King in Yellow, which communicates a very peculiar form of Madness in anybody who reads past the first act. Incorporating elements of Bierce's fantastic cities and figures (see above) into his own corpus, Chambers developed the developed the seed of the intertextual mythos of Weird Fiction that would be brought to maturity by Lovecraft a generation later. After two collections of horror, Chambers became seduced by mainstream success, and spent the rest of his life writing best-selling adventure, comic, and domestic novels. This book is one of those: a semi-fictional (or so Chambers claims in the premise) spy story set during the Franco-Prussian War. It is illustrated by an uncredited an unremarkable draftsman. As it happens, this is published by Harper & Brothers, the same press which put out the 1846 edition of Eugéne Sue's Wandering Jew (see Book below) and Merill's Pastels in Prose (see "Anthologies") in 1890; certain of his tales and cycles of prose-poems bear the strong influence of symbolist prose-poems such as those translated in the latter. This copy, in remarkably good condition, cost $3 at the library book sale in Charlottesville, VA.
 
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Champfleury, M. Tringle. Illustrated by Lèonce Petit. 1868. Librarie de L. Hachette, Paris.


 
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Paul Fort, Ballades Françaises: Hélène en fleur et Charlemagne. 2nd Ed. (1921) Mercure de France: Paris. Softcover, 281 pp. Inscribed by Fort, "à mon cher / Alfred Vallette / affecteusement / Paul Fort" ("To my dear / Alfred Vallette / affectionately / Paul Fort")
 


This inscribed copy links two writers important to the history of Symbolism and Pataphysics. The dandyist writer Paul Fort was a key figure in the French avant-garde for over fifty years, and served as an important link between the Symbolist generation and that of the young Cubist and proto-Dada writers. For instance, he regularly played billiards with Apollinaire and Jarry, and in fact the commotion of a bar fight started by Jarry and involving a pistol with a blank cartridge had precipitated Fort's wife into early labour. At only 17 years old, Fort had founded the first independent Symbolist theatre company, known as the Théâtre d'Art. He left the group two years later, when it became the Théâtre de l'Oeuvre and went on to produce Jarry's Ubu Roi. He later edited the Symbolist journal Vers et Prose, and publish many volumes of verse. His daughter was married to the Futurist painter Gino Severini.

The publisher Alfred Vallette was the editor of the Mercure de France, which began as a small avant-garde Symbolist journal and grew into one of the most important cultural reviews in France. (The Revenant Archive owns a copy of the journal, see "Periodicals" tab.) His wife, Rachilde, was a notorious Decadent novelist--rebellious in her day but later reactionary ultra-Nationalist; four years after her husband received this copy from Fort, she was the target of an intervention by Surrealist group at an avant-garde banquet for the Symbolist Saint-Pol-Roux, a mutual friend, which ended in a food fight and police raid. In the 1890s however, the couple had been roommates with Alfred Jarry and Pierre Quillard at the home they called 'The Phalanstry' in homage to the Utopian Socialist Charles Fourier. The connections ranged far and wide indeed–Vallette and Rachilde's daughter was even married to Fort's nephew.
 
Since Vallette, as the publisher of Fort's book of long-form prose poetry, had ample access to copies of it, this inscribed copy is primarily the relic of a gesture to reinforce and re-inscribe the dense network of relationships between them as writers, publishers, organisers, and friends. It also appears to have been Valette's copy for a later re-reading however; it is cut up to page 156, the title page of the title poem, which is dog-eared, after which it remains uncut.

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Théophile Gautier, La Comédie de la mort (The Comedy of Death). 1838. First Edition. Desessart, Paris. With text corrections, marginalia, & collaged illustrations from at least three previous owners.

   


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This fascinating first-edition copy of one of the final masterpieces of Frenetic Romanticism is one of the most extreme examples in the archive of the trans-generational approach to avant-garde culture from which the Revenant Archive grows, and offers important insight into how reading practices within the avant-garde evolved from 1838 into the Surrealist epoch.

The book and its author played a foundational role in the avant-garde, and though those roles have been almost utterly forgotten within the community today (see the Introduction to the collection of his Collected Works) this copy bears the physical traces of the various ways in which successive generations of avant-garde readers have engaged with his work and legacy, from his own peers into the Surrealist epoch. We can trace at least three distinct readers previous to its arrival in this library:

Reader #1: Probably book's first owner:


The book's first owner was most likely responsible for the carefully-inscribed notes in light pencil to the table of contents in the back of the volume. These notes indicate the poems' subjects and/or first lines, and many reflect the emphasis placed in Romanticist subculture on the social and contextual references in creative work. The owner has also added tick-marks next to his or her favourite pieces, and occasionally corrected lines in the text body--which implies personal knowledge of manuscript or other published versions.
 
Reader #2: Mid-late 19th Century poet.

A later owner was evidently a poet, as evidenced by several lines scattered through the text which have been marked in pen to examine Gautier's technique within the Alexandrine lines; single words appear a couple times as well, again in pen and possible by the same hand; neither is legible, however. These offer evidence of the predominant aspect of Gautier's influence on the two or three generations (the Parnassians, Decadents and Symbolists) that followed him: the intricate orchestration in his work of sound, rhythm, and distorted syntax.


 
 
Above and below, dividing marks have been added to analyze the metric structure of poetic lines.





Reader #3: c. 1935-70, probably Czech or Serbian Surrealist.

