LYDIS, Mariette, illustrator. MONTHERLANT, Henry de. ~ Le Chant des Amazones. Paris: [Aulard and Dorfinant for] Govone, 1931.
Small folio (290 × 220 mm), 8 lithographed plates by Lydis, the first partially hand coloured in crayon and signed in pencil. Some spotting, mainly marginal, though slightly heavier on prelims. Uncut in original green and silver wrappers. Slightly rubbed and soiled with minor creasing, but a very good copy.
First edition of this collection with the Lydis illustrations. Number 152 of 165 copies. Chant des Amazones is a celebration of female athleticism in verse, prose and image, Chant des Amazones is a celebration of female athleticism in verse, prose and image and is dedicated to ‘une jeune fille victorieuse dans la course des 1,000 mètres’. The texts are drawn from Montherlant’s Les Onze devant la porte dorée (1924) which he had written against the background of preparations for the 1924 Paris Olympics. Women’s participation in Olympic athletics was then extremely limited, but the decade after 1924 witnessed its rapid expansion and a general enthusiasm for women’s sport, reflected in this book. Well-known as a writer, Montherlant was an important contact for Lydis throughout her career though his posthumous reputation has revealed him as a serial pederast and dabbler in right-wing politics. His later works were marked by distinct anti-feminism and misogyny. Lydis’ illustrations are fresh and well-meaning, but her evident sexualisation of pubescent girls is troubling to the modern eye. The book was issued in handsome silver, green and turquoise lithographed wrappers.