Tuesday, June 24th, 2014...9:00 am

Cork, resin, and rope

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Mansour 2This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.  

In the course of these posts on the Santo Domingo Collection, numerous fine, extravagant, and perhaps even ostentatious bindings and enclosures have been showcased. This week, we bring you the first of two books that extend past the codex form altogether. Pictured here is Le bleu des fonds, a short play by the Surrealist poet and author Joyce Mansour, who was born in England to Egyptian parents, but spent much of her later career writing in French.

Mansour 3

It was published in 1968 in an edition of 1,999 numbered copies by Le Soleil Noir; of those copies, only 99 were issued with the unusual features seen here. A hemp rope connects the cork-covered slipcase to a clear cylinder of solid polyester, in which is encased a color engraving by the play’s illustrator, Pierre Alechinsky.

Mansour 1

Two additional engravings are inserted in the text. While the volume itself is attractively designed and illustrated, its enclosure sets it apart from any other in Houghton’s collection.

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Joyce Mansour. Le bleu des fonds. Paris: Le Soleil Noir, 1968. PQ2673.A5 B6 1968x.

Thanks to rare book cataloger Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.

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