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Le Serpent ****** From the limited edition of 230 examples is offered example no. 158 / 169 on handmade Holland Van Gelder paper, complete as issued with ninety seven prints (52 original, 14 variants (one decorating case) and 31 repeats), the justification page dual signed by Paul Valéry and the publisher, example number printed on the colophon and bound in the original snake skin pattern, sewn paper wrappers, a triumph of 1920s French Art Deco design, each side with a subtly different pattern and sleeved in the brown portfolio case, the upper side decorated with an exquisite Sonia Lewitska print, showing a snake coiled in an asymmetric heart, tongue flickering in the heart's center. ******
Èditions Eos, Paris, French texts, limited to 230 examples on handmade papers, the 31 wood engravings printed by Coulouma, the 34 lithographs printed by Desjobert, wrappers by R. Pichon, Charpentier & Riby 1926 - PRINTS: The poem is partnered with print illustrations by two artists with different visions of the work, each working in a different print media. Jean Marchand's sinuous lithographs with their figurative, tropical imagery contrast a dreaming Eve and a landscape of sleep with the malevolent snake. The final Marchand lithograph (in the independent suite), a remarkable work not offered with the illustrations to the poem, depicts a sleeping Eve, a vermicular trail leading from her open legs to the snake in the distance. Sonia Lewitska's geometric wood engravings are examples of Art Deco at its finest with their snake motifs, embedded 'primitive' iconography, and a dynamic of hiding in plain sight. EDITION NOTE: Considered one of Paul Valéry's greatest poems, "Le Serpent" is a reworked version of "Ebauche d'un Serpent" with a revised text and an additional stanza and was first published in his celebrated collection, "Charmes" (1922). ("Ebauche d'un Serpent" was first published in issue no. 94 of NRF (La Nouvelle Revue Francaise) in July 1921.) On the mystery of evil in God's Creation, the poem describes the temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden from the perspective of the snake. The limited edition from Eos is the first fully illustrated edition (prior independent editions are decorated with one or two vignettes) and includes a note by Valéry stating how pleased he is with the illustrations. The artists, noted for their book illustrations were common law spouses. AVAILABILITY: Very Scarce. FORMAT: Publisher's paper wrappers after snakeskin, a variant on each side in two tints and one shade of brown with flecks of black and white, modèle depose (after what is shed) printed on the verso of the upper side, the scale patterns with two linked coil composed from views of shed skin at different magnifications. SIZE: 330 x 255 mm (13 x 10.04 inches). CONDITION DETAIL: Pages: generally clean and fresh, extremities with edge toning from wrappers, some pages with a small margin spot, final text page with toning and a few spots. / Wrappers: bright and clean, upper side with spine edge chipped with loss at the foot, lower side fine. / Binding: two signatures weakened but solid and reliable. / Case: some corner wear, ties neatly excised, a few light rubs but bright and clean. PAGINATION: Confirmed complete, 63 leaves with 96 prints, texts illustrated with 46 prints, 15 lithographs by Marchand and 31 wood engraving head & tail pieces by Lewitska, the two independent suites with 50 prints without text on 27 leaves. The six preliminary leaves include the justification illustrated with the first Jean Marchand lithograph, the title leaf and the Paul Valéry note praising the illustrations. Leaves 7-31 contain the poem with principal illustrations; Leaf 32, printing information and Leaf 33, the editor's note illustrated with lithograph no. 15. INDEPENDENT SUITES: Suite I: Three parts with 19 Jean Marchand lithographs printed on one side including 6 original b/w lithographs that could not be included by the publisher to illustrate the poem. Part I; five b/w lithographs, 3 are interesting variations of lithographs illustrating the poem, 2 are new lithographs. Part II; eight lithographs in sepia, printed prior in b/w to illustrate the poem. Part III; six b/w lithographs, 2 supplementary variations, and 4 new lithographs. Suite II: A set of the Sonia Lewitska b/w wood engravings (31) on eight leaves, versos blank. REFERENCE: Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of Netherlands), Koopman Special Collections; online catalog essay with bibliography. Monod 10905. ADDITIONAL IMAGES: by request. MY LISTINGS: Search in 3 easy steps. 1) Click my name in bookseller field below title and author description. 2) Click bookseller & payment information. 3) Click my name again. You can now search by catalog, keyword, etc. [Attributes: Signed Copy; Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: Steven Waldman]
Last Found On: 2014-10-02           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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