Jean-Jacques Pauvert was born in 1926 and spent his childhood at Sceaux, a Southern suburb of Paris about 10 kilometres from the centre of the City and famous for its landscaped gardens designed by André Le Nôtre (1613 - 1700). He began his education at the Lycée Lakanal, where a love of literature was encouraged in the young student by his teacher, José Lupin. Other students who owed their future success to this school included Jean Giraudoux, Alain-Fournier and Maurice Allais, the winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for economics. He continued his studies, briefly, at the école alsacienne on rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Paris, where his paternal grandfather, Paul Pauvert, had been a teacher. Early in 1942, he joined the staff of the Gallimard Bookshop on the boulevard Raspail where he soon became acquainted with many famous publishers, authors and collectors.
Somewhere, perhaps on my Scissors and Paste website, or in some equally public arena, I foolishly wrote that his 1949 edition of Sade's Les 120 Journées de Sodome was "Pauvert's maiden effort as a publisher." This is actually quite wrong, although it may have been his maiden clandestine publication. In fact, he started publishing four years earlier, in 1945, when he founded Éditions Palimugre. His first book was a reprint of Explication de l'étranger, an essay by Sartre on Camus' novel that had originally appeared in the cultural review Cahiers du Sud. A plaquette of 31 pages, it was issued in January 1946 in a small but unspecified number of copies on vélin de Lana, Lana supérieur and Japon.
This was followed, also in 1946, by Sur le femmes by Henri de Montherlant, a reprint of six essays - (Le Ménage de Tolstoï - Don Juan satisfait - Sur es Femmes - Lettres de Femmes - Mères et Filles - Les Femmes et la Poèsie) - first published in April 1942 by éditions du Sagittaire. In the same year Pauvert also published a pretty edition of Le Pauvre Bougre et le Bon Génie, a one-act play by Alphonse Allais that had first been performed at the Théâtre des Mathurins on May 24th, 1889.
Montherlant was an author who greatly appealed to Pauvert for in 1947 he issued Il y a encore des paradis and Pasiphaë by the same author, the latter being illustrated with two plates by Cocteau.
Pauvert's interest in what might be called the underside of literature began when he was about sixteen or seventeen. One of his favourite books was already the archetype libertine novel Liaisons dangereuses (1782) by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, which he would reprint in a handsome, illustrated edition in 1959, but in the Winter of 1942-1943 a bookseller with whom he had already done some business introduced him to his first truly erotic books, Le Con d'Irène, L'histoire de l'Œil and Les Cent vingt journées de Sodome in their original, clandestine editions. He was at first puzzled by these texts, and impressed by their outspokenness, especially the latter, and it didn't take long for him to look seriously into the possibility of publishing an œuvres complètes of Sade.
He began modestly enough in early 1947, with an edition of Idée sur les romans, an essay by Sade that had originally formed the Introduction to Les Crimes de l'amour (1800). Pauvert then ventured for the first time into very murky waters indeed with the first two volumes of an openly published edition of l'Histoire de Juliette, and therein lays a puzzle. In all copies of this edition that I've seen referred to the work is described as being complete in five volumes, and yet in his memoirs he writes: "Le dix volumes de l'Histoire de Juliette furent enfin terminés d'imprimer en Juillet 1949" (La Traversée du livre, p. 163). He also states: "Je m'entêtai, et fin décembre 1947, mon imprimeur (qui n'avait pas voulu mettre son nom : je le comprenais) me livrait le deux premiers volumes de l'édition intégrale de l'Histoire de Juliette (op. cit., p. 145), which seems to be a mistake since November 1948 is the date given in all copies of volume one that I've encountered.
