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  • Keywords = erotic
  • [Invitations]. by BAL DES QUATZ’ARTS. BAL DES QUATZ’ARTS. ~ [Invitations]. [Paris], 1895-1966.
    53 invitation cards to the notorious Parisian annual costume ball. The ball was inaugurated in 1892, and apart from the war years, ran until 1966,… (more)

    53 invitation cards to the notorious Parisian annual costume ball. The ball was inaugurated in 1892, and apart from the war years, ran until 1966, with attendance restricted to students and alumni of the École, both men and women, as well as a few ‘artistic personalities’ who had contributed to the preparation of the ball. They were held in several major venues scattered throughout Paris over the years, with most taking place at the Moulin Rouge, the Salle Wagram, and the Parc des Expositions at the Porte de Versailles. Although in its early years the ball was simply an elaborate party, from 1900 each ball had a specific theme, often derived from an ancient text or historic period or inspired by an ‘exotic’ foreign culture, around which various contests were arranged. With the addition of a theme the balls became more elaborate often turning into debaucherous affairs with guests soon discarding the period costumes that they were required to wear to gain entrance. The nudity, dancing and merrymaking often continued into the following day, the ball usually ending, with a shout of ‘Vive les Quat’z’ Arts!’, around seven o’clock in the morning, followed by a procession through the Latin Quarter, the Louvre, and a march over the Pont du Carrousel to the Théâtre de l’Odéon, where the partygoers would disband.

    Not surprisingly The Bal des Quat’z’Arts quickly became one of the premier events of the summer season. The invitations were elaborately designed to match the spectacle of the events, and correspondingly were often thematically orientalist, exotic, or primitive, with overtly erotic and sexual imagery. They are a tour de force of the evolution of artistic style, showing the progress from Art Nouveau to modernist primitivism, up through psychedelic design — though in retrospect they exhibit a troubling degree of predatory sexism and cultural appropriation. The ball is famously depicted in a series of photographs by Brassaï of 1930 and numerous other photographic records exist of the ball, allowing a comparison of the themes of the printed invitations and the costumes worn on the night.

    There were different invitations for men, women and committee members, and most included a tear-off coupon, which often survivie. This group contains examples from the following years, all complete with their coupons except where specified: 1895 (by Caran d’Ache); 1901 (without coupon) 1902 (without coupon); 1904 (m, without coupon); 1906 (?f); 1908 (f without coupon); 1909 (f); 1912 (f); 1913 (f, without coupon); 1914 (poster, folded once); 1920 (f); 1922 (m); 1923 (f); 1924 (f); 1927 (f, without coupon); 1928 (f); 1928 (m, without coupon); 1929 (m); 1929 (comité, without coupon); 1929 (f); 1930 (comité, without coupon); 1931 (m without coupon); 1931 (f without coupon); 1932 (m, without coupon); 1933 (m, without coupon); 1934 (m); 1939 (f?); 1946 (m); 1947 (m 2); 1948 (m) 1948 (f, without coupon); 1949 (m) 1949 (f); 1950 (m) 1950 (f); 1951 (m) 1951 (f) 1951 (additional); 1952 (m) 1952 (f ) 1952 (additional); 1953 (m) 1953 (f); 1954 (m?); 1955 (m) 1955 (f); 1956 (m) 1956 (f); 1958 (m) 1958 (?); 1959 (m); 1964 (m); 1966 (m?), plus one unidentified year.

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  • A collection of 5 illustrated chanson manuscripts, of a type popular in France in the first quarter of the twentieth century, particularly among servicemen. The texts are usually composed of popular songs of the day; the illustrations, often derived (sometimes traced) from popular journals and are brightly, even luridly, coloured. Artistic ability is variable, but the images are frequently romantic and suggestive. While not uncommon, when gathered together these notebooks make an interesting study in contemporary popular culture. by CHANSONS CHANSONS ~ A collection of 5 illustrated chanson manuscripts, of a type popular in France in the first quarter of the twentieth century, particularly among servicemen. The texts are usually composed of popular songs of the day; the illustrations, often derived (sometimes traced) from popular journals and are brightly, even luridly, coloured. Artistic ability is variable, but the images are frequently romantic and suggestive. While not uncommon, when gathered together these notebooks make an interesting study in contemporary popular culture. 1900
    I. 'J.B'. France, c. 1900.