The book was purchased from a dealer in Belgrade, who could not recall where they had acquired it (though one would think it would have left an impression-!). They were selling a number of books and journals relating to the Serbian and Czech Surrealist groups at the same time--evidently from the same collection--and so it seems likely that it was somebody associated with Eastern European Surrealism who collaged their own illustrations into the book. The source materials in the collage range from some roughly contemporary with the book's initial publication, up to images apparently printed between the 1930s and '60s. The illustrations respond to the texts and enter into conversation with them, and often take the form of tableaux-headers and decorations framing the titles, recalling  Nanteuil's Romanticist illuminations.





 
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Théophile Gautier, La Comédie de la mort (The Comedy of Death). 1838. Pirate Edition. E. Laurent, Brussels. 
  


This small, poorly-printed and irregularly cut paperback was printed the year of the first edition, and is probably a pirate edition. Belgium was notoriously the centre of francophone pirate publishing throughout the 19th Century. Three years after this volume was printed, in the archive's 1841 issue of Les Guêpes (see "Journals"), Gautier's closest friend Nerval reported to Alphonse Karr concerning pirate editions of that magazine being openly marketed in Belgium.
  
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Théophile Gautier, Mlle. de Maupin. 1854. Charpentier, Paris. First Edition was 1835.

Gautier's first full-length novel, a complex text addressing issues of gender (largely exploring questions posed by his fellow Romanticist George Sand (see below), sensuality, and the erotic through the lens of his conception of a Cult of Art. The Preface to the book (written in 1834, the same year as Gautier's contributions to the Annales Romantiques (see above) argued this theory in comprehensive form, articulating a transition from the utopian politics of the Jeunes-France to the more hermetic model he was to promote for the rest of his life.
 
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Théophile Gautier, La Capitaine Fracasse. 1864. Second Edition. Charpentier, Paris. Vol. I of 2.

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Théophile Gautier, Romans et Contes (Novels and Tales). 1870. Charpentier, Paris. Sextodecimo, 459 pp. Rebound late 19th/early 20th Century, cover detached. Inscribed by E.W. Huckel, 1908 & C.K. Moses, Dec. 1930 & [???] Lippencott? (effaced), November 1911

When a previous owner of this copy, E.W. Huckel, bought this used copy, he was currently a student of F.C. Sumichrast in French Literature at Harvard. Sumichrast had translated the 20-odd volume collected works of Gautier (see below)) 8 years earlier. Huckel annotated his copy and wrote a few short critical appraisals in the open spaces in the book, providing rare evidence of how Gautier was being interpreted and taught by his primary proponent in mainstream English literature (his main avant-garde proponents being the Vorticists).
     Huckle served on the editorial board of the Harvard Advocate, then the Harvard Monthly, where he contributed various kinds of writing; Sumichrast even reviewed an essay and a poem by Huckle in the Monthly that very year. Later in life, Huckle served as an aide in the graphic arts division at the National Museum, then was ordained and went on to teach at the Philadelphia divinity school (making him an unlikely reader of Gautier). Late in life he became a member of the Rudyard Kipling society, of all things.
     Among other pieces, the book includes an essay in which Gautier describes smoking opium with the Romanticist writer Alphonse Karr (see "Periodicals") and Alphonse Esquiros, novelist, occultist and feminist-socialist activist, who was a member of the Evadamiste group and friend of Eliphas Lévi & Flora Tristan.
   
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Théophile Gautier, Les Jeunes-France: romans goguenards (The Jeunes-France: Mocking Novels). 1885. Charpentier, Paris.  

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Remy de Gourmont, A Night in the Luxumbourg. 1926. Trans.  Arthur Ransome. Modern Library, New York.
 
Remy de Gourmont was one of the key figures of the 19th Century avant-garde, who—like Gautier, Borel, Claretie, and others—has been almost eliminated from anglophone consciousness, for inexplicable reasons. Gourmont was, along with Mallarmé, the most influential theorist of the avant-garde of the second half of the 19th Century, weaving together metaphysics, cutting-edge scientific research, history and historiography, theology, linguistics, libertinism, aesthetics, social theory and anthropology into a syncretic atheism that looked forward to the thought of Batailles, Derrida, and Kristeva. He was the mentor of Alfred Jarry and many of the other Decadents and Symbolists. Compiler of the key Decadent anthology The Book of Masks and publisher of several Symbolist journals, he co-edited with Jarry a journal dedicated to exploring the relationships of Symbolist painting to Medieval artwork and iconography. He was an influential novelist, both in his fictionalised memoirs of the avant-garde and in his large corpus avant-garde erotica, in which sensuality, metaphysics, and atheist mysticism weave together. A Night in the Luxumbourg is an iconoclastic Symbolist hybrid of mystical treatise, novel, prose-poem, and sociological critique.
 
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Remy de Gourmont, A Virgin Heart. 1927. Trans. Aldous Huxley. Modern Library, New York. Original publication was 1907.

Interested in every aspect of sexuality, Gourmont here explores the sensuality of virginity and adolescence. One result of this theme is that the novel was one of the few Decadent texts not subject to censorship laws prohibiting sale on the open market; this edition was printed in large numbers by the respectable Modern Library.

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Remy de Gourmont, Colors. 1931. Trans. Isaac Goldberg. Privately Printed by the Panurge Press, New York. No. 927 of 1,000 copies. Tooled Hardcover Octavo. Original French publication was 1908.