Ten volumes would seem to imply the whole of La Nouvelle Justine for historically the novel comprises La Nouvelle Justine (vols. 1-4) and it's companion or sequel l'Histoire de Juliette (vols. 5-10), but so far as I can tell Pauvert did not first publish the four volumes of La Nouvelle Justine until May 1953. What appears to have occurred is that for some reason - possibly economic - Pauvert decided to take the traditional six volumes of l'Histoire de Juliette and split them into two, creating in effect a 12-volume work. This idea is reinforced by the solitary copy of volume 1 in the Bibliothèque Nationale, which is described at length by Pascal Pia (Les Livres de l'Enfer, pp. 394,5). It is in two separate volumes or parts of 240 pages in all, part one having 128 pages and part two being paginated 129-240. The two parts have white wrappers, with the titlepages repeated on the front wrappers in red and black. After the titlepage of part 2, Pauvert has added the following note:
A la demande de la plupart des souscripteurs, nous avons conçu la fabrication de ces volumes de manière que l'on puisse les donner à relier deux à deux. C'est pour-quoi le precedent volume ce terminait ainsi que celui-ci commence: en pleine page. On aura d'ailleurs remarqué que le foliotage se poursuivait d'un volume à l'autre.
And at the end of part 2 is:
"La présente édition de l'Histoire de Juliette sera complète en douze volumes" while at the conclusion of volume 5 is: "Fin du dixième et dernier volume."
At what point it was decided by Pauvert that the project could be completed in ten rather than twelve volumes is uncertain, and nor is it clear whether the two parts of volume one in the Bibliothèque Nationale are an isolated oddity since, as mentioned above, all the copies I've seen described have been in five volumes - two parts in each - and, as an additional mystification, are bound in black, paper boards with an abstract design in red signed 'M.P.' [Mario Prassinos].
For information's sake, volume I of l'Histoire de Juliette was printed in November 1948 (pp. 240), II in January 1949 (pp. 240), III in April 1949 (pp. 368), IV in May 1949 (pp. 240), and V in July 1949 (pp. 355).
Post-WWII censorship in France was rigorous and unrelenting, and it curious that Pauvert should decide to publish something so outrageous as l'Histoire de Juliette with his name on it and the address of his parent's garage (39 rue des Coudrais, Sceaux), but go 'underground' in 1948 with two books, the edition of Les 120 Journées de Sodome already referred to above, and a more egalitarian edition of Genet's novel Pompes funèbres which had first been published the preceding year by Gaston Gallimard in an expensive édition de luxe for collectors.
Unlike his contemporary Eric Losfeld, who relished the sub rosa world and published dozens of books secretly in the 50s and 60s, Pauvert seems to have been uneasy with the role and I suspect that his ambition ran to grander things than the subterranean existence of a pornographer. His clandestine output was limited to just ten works, all but one of them being reprints. With the exception of Aventures lubriques, an anonymous 30s novel, the books he published were all remarkable examples of erotic writing. But to continue in this vein would have limited him and so he emerged from the darkness and attacked the forces of censorship head-on.
Using his own name he would publish books by authors who preferred not to use theirs, such as Histoire d'O (1954) by 'Pauline Réage' [Anne Desclos], Lourdes, lentes… (1969) by 'Steve Masson' [André Hardellet], and Cruelle Zélande (1979) [by Jacques Serguine]. He was also a great leveler. The intellectual champions of literary freedom who are so quick to rush to the defense of Great Literature - the cases involving Lady Chatterley's Lover and Ulysses spring to mind - seldom support with equal zeal less celebrated works and in doing so deny to others the liberty they demand for themselves.
Pauvert recognized this. Prompted by the prosecutions in 1970 of Pour la liberation du Brésil (Paris: Seuil), a French translation of a book by Carlos Marighela, and of Pierre Guyotat's éden, éden, éden (Paris: Gallimard), he threw down a challenge to the authorities in July 1971 with L'Enfer du sexe by 'Youl Belhomme,' a pornographic novel which was accompanied by an essay of his own composition called Le Vrai problème de la censure. Describing the novel in unflattering terms to ensure it could not be defended on literary grounds, he wrote:
L'Enfer du Sexe est un petit roman pornographique écrite très vite, pour gagner de l'argent, par un auteur débutant qui ne pretend pas au genie, ni même à une grande maîtrise de sa langue. Si je le mets tel quel en circulation, sous mon nom, c'est pour protester à ma manière, c'est pour attirer l'attention…
The book of course fell foul of the law the month it was published. On page 7468 of the issue of the Journal officiel for July 28th 1971 it was proscribed under the law of July 16th 1949 that limits what those under the age of 18 may be allowed to read.
Provocations of this sort mark Pauvert as one of the true champions of literary freedom. He deserves our gratitude.
