‘GRYPERL’ [pseudonym of Georges Boyer]. Lucien MÉTIVET, illustrator. ~ Phonographie de l’amour, aggravée d’un commentaire au crayon par Lucien Métivet. Paris: Paul Ollendorff, 1895.
8vo (198 × 128 mm), pp. , 23, , text with marginal engraved croquis printed in sanguine, plus a complete suite of all the croquis (several to a page without letters, printed in black. Original decorative wrappers, preserved in a contemporary (and unique) binding of blue morocco, with inset to upper cover of grey calf with Métivet’s designs incised and embellished by hand in gilt and colours. Original marbled slipcase and chemise. A fine copy.
Sole edition, one of 50 copies on chine. An illustrated collection of epithets on love and the relationships between men and women, a witty reflection of the sexual politics of fin-de-siècle Paris. The conceit of the title, and the charming accompanying vignette, involves communication (or perhaps miscommunication) via headphones and a phonographic machine operated by Cupid. It is a nice example of the contemporary fascination with the potential of electronic communications, with echoes of the science-fiction fantasy La Fin des livres by Albert Robida published in the same year, in which a new world of literature was a network of wires and headphones and of the Theatrophone apparatus recently exhibited at the Paris exhibitions. Worldcat lists 3 copies only: Bibliothèque nationale, British Library and Yale.