 
 
For the last decades of his life, Gourmont was afflicted with a disfiguring skin disease and lived a hermetic life, rarely seeing anyone but his life-long lover, the avant-garde occultist Berthe Courrière. He produced a large and varied corpus of some of the most intellectually complex, metaphysically infused, textually dense erotica ever written. The range of this writing was great—from stories of incubi, succubi, and sensual ghosts and angels in the tradition of Gautier, to closely observed psychological descriptions of passing flirtations; from linguistically impenetrable prose-poems to simple and sympathetic slices of life; from sado-masochistic Satanism to subtle explorations of virginity. Colors collects a series of his less hallucinatory erotic short stories, each indirectly spun off from an association based in Symbolist theories of colour, perception, and psychology. Like most of Gourmont’s work translated in the years after his death, this was subject to strict censorship laws in the US, and was thus printed as a private edition by the underground Panurge Press,—named after Rabelais’ paragon of Libertines (see ‘Influences’). The cover, in bright red hand-tooled leather, is one of which any Decadent and Symbolist would be proud.
 
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Remy de Gourmont, Epigrams. 1923. trans. Isaac Goldberg. Little Blue Book No. 444. Haldeman-Julius Company, Girard K.
  
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Emmanuel Gonzalés, Les Caravans de Scaramouche: fuivies de Giangurgolo & de maitre Ragueneau. Preface by Paul Lacroix (Bibliophile Jacob), Illust. by Henry Guérard. 1881. First Edition. E. Dentu, Paris.
  
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Sarah Grand, The Heavenly Twins. 1893. 1st Edition. The Cassell Publishing Co., New York.
 
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Thomas Hood, The Poetical Works of Thomas Hood. 1873. James Miller, Publisher, New York. 
 
Thomas Hood was one of the key representatives of politicised Romanticism after the deaths of Byron and Shelley, with whom he had worked, and among the strongest links between British and French Romanticism in the 1830s and '40s, when politicized currents in both countries were giving increasing attention to satire. Inspired by the French Romanticist satirical journal Charivari, whose core team included several ex-Bouzingos including Celestin Nanteuil (see below), Hood was a co-founder of the British satirical journal Punch (see entries below), subtitled 'The London Charivari'. Conversely, Hood was highly regarded in French avant-garde communities, and his influence is mentioned by Gautier (see above) and others. At the same time, Poe admired Hood as an innovator in lyric verse.
  
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Victor Hugo, Hernani. 1830. Laurent Frères: Brussels. Softcover 64-mo.



The production of Hugo's Hernani, a play that embodied the officially-proscribed Romanticist movement and incorporated anti-Monarchist codes, was the result of years of coordinated political maneuvering by members of the Romanticist community. Hugo collaborated with young leaders of the underground Romanticist subculture in Paris, including Gérard de Nerval, Petrus Borel, Achille Devéria, Célestin Nanteuil, and Hector Berlioz, to turn the performances into high-profile media sensations by meticulously planning with them a riot that would ensure that Romanticism grabbed the imaginations of people throughout France and beyond. Pitched struggles, often breaking into physical blows, charcterised almost every performance of the play's first run, and provided the catalyst and proving-ground from which a radicalised, extremist Romanticism emerged, calling itself several different names including Frenetic and Avant-Garde Romanticism.

The 'Battle of Hernani', as it was known, was both a seminal event in the evolving avant-garde and a major revolution in mainstream French culture, and official first editions (as well as second, third, and fourth) are virtually unobtainable. Not so this Belgian edition of the play, printed within months of the premier, which indicates the immediate and wide-ranging impact that the play and the conflicts surrounding it made throughout Europe. Belgium was the capital of pirate publishing throughout the 19th Century, and Laurent Frères went on to produce cheap editions of other Romanticist works, including the pirate edition of Gautier's Comédie de Mort held by the Revenant Archive (see above).

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Victor Hugo, Les Contemplations, Vol. I. of 2. 1856. Michel Lévy Frères, Paris. 1st Edition.  
 
 
Victor Hugo was a key strategist, inspiration, and the most visible standard-bearer of Romanticism during its take-over of the French cultural infrastructure during the 1830s. By the time of his death half a century later his influence had fundamentally infiltrated every facet of both intellectual and popular culture, an incalculable affect on Western society comparable in the twentieth century only to that of the Beatles. While Hugo developed and epitomised the mainstream Romanticism that the avant-garde in some ways set itself against, Hugo was key in developing a popular perception of creative activity as an ethical and intellectual praxis, which in turn made the activities of underground Romanticism comprehensible; both were born at the 'Battle of Hernani', in which Hugo was the chief strategist and the organisers of the avant-garde the tacticians and fighters; and the personal and ideological bonds between Hugo and the avant-garde community never disappeared. The Contemplations was compiled and assembled during Hugo's twenty-year self-imposed exile in opposition to the regime of Napoleon III; it was published in Paris since the government considered it more dangerous to censor Hugo than to allow his texts to circulate, given his tremendous celebrity. This volume contains poems written between Hernani in 1830 and 1843. Michel Lévy was at this time one of the most visible Romanticist publishers--not least due to his work with Hugo. In this archive, see his editions of George Sand, Théodore de Banville, and Auguste Maquet (below). 
 