Jean-Pierre Dutel, Bibliographie des Ouvrages érotiques Publiés Clandestinement en Français entre 1920 et 1970 (Paris: The Author, 2005).
Jean-Jacques Pauvert, La Traversée du Livre (Paris: Viviane Hamy, 2004).
Pascal Pia, Les Livres de l'Enfer du XVIe Siècle à Nos Jours (Paris: Arthème Fayard, 1998).
AVENTURES | LUBRIQUES | EN HOLLANDE | MCMXLVIII
Collation: 8vo. 18.8 x 12 cm. -108, 114, 128. pp 184. Printed on white wove paper. Six erotic plates, unsigned, printed in brown.
Contents: pp. [1,2] blank. p. , 'AVENTURES LUBRIQUES'. p. 'CET OUVRAGE A ÉTÉ TIRÉ | À PETIT NOMBRE SUR PAPIER | ALFA MOUSSE'. p.  Title, as above, reverse blank. pp. 7-183, text. p.  blank.
Binding: Coral pink wrappers. Front wrapper repeats title &c. from titlepage, all in black. Compiler's copy has been rebound in plumb cloth, with front wrapper only preserved and laid down.
Notes: Published in 1953 by Pauvert in collaboration with a certain "Madame Francoise," a book-seller who imported and exported clandestine literature between Belgium and France, and which was printed for them by Imprimerie de Nesle. According to J.-P. Dutel (Bibliographie des Ouvrages érotiques publiés clandestinement en Français entre 1920 et 1970, entry no. 1078), this is a new edition of a pornographic novel originally published at Paris about 1938 by Maurice Duflou, and called Aventures d'un Satyre, but the history of the book is confusing. At an auction at Nouveau Drouot on March 11th, 1987 a copy of Aventures Lubriques is offered as part of Lot 23. It is described as an octavo of 179 pages, with no date or publisher given, but the cataloguer suggests Paris, c. 1935. The note to the entry reads: "Edition originale illustrée de 8 hors-texte signés Eres. La typographie du texte semble avoir été exécutée à la machine à écrire." The original edition of Aventures d'une satyre was credited to 'Jane de Rozat' and had the imprint 'Édition privée.' It had 159 pages and 11 coloured illustrations, and the last four digits of the pressmark of the Kinsey Institute copy confirm M. Dutel's estimate of the date: 843.8 R893 a2 1938.) Despite the print run being described as being 'tiré | a petit nombre' 2,000 copies are believed to have been actually issued. A reprint or reprints of Aventures d'une satyre were prosecuted in 1950 and 1952, and reprints of Aventures lubriques were prosecuted in 1957 and 1958.
GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE | LES | EXPLOITS | D'UN JEUNE | DON JUAN | A PHILADELPHIE | 1944
Collation: 8vo. 22.7 x 15.5 cm. No signatures, but [1-88]. pp. 128. Printed on heavy, white wove paper.
Contents: pp. [1,2] blank. p.  'LES EXPLOITS D'UN JEUNE | DON JUAN', reverse blank. p.  title, as above. p.  'IL A ETE TIRE DE CET OUVRAGE, | QUI NE SERA PAS MIS DANS LE | COMMERCE TROIS CENTS EXEM- | PLAIRES, TOUS NUMEROTES, | RESERVES AUX SOUSCRIPTEURS. | EXEMPLAIRE NO [machine numbered]'. pp.  -127, text, p.  blank. Ini-tial letters on first words of chapters printed in red.
Binding: Cream wrappers. Front wrapper repeats title &c. from titlepage, but all in red.
Notes: Printed for Pauvert in 1953 by Gaston Coquette using type set by Madame Brochard of rue d'Alesia. Although the edition is stated to be 300 copies, the number is in fact believed to be 2,000. The novel is a translation, by Apollinaire, of Kinder-Geilheit. Geständnisse eines Knaben (Berlin: 1891). For details of the German original, see Hayn/Gotendorf, vol. 3, pp. 551,2. Elias Gaucher originally published Apollinaire's translation at Paris about 1905. The compiler's copy is from the collection of the late Gershon Legman, who has written in his distinctive handwriting on the back wrapper: "[Paris: J.-J. Pauvert, 1953]." A piracy of this edition, done possibly by Eric Losfeld, was published about 1958. It has the same imprint, but 133 pages.
