Item #CNAP106 Bouvard & Pécuchet. Gustave Flaubert, Mark Polizzotti, Introduction.

Bouvard & Pécuchet

San Francisco: The Arion Press, 2016. Hardcover. The Arion edition is set in a rare Czechoslovakian type named for its designer, Oldrich Menhart (1897-1962), a calligrapher, lettering artist, and type designer of over twenty faces. This is our first use of Menhart type. The paper is a mould-made sheet from the Magnani mill in Italy. The page format is 13-7/8 by 10 inches, 232 pages, printed in two colors throughout. The book is sewn by hand and bound in covers with two colors of cloth, blue-green and violet-magenta, and is presented in a cloth-covered slipcase. The edition is limited to 300 numbered copies for sale. New. Item #CNAP106

The French master Gustave Flaubert’s last work, the comic novel Bouvard & Pécuchet, was written during the last six years of his life. It was the concluding and all-consuming effort of his career. Although he never finished it, the work is a masterpiece of satire and humor just as it is.

In the introduction, the prize-winning translator and critic Mark Polizzotti, writes: "Bouvard and Pécuchet is not only a great precursor of Modernism--this 'epic of ordinary life,' as its author called it, this comic panorama in which nothing happens, anticipates not only Joyce and Musil but also the amusing non-plots of films like Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger than Paradise or TV shows like Seinfeld." Picture the comedians Laurel and Hardy in a makeshift laboratory, conducting improbable experiments based on misinformation garnered from random readings in their jumbled library. This is the story of Bouvard and Pécuchet, two mid-nineteenth century copyists, soon to be replaced by typists, who have retired from their careers transcribing business documents by hand.  

In keeping with the occupations of Flaubert's heroes, all the pages of the edition are decorated with hand-written passages in the margins, excerpted from the adjacent text block. The scribe is Andrew Hoyem, who copied selections made by Mark Polizzotti. The frontispiece is a transcription of the opening of chapter one, where Bouvard and Pécuchet meet by chance on a Paris park bench on a hot summer day.

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Price: $750.00