Illustration & Editing

Romanticist and Avant-Garde editions of works by earlier writers, whose reputations or legacies the avant-garde wished to resurrect or re-frame through scholarship, illustration, and presentation.

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Miguel de Cervantes, The History of Don Quixote. Trans. J.W. Clark, Illust. Gustave Doré. Undated, early 20th Century. The Hogarth Press: New York. Hardcover quarto, 855 pp.

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François Fénelon, Aventures de Télémaque. Illustrated by Célestin Nanteuil & Baron. 1840. Romans, Contes et nouvelles illustres Series, Gustave Havard, Paris. Unbound quarto, 88 p.


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Jean La Fontaine, Contes et Nouvelles (Tales and novellas). Illustrated by Tony Johannot, Camille Roqueplan, Achille[?] Devéria, [Louis?]C. Boulanger, Janet-Lange, et. al. Ernest Bourdin, Paris. 1839. Quarterbound octavo, 534 pp.






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Romanticist illustrated edition of the 18th Century libertine writer.

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John Milton, Paradise Lost. Illustrated by Gustave Doré. 1894. Cassell & Co., London.

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Évariste de Parny, Oevres: Elégies et Poésies Diverses (Works: Elegies and Diverse Poems). Preface by Charles Sainte-Beuve. 1862. Garnier Frères, Paris. 

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Parny, who wrote from the 1770s until his death in 1814, is one of the writers most consistently claimed by the Romanticists as their direct forebears. In the first part of his career he was instrumental in reviving various lyric forms that had been proscribed in France for generations, in particular the sentimental and melancholy elegies that would be taken up first by Chateaubriand and Lamartine, and later among the Romanticist avant-garde by Nerval, O'Neddy, Musset, Béranger (see "Literature"), Alphonse Brot, and others, while Pushkin cited him as a major influence on Russian Romanticism. His 1787 Songs of Madagascar laid the foundations of the prose-poem, which would be built upon by Aloysius Bertrand and developed as indicated in Merrill's Pastels in Prose anthology (see "Anthologies"). Soon after the beginning of the 19th Century, Parny shifted into social satire and burlesque, attacking the Church and state. His anti-clerical poem The War of the Gods was banned by the French government 13 years after his death, but circulated through the Romanticist community in bootleg editions. This edition is prefaced by Charles Saint-Beuve, co-founder of the Liberal-Romanticist Globe group and, as a key member of the Cénacle group, one of the major architects of the Romanticist revolution. This volume focuses on the elegies rather than the satires, possibly because publishing the satires would have highly dangerous under the totalitarian regime of Napoleon III, now seven years into his reign.

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Le Petit Volage Fixé à Paris. Author and Artist uncredited. Undated, 1809. Janet & Madame de Musique: Paris. Bound with: Souvenir des Dames. Undated, c. 1809. Janet: Paris. 1813 Printing. Hardcover 64mo. with hand-painted etchings.

 
This is a forerunner of the Keepsake book, a mainstream format that later ended up, in the hands of this very publisher, exercising an important influence on Romanticism. Originating in England late in the eighteenth century, the original keepsakes were lavishly produced volumes designed to show off every aspect of the bibliographic craft. They typically included elaborate typography, page design and ornamentation, with finely-printed engravings tipped-in throughout, printed on high-quality paper and often finely-tooled and gilt bindings, though the latter varied since most books were bound individually by their owners.
 
 

Although this book lacks the anthological character of the Keepsake, instead presenting a self-contained series of anonymous emblem poems, and its original owner evidently could not afford an ornate binding, it does exhibit many of the qualities that would later lead its publisher to the keepsake format: elegant typography and design, copious tipped-in illustrations (in this with the engravings hand-tinted in watercolour), and an evidently female intended audience.


In fact, the differences themselves make this book match the name "keepsake" better than the format to which it was applied: it is meant to be used, written in, personalized, and kept as a memento. Technically, the copy consists of two books bound together, but they were marketed and sold as a bound pair beginning in 1809.


The first half, Le Petit Volage Fixé à Paris (The Little Butterfly Stuck in Paris), consists of twelve iconographic emblems of Cupid (the titular "butterfly") engaged in various activities and scenarios, each accompanying a poem that explicates the image. The etchings are executed in neo-classical style and each is finely hand-tinted in watercolour, usually in four or five colours. Neither the artist nor the poet are identified.
 
 
The second-half, Souvenir des Dames (Ladies' Memory), is essentially a planner to keep track of recurring salons, meetings, etc. with a blank page for each day of the week, followed by a page for each month of the year (topped by a zodiacal emblem) in which to record important life events for future remembrance–thus, keepsake.


