“A DELIBERATE PIECE OF LITERARY MYSTIFICATION”
(CARTIER-BRESSON, Henri) RIMBAUD, Arthur. Vowels. With Watercolor Woodblock Prints by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Translation by Wallace Fowlie. (Hadley, Massachusetts): Limited Editions Club (Wild Carrot Press), (1996). Large oblong folio, original half russet morocco, beige linen boards. Housed in original linen clamshell box. $1800.
Exquisitely illustrated limited edition of Rimbaud’s haunting sonnet, number 145 of only 300 copies signed by Henri Cartier-Bresson, who created three original watercolor prints for this work.
Rimbaud wrote Sonnet des voyelles ("Vowels") in 1871, at the age of 17, and saw it published in Paul Verlaine's Les Poetes Maudits ("The Cursed Poets") in 1884. The experimental poem has been "variously interpreted as inspired by a colored alphabet [Rimbaud] used as a child, by the alchemical colors, and as a deliberate piece of literary mystification" (Reid, 593). To complement the evocative language of this visual poem, Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the 20th century's leading photographers, produced three watercolors rendered in multi-colored woodblock prints on handmade Japanese paper. English translations with interlinear original French. Limited Editions Club prospectus laid in.
A splendid production in fine condition. Scarce.