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Victor Hugo, Hernani. 1891. Student’s edition w/English Introduction and Notes by John E. Matzke. D.C. Heath’s Modern Language Series, Boston.
 
In 1830, the first run of Hugo’s Hernani was characterized by near-riots every evening, a success de scandal that forced Romanticism into public consciousness and tipped the cultural scales in its favour. So successful was this coup d’etat that by 1891 the play was fully canonized, and being used for English students learning French. This students’ edition includes an introduction in English discussing the play’s innovations in prosody, and detailed grammatical and vocabulary notes in English.
 
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Joris-Karl Huysmans, A Rebours (Against the Grain / Against Nature). 1931. Introduction by Havelock Ellis, Illustrations by Arthus Zaidenberg. Illustrated Editions, New York.
   
 
A Rebours is, of course, the most well-known and comprehensive portrait of the Decadent community of the 1880s, the epitome of the orientation within the avant-garde begun by Gautier, Nerval, and the Bohême Doyenné/ Assassins' Club groups in the late 1830s and '40s. This edition is not from the 19th Century, but represents a step in the 30+ year struggle for Anglophone avant-gardists to get a complete, uncensored translation published (One translation of an Huysmans prose-poem does appear in Merrill's 1890 Pastels in Prose anthology, see "Anthologies"). This edition, which I have not definitively identified in the bibliographic record, may have been of dubious legality. It is introduced by Havelock Ellis, a psychologist and writer who was one of the first to write extensively and objectively about transgender issues and other transgressive sexual practices, and had a substantial influence on Freud. Interestingly, this beautifully scuffed-up American edition was discovered in the UK by Alan Reed.
 
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Frederic Gottlieb Klopstock, The Messiah. 1817. Translated by Frederic Shoberl & Illustrated by J. Cundee? First full English translation. Albion Press/J. and J. Cundee, London. Inscribed with hand-written essay from Catharine Drage[?] to Isaac Fovargue on his deathbed, May 9, 1817.
   


Klopstock was credited with reviving the Epic form, often called the 'German Milton' in the early 19th Century. His Messiah was a key text for European Romanticism generally--he was a major influence on the Athenäeum group, on  Goethe, Schiller, and the Sturm und Drang, and in particular for the Jeunes-France poets O'Neddy, Gautier, and Nerval. Cundee, the publisher, was an engraver (presumably responsible for the etchings illustrating this volume) and an influential editor of early illustrated and periodicals. 
      This copy presents a mystery: it seems to have been related in some way to the alcohol-related death of Isaac Fovargue the year of its publication, either as a gift to him within a few months of his death, or as a memorial after it. There are two inscriptions in the same hand:
1.) "1817 / Stonebridge Isaac Fovargue Died on Friday May 9th 1817 at ten minutes before 11 in the morning uncle to the above Catharine [Drage?] aged 49- buried on monday 12th at Thorney Cambridgeshire"
 

[The facing inscription is an essay/sermon on alcoholism, written first horizontally and then vertically over the already-written text--see photo posted above]
 
2.) "On Drunkennefs / O that men should put an enemy into their mouth to steal away their brains. All the crimes on earth do not destroy so many of the human race nor alienate so much property as drunkennefs If you wish to be always thirsty be a drunkard for the oftener and more you drink the oftener and more thirsty you will be if you seek to prevent your friends [???]ing you in the world be a drunkard for that will defeat all efforts if you are determined to be utterly destroyed in [estates?] body & soul be a drunkard & you will soon know that it's impofsible to adopt a more effectual means to accomplish your end Drunkenness [expels?] reason--drowns the memory defaces beauty diminishes strength"
[here the texts breaks and continues vertically:]
"inflames the blood causes internal external and [incurable?] wounds is a witch to the senses a devil to the soul a [thief?] to the purse the beggars companion the wifes woe and childrens sorrow makes a strong man weak & a wise man a fool he is worse than a beast and is a self murderer who drinks to other mens health and robs himself of his own"
Such personal traces and communications of the lives that books have touched are a huge part of what this archive is all about.

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Paul Lacroix (aka Bibliophile Jacob), My Republic. 1936. Trans. Theodore Wesley Koch. The Caxton Club, Chicago. Limited Edition of 300 copies. 

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Gabriel-Marie Legouvé, Le Mérite des femmes (The Merit of Women). New Edition, Augmented with Unpublished Poems. (1824). Louis Janet: Paris. Hardcover 32mo.



This book presents an intriguing little bibliographic riddle: an 1824 reprint of an 1801 feminist tract in verse by Gabriel-Marie Legouvé, it shares a title–but not text–with an 1816 feminist history by Charles Malo, who five years later would take over editorship of the Annales Romantiques anthologies, for this book's publisher. Though the confusion of titles and publishers is tightly knotted-up, the convergence does make a certain amount of sense due to the feminist leanings of everybody involved (all men). 

Legouvé's text, his most famous work, advocates greater respect for women and the reversal of many stereotypes, though it does not touch on concrete political reform. A respected member of the Académie Française, he went mad in 1810 after the death of his wife and spent his last few years in an asylum. His son Ernest carried on much of his project, and published pioneering studies of female consciousness and pedagogy and a social history of femininity.

The poem itself (here's the text in a different edition) fills 38 pages arguing against misogyny on moral, maternal, mythological, and historical grounds, followed by 73 pages of explicatory notes, followed by a collection of other poems plus a short story and an essay on love by Legouvé, all also annotated. This copy is quite thoroughly used, its binding peeling away from the boards.