    Folio (335 × 210 mm), pp. [98], plus several blank leaves at end. Text in manuscript, full-page illustrations in crayon or… (more)

    I. 'J.B'. France, c. 1900.

    Folio (335 × 210 mm), pp. [98], plus several blank leaves at end. Text in manuscript, full-page illustrations in crayon or pastel. Lightly browned throughout, fragile at edges with minor fraying, all the result of poor quality paper. In original cloth backed notebook. Binding rather worn. A handsome chanson manuscript, anonymous but for the decorative initials 'J.B'. The songs include: 'Le Pigeon blessé', 'Sous les Platanes', 'Carmen', 'Chagrins d'Amour', 'Juanita', 'La Femme est un jouette' and 'Mort pour la France'.

    II. Émile LEBLOND. Dijon, c. 1904.

    Manuscript, 4to (214 × 170 mm), pp. 1-12, 17-98, 101-102, 105-270, 280-320, several blanks at rear. Evidence of 3 leaves removed, perhaps by the maker. Numerous drawings in ink and crayon, decorative headings. Original cloth notebook. Rather rubbed. An illustrated chansonnier made by a soldier of the First Artillery, stationed at Dijon. This is an especially full example which gives some unusual details as to its making: Leblond occasionally records the number of weeks he has been in service and there is evidence of carbon tracing, demonstrating the use of illustrations from popular journals in making these chansonniers. The songs include: 'Berceuse militaire', 'L'Africaine', 'Chapeai bas devant la Marseillais', 'Vous êtes si jolie', 'Four frou' and 'Ma Ninette'.

    III. Yvan LOREAU. Chemillé-sur-Seine, c. 1909.

    Manuscript, small 4to (216 × 175 mm), pp. [2], 88, ruled paper. Drawings in ink and crayon. Original limp wrappers. Yvan Loreau writes on his title-page that this manuscript was made 'Sur le tour de France' and begun on 11th December 1909. Songs include: 'Voila la Parisienne', 'Le petit coeur de Ninon', 'Ah! Ma p'tit Lili', 'Le ruban bleu de l'hirondelle' and 'Pas sur la bouche'.

    IV. Alexandre MOULLET, 'le gros bâtarde'. Valence, 1913-14.

    Manuscript (on squared paper), 4to (222 × 170 mm), pp. [152]. Drawings in ink and crayon, partially unfinished. Some thumbing and fraying, one leaf loose. Original half cloth notebook. An illustrated chansonnier made on the eve of the Great War for one Alexandre Moullet, picturesquely nicknamed 'le gros bâtarde', of the 5eme Régiment d'Artillerie lourde, 8ème batterie, at Valence (Drôme). Songs include: 'Les petites Toulonnaises'; 'Soldat vierge', 'Marins de Marseille', 'Coeur Crise', 'Sur la Riviera' and 'Le dernier Tango'.

    V. REDON. Valbonne (Ain), 1921.

    Manuscript on paper, small 4to (216 × 170 mm), pp. [117], plus numerous blanks at rear, numerous drawings in pencil, ink and crayon (a couple cut from newspapers or journals, decorative headings. Original half cloth notebook. Songs include: 'Tu voudrais me voir pleurer', 'La vals du pastis', 'Vous rendez tous les hommes fou' and 'Le train fatale'. One verse is subscribed 'Fait a la Valbonne le 12-12-21 une soiré de grand froid'.

