When the illustrations are more interesting than the novel: Le Livre de Demain

We write quite frequently on this blog about donations to the University Library, not because this material necessarily makes up a large proportion of what we acquire, but more probably because we (the people writing these posts) find old books to be interesting. That is the case with a dozen volumes that we accepted as a donation in the series Le livre de demain, published by Arthème Fayard. I’m sure the novels in these books are worthwhile and interesting, but we accepted them primarily because of their illustrations. For the purposes of the UL, while the novels themselves are unlikely to be heavily used, the illustrations are much more interesting.

All books in this series have woodcuts created specifically for the publications. They are in general by illustrators who are represented elsewhere in the UL. The novels sometimes appear elsewhere in the UL, sometimes not.

A couple of examples of these novels and their illustrations follow:

Ariane, jeune fille russe

Written by Claude Anet, the pseudonym of Jean Schopfer (a writer and tennis player), this novel was adapted several times for cinema– most notably for a 1957 film by Billy Wilder. Cambridge libraries have numerous copies of the novel (and English translations). This edition, which stands at 2016.9.4412, has 29 woodcuts by Angelina Beloff.

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La fée de Port-Cros, ou, La voie sans retour

Written by Henry Bordeaux, our copy (2016.9.4413) in this series is illustrated by Jean Constant Raymond Renefer, who illustrated one other book from the collection in the UL. He was primarily a painter, most well-known for his paintings of soldiers during the First World War.

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Josh Hutchinson

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