While Janet was not the poem's original publisher, it made sense for him to reprint it, for his press focused at this time on a female audience. It was probably in this connection that Janet published the first edition of Malo's work of the same name in 1816, the year following the reign of Napoleon's militantly misogynist (even by the time's standards) regime. Though Legouvé's poem had inspired a slew of responses and parodies, and Malo's must intentionally echo it, the latter does not seem to be directly derivative.

The original Janet press was run by Pierre-Etienne Janet, but his son Louis began this, his own imprint in 1810, on which this was printed. Although he continued to publish some classicist writers (sometimes even in explicitly Romanticist anthologies!), his sympathies were with the incipient Romantic movement, and the year after this copy was printed, he took over publication of the important Annales Romantiques anthology, collected in this archive. In 1829, he turned over editorship to Charles Malo, tying off our bibliographic knot.

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Matthew 'Monk' Lewis, Romantic Tales. 1809. Volume I of II. First American edition. M. & W. Ward, New York.  Full leather Sextodecimo, 344 pp., front cover detatched.
 
Matthew Lewis, along with Ann Radcliffe and Horace Walpole see below), was instrumental in the codification of the literary Gothic genre, and exerted a huge influence over both vernacular horror, Frenetic Romanticism, and the avant-garde well into the 20th Century. (see Russell's setting of his poem in "Music".) His masterpiece The Monk gave him his nickname; this volume includes several long gothic-romantic tales and novellas. This copy has been quite well-loved.

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Pierre Louÿs, Aphrodite: Moeurs antiques. 1896. Illustrated by A. Calbet. Librairie Borel: Paris–Collections Eduard Guillaume "Nymphée". Sextodecimo Hardcover, 394 pp. First Illustrated Edition.

Combining the Romantic Orientalist love of ‘exotic’ cultures, the Parnassian affinity for ancient Mediterranean cultures, and the Decadent interest in sexuality and excess, Pierre Louÿs developed a body of erotic novels which were thoroughly steeped in historical research, which exercised a major influence on (among others) Jarry, especially on Messalina, the latter’s historical novel of ancient Rome. Louÿs was bisexual, and created one of the first extensive bodies of work in France to consistently and positively portray lesbianism; he was an important part of the European homosexual intellectual community, and was the dedicatee of Oscar Wilde's Salomé. His work made a major impact on underground Libertine subculture, and were often translated and published in very small, private editions in order to evade stringent censorship laws in the US and UK in the first half of the 20th Century. The various copies of his novel Aphrodite that are held in the Revenant Archive reflect this history; the book was a best-seller in France, and available only in underground circles in translation, in many different editions of very small runs.

Aphrodite is the story of a wealthy courtesan in Athens during the beginning of the dissolution of the Roman empire; her life similarly descends into a mire of theft, blasphemy, and murder when she sets a series of impossible demands to an infatuated lover. 

This edition was issued from the Librairie Borel, which specialized in illustrated editions of Decadent and Symbolist erotica, the same year that the true first edition was published by the Symbolist organ Mercure de France. It is illustrated by Antoine Calbet, an Impressionist-inflected painter who specialized in lightly salacious nude women.
  
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Pierre Louÿs, Aphrodite: Ancient Manners. 1929. Anonymous Translator. Anonymous Publisher, New York. Private Edition of 1,000 copies; unnumbered.

Like many Decadent works translated during the 1920s-40s, numerous different translations and editions of Aphrodite were privately printed in order to circumvent censorship laws; in this case, the translator and publisher also remained anonymous, and appended a preface justifying the author’s presentation of sexual codes in the historical past.
  
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Pierre Louÿs, Psyche. 1931. Anonymous Translator. Conclusion & Notes by Claude Farrère. New York: Covici, Friede. Cloth-bound Hardcover Octavo. Original publication was 1927.

Psyche was not published until two years after Louÿs' death; he worked on it for nearly two decades, and his friend, the orientalist writer Claude Ferrère, who wrote the introduction to this volume, calls it his most personal book; until his death, Louÿs hesitated to publish it, arguing that 'The book is too intimate'. In it he departs from his usual historical setting, and describes an amorous Dandy torn between two forms of love, as incarnated in two very different lovers.
 
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Pierre Louÿs, Aphrodite. 1946. Anonymous Translator. Avon, New York.

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Pierre Louÿs, Collected Works. 1951. Shakespeare House: New York. Hardcover clothbound Sextodecimo, 628 pp.



This collection, published in 1951, represents a loosening of these regulations, and his transition from a notorious underground force in English literature to a respectable but seldom-read footnote to academic history.
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Auguste Maquet (aka Augustus MacKeat), Dettes de Coeur (Debts of the Heart). 1862. La Librairie Nouvelle, Michel-Lévy, Paris. First publication was 1857.

A member of the Jeunes-France / Bouzingo group, where he was known as Augustus MacKeat, Maquet became Alexandre Dumas pére's principle collaborator/ghost writer for several decades, substantially writing many of the most popular novels attributed to Dumas, including The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, though his name was suppressed to protect Dumas' celebrity and Brand-name. The relationship eventually broke down and Maquet sued Dumas successfully. Paul Lacroix/Bibliophile Jacob (see "Books") was also among the many underground novelists who wrote anonymously for the Dumas 'brand'. This novel was published under Maquet's own name; his publisher, Michel Levy, had put out the 1851 edition of Sand's La mare au diable (see below) as part of this same series in conjunction with the Romanticist publisher Hetzel; several years later Levy would begin publishing Baudelaire's translations of Edgar Poe.