Copy used: compiler's collection.
GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE | LES | ONZE MILLE | VERGES | EN HOLLANDE | MXMXLVIII [sic]
Collation: 18.5 x 11.5 cm. , 2-118. pp. 168. Printed on white wove paper.
Contents: pp. [1,2] blank. p.  'LES ONZE MILLE VERGES', reverse blank. p.  title, as above. p.  'CET OUVRAGE A ÉTÉ TIRÉ | A PETIT NOMBRE SUR PAPIER | ALFA MOUSSE'. p.  'LA PRÉFACE QUE NOUS DONNONS | CI-APRÈS EST GÉNÉRALEMENT | ATTRIBUÉE A LOUIS ARAGON | ELLE FUT PUBLIÉE EN 1930'. p.  blank. pp. [9-17], Preface. p.  blank. pp. -168, text.
Binding: Light blue wrappers. Front wrapper repeats title &c., including the incorrect date, from title-page.
Notes: Published about 1953. Despite being typographically identical to several of his other clandestine books (Aventures lubriques, &c.), Pauvert has inexplicably denied being responsible for this title. It is true, however, that the paper on which it is printed is not so good as his other publications, at least on the compiler's copy. This edition includes the Preface, unsigned, but generally considered to be by Louis Aragon, which first appeared in the edition of this novel published by René Bonnel in 1930 and in most subsequent reprintings. Despite the print run being described as being 'tiré | a petit nombre' 2,000 copies are believed to have been actually issued. Les Onze mille verges was originally printed and published by Elias Gaucher at Paris about 1907. A second edition from the same publisher appeared about a year later.
Copy used: compiler's collection.
GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE | POéSIES LIBRES | CORTèGE PRIAPIQUE | JULIE OU LA ROSE | AMSTERDAM | "A L'ENSEIGNE DE LA LIBERTé CHOISIE" | 1948.
Collation: 18.5 x 11.7 cm. No signatures, but , [2-38]. pp. viii+32. Printed on white wove paper. Compiler's copy watermarked Lafuma Frères.
Contents: pp. [i,ii], blank. p. [iii] 'POÉSIES LIBRES', reverse blank. p. [v] title, as above. p. [vi] 'CE VOLUME ÉTÉ TIRÉ A 525 EXEMPLAIRES, | DONT 25 SUR PAPIER O' ANNAM, ET | 500 SUR PAPIER LAFUMA FRÈRES. | Exemplaire No [machine numbered]'. p. [vii] 'CORTèGE PRIAPIQUE', reverse blank. p. -27, text. p.  blank. p.  'ACHEVÉ D'IMPRIMER | EN AVRIL | 1948 | AMSTERDAM', reverse blank. pp. [31,32] blank.
Binding: Light cream wrappers. Front wrapper repeats title &c. from the titlepage.
Notes: Published in 1948 by Pauvert, and printed for him by Gaston Coquette. Cortège Priapique was originally published in 1925 by René Bonnel and the bookseller René Picart. Only the poems titled Chapeau Tombeau and 696666…69 are by Apollinaire. The remainder are unsigned pastiches by Pascal Pia. Julie ou la Rose was first published by René Bonnel in 1927. Only éphitalame, Petit Balai and Le Teint are by Apollinaire. The remainder are unsigned pastiches by Pascal Pia. Despite the stated limitation, in the region of 1,000 copies were actually printed.
Copy used: compiler's collection.
IRèNE | Chez l'Auteur | MCMLII
Collation: 8vo. 22.5 x 14 cm. No signatures, but [1-144]. pp. 110. The 5th leaf (comprising pp. 9,10) is wanting from all copies. Its existence is inferred from a stub remaining between pp.  and 11. Printed on papier vélin, with running heads and page numbers printed in red. No limitation is stated, but 2,000 copies are believed to have been printed.
Contents: pp. [3-6] blank. p.  'IRÈNE', reverse blank. p.  title, as above, reverse blank. pp. 11- text. pp. [109-112] blank.
Binding: Pale cream wrappers. Front wrapper repeats title &c. from titlepage, but all in red.
