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Nouvelles Impressions d'Afrique suivies de L'Ame de Victor Hugo

Roussel, Raymond; Henri Zo (Illustrated by)

Published by Jean-Jacques Pauvert, Paris, 1963
Condition: g+ Soft cover
From ERIC CHAIM KLINE, BOOKSELLER (ABAA ILAB) (Santa Monica, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Octavo. 171, [5]pp. Original printed wrappers. Title page in red and black lettering. Poet, novelist, playwright, and chess enthusiast, Raymond Roussel (1877-1933) was one of the French belle époque's most compelling literary figures. During his lifetime, Roussel's work was vociferously championed by the surrealists, but never achieved the widespread acclaim for which he yearned. "Nouvelles Impressions d'Afrique" (New Impressions of Africa) is undoubtedly Roussel's most extraordinary work. Since its publication in 1932, this weird and wonderful poem has slowly gained cult status, and its admirers have included Salvador Dalì - who dubbed it the most "ungraspably poetic" work of the era - André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Marcel Duchamp, Michel Foucault, Kenneth Koch, and John Ashbery. Roussel began writing New Impressions of Africa in 1915 while serving in the French Army during the First World War and it took him seventeen years to complete. "It is hard to believe the immense amount of time composition of this kind of verse requires," he later commented. "Nouvelles Impressions d'Afrique" is made up of four cantos, each of which begins by establishing the setting in Egypt and then interrupting itself with a parenthetical thought. This thought is in turn interrupted by another, until we are faced with layer upon layer of parentheses. The poem, in its original French, is written in rhyming alexandrine (twelve-syllable) couplets alternating between masculine and feminine rhymes. Mysterious, unnerving, hilarious, haunting, both rigorously logical and dizzyingly sublime, it is truly one of the hidden masterpieces of twentieth-century modernism. Raymond Roussel approached the commercial lillustrator Henri Zo to produce a set of fifty nine illustrations to accompany his poem. The contact was made through a detective agency to conceal the author's identity and intent. The images were printed so as to be visible only when the pages were cut, and bore little relevance to the text itself. All the 59 illustrations are present at the end of the text. Starting on page 123 is Raymond Roussel's original poem "L'Ame de Victor Hugo" with the brief explanation that, one night, the poet had dreamt that he saw Victor Hugo writing at his work table and that the poem which follows was what he read when he looked over Victor Hugo's shoulder. Spine slightly discolored and partly creased, with minor rubbing along edges. Upper corner of very last pages creased. Text in French. Wrappers and interior in overall good+ condition. Bookseller Inventory # 38202

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Nouvelles Impressions d'Afrique suivies de ...

Publisher: Jean-Jacques Pauvert, Paris

Publication Date: 1963

Binding: Softcover

Book Condition:g+

Edition: Reprint.

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Since 1985 we offer individual books for sale from our inventory of 150,000 rare, out-of-print and antiquarian volumes on many topics, with an emphasis on Judaica, Hebraica, Bibles and rabbinics, the fine and decorative arts, architecture, photography, textile and wallpaper sample books, Bauhaus and the avant garde, expressionist dance, Olympic Games and sport, the ancient near-east and archeology, erotica, illustrated and foreign-language books, especially German, Yiddish, Polish and Hebrew, as well as books from the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich, plus Russian constructivist materials. We create book collections, both large and small, for individuals, decorators, archives and libraries¿currently available: a 10,000-volume research collection on Judaica in the German language. In addition, we maintain a beguiling selection of original works of art and photography. Eric Chaim Kline provides appraisal services for estate, insurance and tax purposes, often helping to match book donors with libraries and museums. We purchase books of merit and entire collections; we also take books on consignment with favorable terms. We are a rental source for movie and tv production, occasionally providing the prop on which the plot turns. Traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe, Eric Chaim Kline has been buying and selling old and rare books since the 1980¿s, when in graduate school at Brandeis University. Proprietor of bookshops in several Los Angeles locations since 1985, he hosts visitors by appointment in our lively bookstore and ships books to collectors, libraries and museums worldwide. Kline occasionally lectures on topics in book collecting and Jewish studies. He sponsors the annual Bibliography Award granted by the Association of Jewish Libraries and serves on the national board of the Antiquarian Booksellers¿ Association of America. We welcome your inquiries.

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