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Auguste Maquet (aka Augustus MacKeat), La Maison du Baigneur: Drame en cinq actes. (The Bath-house: Drama in Five Acts). 1864. La Librairie Nouvelle, Michel-Lévy, Paris.
 
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Auguste Maquet (aka Augustus MacKeat) & Alexandre Dumas, The Black Tulip. 1932. Walter J. Black: New York. First published in 1850. Copy owned by the poet Edward Lense.

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Catulle Mendès, Le Chercheur de tares: roman contemporain (The Seeker of Flaws: Contemporary Novel). 1898. Bibliothèque Charpentier, Paris. Inscribed by the author to the Symbolist musician Mme. Jean Richepin.

  
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Monte-Naken, Rimes futiles (Futile Rhymes). 1879. Librairie des Bibliophiles, Paris.
 
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 Alfred de Musset, La Confession d'un enfant du siècle (Confession of a Child of the Century). 1867. Charpentier, Paris. Inscribed: Auguste [???]

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Charles Nodier, Trilby, ou Le Lutin d'argail: Nouvelle Écossoise [sic]. (Trilby, or The Argyle Sprite: New Scot) 1822. Second Edition. Chez Ladvocat, Paris. Hard-bound cardboard Sextodecimo, 102 pp.


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Charles Nodier, Les Sept Chateaux du roi de bohême / Les Quartre talismans. (1852). Illust. Tony Johannot, Napoleon Thomas, et. al. Victor Lecou, Paris. Sextodecimo, 326 pp. Quarter Leather. Original publication was in 1829.Inscribed by 19th Century reader: "J.L."




Charles Nodier exercised a tremendous influence on the first generation of the avant-garde in his myriad capacities as Frenetic novelist, organiser, archivist, critic, bibliographer, theorist, and linguist--indeed, the 'Petit-Cénacle' group, later renamed the Bouzingo, took their first moniker in tribute to Nodier's own 'Cénacle' salons, to which they were regular guests when this volume was published in 1829. At the time, Histoire du roi de bohême was considered his most radical book, and was recognised as a seminal influence on avant-garde Romanticist typography, book design, illustration, and narrative technique.







Steeped in Rabelais, Sterne, Peacock, etc., the story is wildly experimental and formally fractured, with sections written in dialogue, as advertisements, as lists, as as fake publishers' notes, and spinning off into chapter-long diversions into etymology, obscure history and other apparently tangential subjects. The typography, formatting, and integration of text and illustration are startlingly playful, and display the seeds of Apollinaire's calligrammes and other visual writing as the typography begins to intrude upon, mimic, and dissolve the semantic coherence of the narration.


The illustrations and decorations are by Tony Johannot, who remained one of the most important illustrators of underground Romanticism, a close friend of Célestin Nantueil, and a pioneer of French political cartooning.


 
One chapter comprises an extremely early example of a phonetic poem--90 years before Morgenstern's and Marinetti's experiments with the form.

 
Also included in this volume is Nodier's 30-page essay 'Du Fantastique en littérature' (On the Fantastic in Literature), which provided much of the theoretical underpinning for Frenetic Romanticism, and four 'fantastic' stories first published in 1838, including some illustrations by the obscure Bouzingo artist Napoleon Thomas, which (to my knowledge) have gone uncredited for over a century and a half.

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 Philothée O'Neddy (aka Théophile Dondey) & Ernest Havet, Feu et flamme; publié avec une introduction et... la correspondance inédite de Théophile Dondey et d'Ernest Havet (Fire and Flame; published with an introduction and... unpublished correspondence of Théophile Dondey and Ernest Havet. 1926. Ed. Marcel Hervier. Bibliothèque Romantique: Éditions des Presses Français & Société d'Édition "Les Belles-lettres", Paris.
 
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 Joseph Péladan, Les amants de pise (The Lovers of Pisa). Undated, c. 1917. Nelson, Paris.
  
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Jacques Plowert [Paul Adam], Petit glossaire pour servir a l'intelligence des auteurs décadents et symbolistes. (Little Glossary to Aid the Comprehension of  Decadent and Symbolist Authors). Oct., 1888. First Edition. Vanier, Bibliopole: Paris. With marginalia by unknown avant-gardist.


As with every generation of the avant-garde, the Decadent and Symbolist movements systematically developed ways to de-familiarize and radicalize the use of language, and their work was thus under constant attack as incomprehensible, absurd, esoteric, and degenerate. The designations "Decadent" and "Symbolist" were themselves contested, typically applied to overlapping networks of the same community, and often used synonymously both by proponants and detractors. This satirical dictonary of avant-garde slang (argot), neologisms, anti-conventional usage, and theoretical vocabulary is a tongue-in-cheek but accurate snapshot of linguistic experimentation and communal argot within the avant-garde at the time, offering examples of each word from recent Decadent texts.


