Sunday, November 17, 2013

Litanies for the first quarter of the moon - Jules Laforgue

“Beautiful cat’s eye
Of our destiny…”

Fourteen incantatory couplets evoking the luminous mysteries of the young moon, like the chant of a lost lunar ceremony. The author, Jules Laforgue (1860 -1887) was a Uruguayan-born Parisian dandy, one of the pioneers of French symbolism, and an important influence on Modernist poetry. He died of consumption aged 27, followed shortly after by his young English wife Leah, of the same cause.

Mark Valentine here provides a new version of the poem in English, published for the first time, responding to the original’s exquisite and elusive French, also included. He admits to taking a few liberties in the quest to get the right effect in the other tongue. Each copy of this delicate lunar grimoire is handmade. Jo Valentine has designed a pocket-sized hardback book, bound with a Coptic stitch. The cover depicts a crescent moon stencilled in silver, framed in a Moorish arch, while the inside pages are of hand-painted watercolour paper with printed blue parchment overlays.

This is the fourth publication from the Valentine & Valentine imprint, and is in a limited, numbered edition of 25 copies only. Update - all copies have now been taken. We hope to announce further handmade books in 2014.

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