“WHY DOES MY HEART BEAT SO FAST WHILE I WRITE TO YOU?”: LIMITED BLACK SUN EDITION OF LACLOS’ LIAISONS DANGEREUSES, WITH 14 FINE COLOR PLATES BY ALASTAIR, ONE OF 1000 NUMBERED COPIES
LACLOS, Pierre Choderlos de. Les Liaisons Dangereuses… With Illustrations by Alastair. Paris: Black Sun, 1929. Two volumes. Large quarto, full red morocco, raised bands, gilt decorated spines, gilt dentelles, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt. $1700.
Limited edition of this richly illustrated, two-volume work, number 270 of 1000 (1020 total) printed in hand-set type on Moirans Paper, with 14 sumptuous color plates by Alastair, English text from Ernest Dowson's 1898 translation.
This lavishly illustrated limited edition of Laclos' Les Liaisons Dangereuses features 14 striking tissue-guarded two-color plates by "Alastair," the German-born artist and illustrator Baron Hans Henning Voight, who derived his provocative style from Aubrey Beardsley, and is famed for a seductive combination of "decorative elegance with a fascination with the perverse, sinister and satanic" (Peppin & Micklethwait). Laclos' influential and highly eroticized view of a struggle for power at the heart of French aristocracy first appeared only seven years before the French Revolution. It soon became an "underground classic… so perfect a construction of a drama through letters that no one… has ever been able to rival Laclos' mastery of the genre. It is a perfection… the best, the most extreme, and the last of its kind" (Hollier, 537-43). Printed under the direction of Harry and Caresse Crosby at Black Sun in a total edition of 1020 copies: 1000 numbered copies on Moirans Paper, 15 on Japan with an Alastair drawing and five lettered copies hors commerce. Owner bookplate in each volume.
A fine copy, beautifully bound.