Paris Publishers of the 1920s

an exhibit originally developed for the American Literature Club 
Thomas Cooper Library, September 1999

Text by Patrick Scott; hypertext by Mila Tasseva

Topic 4: Black Manikin & Obelisk
   

Edward W. Titus and the Black Manikin

Along with running a rare bookshop, at the sign of the Black Manikin, Edward Titus published limited editions of several expatriate authors, subsidized initially by his estranged wife Helena Rubinstein of cosmetic fame. Displayed are: Ralph Cheever Dunning, Rococo (1926, the first Black Manikin title); Mary Butts, Imaginary Letters (1928), with engravings from Cocteau; William Van Wyck, On the Terrasse (1930, no 59 of 100, with two illustrations of Parisian Cafés by Margery Nahl); Laura Sherry, Old Prairie du Chien (1931); Ludwig Lewisohn, The Romantic (1931); Morley Callaghan, no man's meat (1931); and Anais Nin, D.H.Lawrence, An Unprofessional Study (1932, no 516 of 550, rebound). 

 

Lady Chatterley in Paris: Titus, Obelisk and the Pirates

Just as Shakespeare and Company profited in the mid-twenties from the illicit reputation of Joyce'sUlysses, Titus profited from his courage in republishing Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover (first published in Florence in 1928), unexpurgated, though with Titus's name discreetly absent from the title-page. Shown here are Titus's edition (1929, with Lawrence's preface on piracies for the pornography market, rebound), a contemporary pirated edition ("Paris: privately printed, 1930"), and a 1936 Paris edition from Obelisk Press. Obelisk, owned by the English expatriate Jack Kahane and soon to publish works by both Henry Miller and Anais Nin, was known chiefly for pornography. Kahane had also been involved with the much more respectable Fountains Press, which had published Joyce's Haveth Childers Everywhere (1930). 

 

 

Three Imprints of the Thirties

Peter Neagoe's important anthology Americans Abroad (The Hague: Servire, 1932, rebound) included virtually every expatriate American writer from the previous decade, with brief biographical information. Neagoe's introduction contrasted the artistic freedom available in Paris with the constraints of American publishing. Shown here are the entries on Henry Miller, who "came to Paris to study vice," and whose "last book, a novel, will be published anonymously," and the anarchist Emma Goldman, for further information on whom the reader is directed to "any police department." Also displayed are Katherine Anne Porter's French Song Book (Paris: Harrison, 1933, open to show the signed limitation page), and the first volume of Henry Church's new series Mesures (Paris, 1935), featuring a French translation of Dorothy Richardson by Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier. 

 

French printing/Anglo-American writers: Darantierre and others

The three titles shown here provide samples of contemporary French book-production for comparison with the expatriate publishers. All three titles are beautifuly preserved. Kipling's Sept poemes des Barrack Room Ballads traduits (Dijon: Darantierre, 1925) was a non-commercial private publication issued by the printer who also set Joyce's Ulysses. Walt Whitman, Feuille d'herbe, 2 vols. (Paris: Mercure de France, 1922) and Andre Maurois's pathbreaking Shelley biography, Ariel (Paris: Grasset, 1923) also illustrate French interest in English and American writers. 
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