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  • Idée sur les Romans... publiée avec préface, notes et documents inédits... by SADE, Donatien Alphonse François, marquis de. Octave UZANNE, editor. SADE, Donatien Alphonse François, marquis de. Octave UZANNE, editor. ~ Idée sur les Romans... publiée avec préface, notes et documents inédits... Paris: Édouard Rouveyre, 1878.
    One of 100 copies, this example one of 65 on Whatman paper, of Uzanne’s influential edition of de Sade’s most important and enduring critical essay.… (more)

    One of 100 copies, this example one of 65 on Whatman paper, of Uzanne’s influential edition of de Sade’s most important and enduring critical essay. It had first appeared as a preface to Les crimes de l’amour (1799) and sought to trace the origins and development of the modern or psychological novel from classical literature to the eighteenth-century works of Rousseau, Voltaire, De Graffigny, Marivaux and Crébillon fils and in de Sade’s own Aline et Valcourt. De Sade identifies Richardson and Fielding as the masters of the genre (‘C’est Richardson, c’est Fielding qui nous ont appris que l’étude profonde du coeur de l’homme, véritable dédale de la nature, peut seul inspirer le romancier...’) and he prefers Lewis to Radcliffe among gothic novelists. He also denies his authorship of Justine, attributed to him by contemporaries, writing ‘jamais je n’ai fait de tels ouvrages, et je n’en ferai sûrement jamais.’

    Uzanne adds a bio-bibliographical preface, the latter portion providing a checklist of de Sade’s works and a critical overview of nineteenth-century studies.

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  • [TIPHAIGNE DE LA ROCHE, Charles-François.] ~ L’Amour Dévoilé, ou le Système des Simpathistes, où l’on explique l’origine de l’Amour, des Inclinations, des Simpathies, des Aversions, des Antipathies, etc. [n.p. ?Low Countries], 1749.
    First editions. Tiphaigne de la Roche’s L’Amour Dévoilé is a notable attempt to explain love and sexual attraction in mechanistic terms. The author considers the… (more)

    First editions. Tiphaigne de la Roche’s L’Amour Dévoilé is a notable attempt to explain love and sexual attraction in mechanistic terms. The author considers the role of ‘la matière Sympathique’, which he believed to be a type of vapour exhaled by both animals and humans, and its action upon the senses of a member of the opposite sex. This rational approach to the subject makes overt reference to Leeuwenhoek who had explained the action of skin pores and appears to prefigure modern research into pheromones.

    The author studied medicine at the University of Caen and practised as a physician. L’Amour Dévoilé is his first published work preceding several speculative and utopian novels, notably Giphantie (1760, the title an anagram of his name) in which he anticipated several modern developments including photography and synthetic food.

    Pernetti, author of the moral romance Histoire de Favoride was a canon of the cathedral at Lyon and a prominent antiquary of that city. He was also a freemason and wrote a short treatise on that subject. Gay I, 115 (L’Amour Dévoilé).

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  • courtly and erotic
    Amitiez, amours et amourettes... by LE PAYS, René, Sieur du Plessis-Villeneuve. LE PAYS, René, Sieur du Plessis-Villeneuve. ~ Amitiez, amours et amourettes... ‘Grenoble, & se vend a Paris’: Charles de Sercy, 1664.
    A rare and celebrated courtly collection of amatory letters and verses. Le Pays’ post as a government official at Grenoble apparently left him ample leisure… (more)

    A rare and celebrated courtly collection of amatory letters and verses. Le Pays’ post as a government official at Grenoble apparently left him ample leisure for literary composition, and this, his best-known work was much admired by the duchesse de Nemours, who became his patron. Le Pays seems to have found special favour among female readers, though the author of many of the letters here portrays himself rather as a high-class sex tourist --a curious letter from London extols the splendour of English women’s breasts and their visibility.

    It was reprinted numerous times (several editions appeared in the same year). The first edition (also 1664) bears a Grenoble imprint, Gay denotes ours, with the Paris Sercy imprint, the second. Despite the number of early editions, legitimate or pirated, printed in the same year all appear rare outside France. Gay I, 99.

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