Topic 3: Black Sun


Harry Crosby and The Black Sun/Editions Narcisse

Harry Crosby, a decorated Great war veteran and Harvard graduate, went to Paris to work in the Morgan-Harjes Bank, conveniently owned by his uncle J.P. Morgan. With his wife Caresse, also a poet, Crosby soon plunged into Parisian literary life. At first, the Crosbys had their books privately printed by Darantierre and others, but from 1927 they found a small printer, Roger Lescaret, to produce fine editions for issue under a new imprint, Editions Narcisse (named for Caresse's dog), which in due course became Black Sun Press. Soon they were issuing works by other writers, including Poe, James, Wilde, Joyce and D. H. Lawrence. After Harry Crosby committed suicide in 1929, Caresse Crosby continued Black Sun Press and added also a new imprint of paperback reprints, Crosby Continental Editions
     The copy shown of Harry Crosby's privately-printed Anthology (Dijon: Darantierre, 1924) carries an ownership inscription by Alfred Chapin Rogers of Columbia, dated to the year of publication. The small broadside with Harry Crosby's thoughts on death (perhaps a comemorative piece after the suicide) is not in George R. Minkoff's standard Bibliography of the Black Sun Press (1970). The three items in vellum wrappers are Kay Boyle's Short Stories (Black Sun/Editions Narcisse, 1929), James Joyce's Tales Told of Shem and Shaun (Black Sun, 1929, with the Brancusi commemorative portrait of Joyce), and Ezra Pound's Imaginary Letters (Black Sun, 1930). Also displayed are the Crosby Continental reprint of Robert McAlmon's Indefinite Huntress (1932, with the stamp of Shakespeare and Compnay) and Joyce's Collected Poems, published by Black Sun in New York in 1936.
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Updated 5 June 2000 by the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.
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