France: Jean-Jacques Pauvert éditeur, 1965. Reprint Edition. Quarto, publisher's stiff paper wraps.
Postwar reprint edition of one of Raymond Roussel’s best known works, an elaborately fantastical novel constructed as a series of games and dreams, symbols and episodes, without explanation or justification, as a wealthy scientist leads a tour of the morbid inventions on display at his estate. Roussel was a French poet, novelist, playwright and musician, an eccentric figure of 20th-century French literature whose inscrutable symbolism, deadpan tone and abundant language-games influenced literary and artistic movements and figures including Surrealism, Oulipo, the nouveau roman movement, Jean Cocteau, and Marcel Duchamp. Championed by John Ashbery, Roussel was never famous in his own lifetime, and often funded the publication of his work with his own inheritance. David Wallace wrote of him in the New Yorker that "By following the sound of words, rather than their sense, Roussel could jump the tracks of his thought and explore new routes of inquiry." Reissued here by the editor Jean-Jacques Pauvert who was known for publishing the writing of the Marquis de Sade in the 1950s, the book was originally published in 1914. Accompanying drawings and sketches printed on blue paper collected by Jean Ferry, a French writer and the first serious scholar of Roussel. Text in French. Owner’s inscription to front endpaper, corners bumped, small stain to text block edge, light overall rubbing. Very good. Item #3326