Notes: Published by Pauvert in 1952. Copies have been noted with dark blue wrappers on the front of which is a label on which is printed the title Irène within a border or frame. These are thought to be the handiwork of the printer or binder, and are not legitimate. There is in addition a tirage de luxe of this work printed on vergé d'Arches limited to 100 copies on which the book's original title is spelled in full, 'LE | CON | D'IRÈNE'. This limited edition is openly copyrighted in Pauvert's name, and has an engraved frontispiece by Hans Bellmer, who also designed the book. In all other respects, including the missing 5th leaf, the tirage de luxe is the same as the trade edition. The compiler's copy is from the collection of the late Gershon Legman, who has written in ink and pencil in his distinctive handwriting on the back wrapper: "[Paris, 1952]. [J.-J. Pauvert] | bought 1953 (Deluxe ed. w. full title)." Le Con d'Irène was written by Louis Aragon, and originally published in 1928 by René Bonnel.
Copy used: compiler's collection.
LORD AUCH | HISTOIRE | DE | L'ŒIL | NOUVELLE VERSION | BURGOS | 1941
Collation: 8vo. 18.6 x 11.7 cm. No signatures, but [1-88]. pp. 128. Printed on white wove paper.
Contents: pp. [1,2] blank. p.  'HISTOIRE DE L'ŒIL', reverse blank. p.  title, as above. p.  'Il a été a tiré de cet ouvrage, qui ne sera pas | mis dans le commerce, cinq cents exemplaires, | tous numérotés, réservés aux souscripteurs. | Exemplaire No [machine numbered]'. p.  'L'ŒIL DE CHAT', reverse blank. pp. -15, text. p.  blank. p.  'L'ARMOIRE NORMANDE', reverse blank. pp. -26, text. p.  'L'ODEUR DE MARCELLE', reverse blank. pp. -34, text. p.  'UNE TACHE DE SOLEIL', reverse blank. pp. -44, text. p.  'UN FILET DE SANG', reverse blank. pp. -51, text. p.  blank. p.  'SIMON', reverse blank. pp. -60, text. p.  'MARCELLE', reverse blank. pp. -68, text. p.  'LES YEUX OUVERTS | DE LA MORTE', reverse blank. pp. -76, text. p.  'ANIMAUX OBSCÈNES', reverse blank. pp. -83, text. p. , blank. p.  'L'ŒIL DE GRANERO', reverse blank. pp. ]87]-93, text. p.  blank. p.  'SOUS LE SOLEIL | DE SEVILLE', reverse blank. pp. -102, text. p.  'LA CONFESSION | DE SIMONE ET LA MESSE | DE SIR EDMUND', reverse blank. pp. -110, text. p.  'LES PATTES DE MOUCHE', reverse blank. pp. -120, text. p.  'RéMINISCENCES', reverse blank. pp. -127, text. p.  blank.
Binding: Gray wrappers. Front wrapper repeats title &c. from titlepage, but all in red.
Notes: Published by Pauvert in 1951, and printed for him by Imprimerie de Nesle from type set by Madame Brochard of rue d'Alesia. The text of the last section, Réminiscences, comprising pp. -127, is printed in a smaller typeface than the rest of the book because, apparently, Pauvert didn't order enough paper for the job. Despite the stated limitation of 500 copies, it is thought that 2,000 were actually printed. The compiler's copy is from the collection of the late Gershon Legman, who has written in his distinctive handwriting on the back wrapper: "[par Georges Bataille] | [Paris: J.-J. Pauvert, 1953]." Histoire de l'œil was originally published at Paris in 1928 by René Bonnel in an edition of 134 copies, with a frontispiece and seven plates by André Masson.
Copy used: compiler's collection.
[Hand-written within a rough, abstract drawing by Jean Cocteau:] Jean Genet | Pompes | Funèbres.
Collation: 8vo. 18.5 x 11.7 cm. -248. pp. [vi]+[1,2],3-. Printed on white wove paper.
Contents: pp. [i-iv] blank. p. [v] 'Pompes | Funèbres'. p. [vi] 'Cette édition strictement hors - commerce | et réservé aux seuls souscripteurs a été | achevé d'imprimer en avril 1948 et limitée | à 1.500 exemplaires numéroté. | [machine numbered]'. p.  title, as above, reverse blank. pp. 3- text. pp. [376-378] blank.