This rare volume was issued by the ultra-Symbolist publisher Léon Vanier, and represents a group of avant-garde poets and theorists who were promoting self-declared Decadence and Symbolism; indeed, Vanier's publishing house called itself a 'Bibliopole'--a bit of Symbolist argot which does not appear in the dictionary but is defined in the Glossaire itself, thus (roughly translated): "Bibliopole: Seller of books. Greek, Bibliopôlès. ex. "Léon Vanier, bibliopole of Symbolists and Decadents." (Posters.)" The list of Vanier publications on the back maps out a network of young radical polemicists of Symbolism including Paul Adam and Francis Viele-Griffin (editors of the leftist Symbolist journal Entretiens), J.K. Huysmans (author of À Rebours, the 'Breviary of Decadence'), Jean Moreas and Gustave Kahn (editors with Adam of the journal Le Symboliste), the francophone American anarchist symbolist poet Stuart Merrill, and, interestingly, the earlier satire of Decadent poetry, Les Deliquescences. The latter, intended as a parodic attack on the Symbolists but then adopted by them (much like Janin's The Dead Donkey and the Guillotined Woman against the Frenetics several generations earlier), was attributed to the pseudonym Adoré Floupette; on the back of this volume, the true authors--Henri Beauclair and Gabriel Vicaire--are listed along with Floupette. The Glossaire, too, was published pseudonymously by "Jacques Plowert", and is usually attributed to Paul Adam.

This particular copy opens up further possible complications and corellations between these two Decadent satires. It contains marginalia in pencil by an unknown 19th Century reader. 

Most of this marginalia consists in annotations beside certain entries (predominantly examples drawn from Gustave Kahn & Mallarmé) giving a number and a single word. These would seem to refer to page numbers in the volumes in question--presumably in whatever edition of each work was in the previous reader's possession; but so far I have been unsuccessful in locating the noted words, or the quoted passages, on the indicated pages of the editions online, or matching them with titles of poems, etc. by the authors in question. Clearly, in any case, the reader was deeply involved in avant-garde literature and was actively using the glossary in his or her own poetic, critical, and/or bibliographic process; it is quite possible that they personally knew some of the writers and/or editors represented. 

On the title page, the owner has made an intriguing and enigmatic addition: directly below the pseudonym "Jacques Plowert," they have penciled in the names of four poets, enclosed together in parentheses: Felix Féneon, the virulent Decadent anarchist; Jean Moréas, outspoken polemicist of Decadence; Paul Adam, the known actual writer of the Glossaire; and Henri Beauclair, co-author of the satirical Déliquescences. Is it possible that this book's owner, privy to information unpublished but known within the Decadent community, is informing us that the pseudonym "Plowert" in fact covers a collaborative effort by four writers? In this connection Beauclair's collaboration is interesting, since he seems never to have been sympathetic to the movement's aims but, through his parody published by the same Decadent press, was a clear influence on the Glossaire. Or is there some other connection to which the previous reader was attempting to point us? In any event we know that all four had already been published by Vanier, that all but Beauclair are frequently quoted in the Glossaire itself, and that all three were outspoken proponants of Decadence.

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Raymond Queneau, Une Histoire modèle. (A Model History) 1966. First Edition, Limited Run [unnumbered] of 72. Gallimard, Paris.Inscribed, probably by Queneau, ‘to Herb who knows mathematics is the best language can do.’
 
 
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Maurice Rollinat, Les Néuroses. 1923. Bibliothèque Charpentier, Paris.
 
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Nestor Roqueplan, La Vie Parisienne (Parisian Life). 1854. Second Edition. Librarie Nouvelle, Paris. / Joseph Mèry, La Floride (Florida). 1856. Arnauld le Vresse, Paris. Bound together by previous owner.

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George Sand, Fanchon (Cricket). 1896. Anonymously translated & illustrated. Henry Altemus, Philadelphia. 

 
The first American edition of this novel seems to have been first published in 1863, so that by the time of this edition Sand's work had passed well into the mainstream, or at least her less socioeconomically challenging work such as this pastoral story. The book seems to have been a family favourite: the inscription reads, "Vol. 2 of the Bryant 'Happy Hours' Library / Uncle Jim" and the back of the book has been scribbled on in pencil, presumably by one of the Bryants though Leaine Gibson owned the book at a later date (signed). The translation is uncredited, as is the single, mediocre and vaguely irrelevant illustration tipped in at page 80.

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George Sand, La mare au diable. (The Pond of the Devil) 1851. J. Hetzel & Michel Levy, Paris
   
Outside the avant-garde community, George Sand was one of the most notorious avant-gardists of the mid-19th Century, and within it was one of the most divisive. Her cross-dressing, her unabashed sexuality, her ambiguous relationship with nascent Feminism, and her outspoken socialist propaganda novels made her a catalyst for the exploration of gender and its malleability within the Romanticist avant-garde, analogous in many ways to that of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven in the Dada community. The first edition of this novel had come out in 1846, two years before the overthrow of the July Monarchy and the establishment of the Second Republic; this edition, issued jointly by Michel Levy and the long-time Romanticist publisher Jules Hetzel, then serving in a cabinet position in the Republican government. Within a year, Napoleon III had staged a coup-d'etat and Hetzel went into exile in Belgium, where he published subversive literature and smuggled it into France. Levy would publish Maquet's Dettes de Ceours (above) six year after this book.
 
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Marcel Schwob, The Book of Monelle. trans. William Brown Meloney V, Preface by John Erskine. 1929. Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis. Cloth-bound Hardcover Octavo, 181 pp.
 