At the end are several blank pages, followed by a fold-out chart of the Saints Days for the year 1813, signalling that this copy is a re-issue for that year. It was not used, unfortunately, and these pages remain blank.

 
This copy is cheaply bound in simple green cardboard, implying that the 22-franc price stretched their budget; but the inside is beautiful. On every page, text and image are presented together through engraved borders either shaped and shaded or hand-enhanced in colour; the italic typeface is headed by titles in engraved cursive in elegant lines; verses are ornamented with patterns of abstract flowing swirls. Twenty years later, under Janet's son, the press would continue its concern with design to become the most extreme champion of Romanticist typography and design, including that in the annual Annales Romantiques anthologies, many of them collected in this archive. 


Throughout its existence, Janet seems to have devoted much attention to building and serving a female readership, and published a number of feminist texts (in this archive for instance, see both of the (different) books entitled Le Mérite des femmes, (the other is listed HERE) and the Le Livre de beauté in 'Anthologies, as well as the many female writers published in the Annales Romantiques anthologies.

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François Rabelais, Oeuvres. ed. and w/Introduction by Bibliophile Jacob (aka Paul Lacroix). 1843. Charpentier, Paris.


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When the French Romanticists began re-examining the Middle Ages as part of their historiographic re-invention of the European literary tradition, the late Medieval satirist (and lapsed monk) François Rabelais was foremost among these ‘resurrections’. His dizzying mix of low-brow gutter comedy with intensely intellectual humour, freewheeling linguistic experimentation with old-fashioned bawdy storytelling, biting social satire with utter absurdity, transformed the Romantics’ conception of what literature could be. It provided the bulwark for the Romanticist concept of the ‘Grotesque’, and an example of the protean presence of irony throughout the productions, and lifestyles, of the movement. Since this time Rabelais has been a constant influence on the avant-garde, from Gautier to Lautréamont to Jarry to the Incoherents to the Dadas and Surrealists and on to the present day. Among the most assiduous in resurrecting Rabelais’ corpus was the Romanticist writer, bibliographer, historian, editor Paul Lacroix, a.k.a. Bibliophile Jacob. Along with Nodier (see "Literature"), Lacroix/Jacob was the leading bibliographer and literary researcher of the first generation avant-garde, and his short stories about antiquarian and bibliographic subculture are still republished today in small editions for bibliographic clubs (see "Literature"). As Lacroix, he compiled and wrote a series of groundbreaking histories of everyday life in Medieval France, illustrated with hundreds of reproductions of Medieval artifacts, illuminations; some of these were co-edited with his brother-in-law, Jean Duseigneur (aka Jehan Du Seigneur) of the Petit-Cénacle group. For this edition of Rabelais’ complete works, put out by the Romanticist publisher Charpentier, Jacob scoured the archives of Paris for unpublished manuscripts or lost writings of Rabelais, tracked down some of Rabelais’ many now-obscure references and jokes (a process which scholars are still attempting to complete), and wrote one of the first comprehensive biographies of the writer.

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Alain-René Le Sage, Le Diable Boiteux (The Devil's Two Sticks). 1840. Illustrated by Tony Johannot, Introduction by Jules Janin. Ernest Bourdin, Paris. Hard-bound octavo, 377 pp.



 Inside front cover (detatched) w/bookplate

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The comedy writer Le Sage was—along with Moliére, Chenier, and Crébillon—a mainstay of the Romantics' alternate canon of the 18th Century. His importance to the community is evidenced by this beautiful Romanticist edition of his play The Devil's Two Sticks lavishly illustrated by the satirist Tony Johannot (a close friend and collaborator of Célestin Nanteuil (see "Lithographs & Etchings) and others in the avant-garde) and introduced by a long biographical and critical preface by Jules Janin—ironically one of the outspoken enemies of the Bouzingo within Romanticism itself. Janin considers at some length Le Sage's ambiguous status in the dominant canon; his plays which were appreciated in their performances for the Royal Court in Versailles were excoriated or ignored by the audiences in Paris; while his popular successes were condemned by the Court, so that he remained, until the Romantics, a footnote of recent theatrical history.
 
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Tasso, Jérusalem Délivrée (Jerusalem Delivered). Trans. Prince le Brun. Illustrated by Célestin Nantueil. 1848. Bibliothèque littéraire de la jeunesse; P.-C. Lehuby, Libraire-éditeur, Paris.



 
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