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Walter Scott, Rob Roy. 1824. J. Crissy, Philadelphia. Hard-bound leather Sextodecimo, 246 pp.
 
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Percy Shelley, The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Edited by William Rossetti. 1878. Thomas V. Crowell & Co., New York.
 
  
Shelley strove harder than perhaps any of the English Romantics to establish a theoretical and practical framework for radical, politically committed forms of creative praxis. The results are ambivalent--areas of his life typified by great courage, penetration, and integrity, butted up against gaping blind-spots and insensitivities which could destroy those around him. The volatile nature of his work, and his virtual exile after assassination attempts and trailing by Government agents following his involvement in labour organising in Welsh mining towns, made him almost unknown during his lifetime, aside from his successful Gothic drama The Cenci, later produced by Antonin Artaud's Alfred Jarry Theatre. Within a decade of his death, he had been canonised as one of England's Great Poets in the mainstream canon (alongside Wordsworth and Coleridge, who he had publically denounced on multiple occasions for their political apostasy and conversion to Monarchism), whilst the political orientation of his entire career was eradicated from the image, and the work, presented to the public. It is doubly tragic that this, one of the first great efforts of Recouperation taken on by Capitalist historiography, was carried out by his comrades; despite her own radicalism, his wife Mary initiated the de-politicisation of his legacy whilst the specto-avant Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood who idolised him, cemented this sanitizing effort--and whose principle organiser, William Rossetti, edited this edition.
 
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Laurence Sterne, Works, in One Volume; with A Life of the Author, written by himself. 1834. Grigg & Elliot: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Signed "E.G. Munn" twice in front in pen, w/small cartoon of be-wigged man in pencil; signed "Chrs EG. Munn" in back.
 


Originally published in 1759, Tristram Shandy established a tradition of formal and narrative experimentation in fiction that continues in all aspects of anglophone avant-garde writing, and still remains arguably one of the most unpredictable (and yet consummately predictable) novels in the English language. It was also immediately and wildly popular, and has thus exercised a huge influence on British Comedy, its influence pervasive in the alternative comedic tradition of the Goons, Beyond the Fringe, Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Young Ones, Fry & Laurie, et. al.

In the book, Sterne repeatedly related his literary project to that of Rabelais in French and that of Cervantes (another foundational influence on French Romanticism), and the French took to the book naturally. Sterne was one of the most deeply influential forces on French Romanticism in general, and within avant-garde Romanticism especially.

This American copy belonged to Carles E.G. Munn; nothing else is known of Munn, except that he sketched a little cartoon of a be-wigged gentleman on the inside cover (faintly visible in upper left in the photo above)––a style only a generation or two out of date at the time.

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Eugéne Sue, The Wandering Jew. 1846. Illustrated by Paul Gavarni. Vol. I of II. First American edition. Harper & Brothers, New York. Leather-bound w/detached covers. Octavo, 588 pp.
  
  
Eugéne Sue was, along with Hugo and Dumas, one of the principle exponents of populist Romanticism. His hugely popular novels, printed in serial in popular newspapers, weave together the Gothic, Frenetic Romanticism, melodrama, crime dramas, and mystery into sprawling plots with an anti-clerical and liberal-socialist underpinning. His novel Lautréaumont gave its name (minus one letter) to the pseudonym of the writer of The Songs of Maldoror, which took Frenetic Romanticism all the way past its logical conclusion. The Wandering Jew uses a central motif deeply embedded in the Gothic, but spins around it an attack on the Jesuits, religious control, and the exploitation of the working class--complete with footnotes and statistical citations. The illustrations are by the Romanticist satirist Paul Gavarni (see "Lithographs"); they are credited only to "the most eminent artists of Paris"--probably because the American publisher--who 57 years later would publish Chambers' Maids of Paradise (see above) did not have the reproduction rights to Gavarni's illustrations for the 1st French edition the previous year. Somebody literally loved this copy to pieces.
 
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Algernon Swinburne, A Year's Letters. 1901. Thomas B. Mosher, Portland, Maine. Limited Edition of 450 copies.
 
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Algernon Swinburne, Tristram of Lyonesse, and Other Poems. 1909. Eighth Edition. Chatto & Windus, London.
 
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Éduard Turquety, Primavera. 1854. Second Edition. J.-B. Tarride, Brussels.

 

During the years preceding the Battle of Hernani, Turquety seems to have been associated with the Liberal Romanticist group centred on the journal The Globe, while his work was also championed by Charles Nodier (see above), who would soon merge with them to reconcile Romanticism’s political divide. In 1829 he appeared in the current volume of Charle's Malo's anthology Annales Romantiques (see "Anthologies"). His first collection of poems was published that year, and re-published in 1841 in an expanded version as Primavera, of which this is an 1854 Belgian edition. Inspired by Lamartine, Turquety was part of a collective effort to develop a version of Christianity that would espouse Liberalism and social progress, and became a friend and ally of the progressive priest Lamennais (see "Theory and Praxis" tab), who was eventually defrocked for his support of democratic values. Little is known of Turquety. The back of this little paperback (repaired sometime since publication with a new spine) lists other works put out by the publisher, including many of the early, underground Romanticists who had appeared in the Annales Romantiques.
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Oscar Wilde Salome. 1945. Trans. Alfred Douglas, illustrated by Valenti Angelo. Heritage Press, New York.

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