Binding: Wrappers illustrated with a b&w photographic montage designed by Pierre Jahan (1909-2003). The front wrapper has the author's name in an oblong white block with rounded ends above the title, which has shadowed caps and is partially contained within overlapping white shields.
Notes: This is the second edition, and a joint venture published in an edition of 1500 copies in April 1948 by Pauvert and Paul Morihen, Jean Cocteau's secretary. It was printed for them by Gaston Coquette, who a year earlier had printed the original Ã©dition de luxe for Gaston Gallimard, which had the false imprint 'A Bikini, aux dépens de quelques amateurs.'
PIERRE LOUŸS | TROIS FILLES | ET [sic] LEUR MÈRE | PARIS | A L'ENSEIGNE DE LA MAISON PERDUE | 308, Rue Saint-Jacques
Collation: 8vo. 18.5 x 11.8 cm. No signatures, but [1-198]. pp. [i,ii],[1-6],7-. Printed on white wove paper.
Contents: pp. [i,ii] & [1,2] blank. p.  'TROIS FILLES | ET [sic] LEUR MÈRE', reverse blank. p.  title, as above. p.  'Le tirage de ce livre | est strictement limité | à cinq cent exemplaires, | tous numérotés, | et réservés aux souscripteurs | EXEMPLAIRE No [machine numbered]'. pp. 7-295, text. p.  blank. p.  'Achevé d'imprimer | en Février 1950 | sur les Presses | de l'Imprimerie Particulière | de l'Editeur | Dépôt legal 1er trimestre 1950.' pp. [298-302] blank.
Binding: Off-white wrappers. Front wrapper repeats title &c. from titlepage, excluding the imprint and address.
Notes: Published by Pauvert about 1950, and printed for him by Imprimerie de Nesle from type set by Madame Brochard of rue d'Alesia. Despite the stated limitation of 500 copies, it is thought that 2,000 were actually printed. There is a rue St.-Jacques in Paris, but the numeration of the addresses doesn't extend to 308. This novel was first published secretly at Paris in 1926 by Pascal Pia and René Bonnel, in facsimile of the author's holograph manuscript, written in his customary purple ink. The title of the original edition was Trois Filles de Leur Mère, but was altered to 'et Leur Mère' in error.
PIERRE MORION | L'ANGLAIS | DÉCRIT | DANS LE | CHATEAU | FERMÉ | OXFORD & CAMBRIDGE | MCMLIII
Collation: 8vo. 22.7 x 14 cm. No signatures, but [1-204]. pp. [vi]+[1-8], 9- Printed on white wove paper. Contents: pp. [i-iv] blank. p. [v] 'L'ANGLAIS DÉCRIT | DANS LE | CHATEAU | FERMÉ', reverse blank. p.  title, as above, reverse blank. p.  'IL A ÉTÉ TIRÉ DE CE LIVRE | TROIS CENT CINQUANTE | EXEMPLAIRES TOUS NUMÉROTÉS | QUI NE SERONT PAS MIS DANS | LE COMMERCE, ÉTANT RÉSERVÉS | A L'AUTEUR | ET AUX SOUSCRIPTEURS | EXEMPLAIRE NO [machine numbered]', reverse blank. p.  'A la mémoire d'E. J. | et pour la Société (secrète) des amis d'Aubrey Beardsley', reverse blank. p.  'je prie que l'on veuille bien considérer ce | livre comme une sorte de corrida.', reverse blank. p. 9-145, text. p.  blank. p.  'ACHEVÉ D'IMPRIMER | LE 2 JUIN MCMLIII'. pp. [148-154] blank.
Binding: Gray card wrappers, with the title 'L'ANGLAIS' printed in red within a double rule oblong frame on a cream paper label on the front wrapper.
Notes: Published by Pauvert in 1953, and designed for him by Hans Bellmer. The initials 'E. J.' in the dedication refer to Edmond Jaloux (1878-1949), the French novelist and critic. It was planned to include seven engravings by Bellmer in this work, but the project was abandoned for technical reasons and the plates were eventually published in Mode d'emploi (Paris: Georges Visat, 1967). Although the limitation notice states that 350 copies were issued, it is believed that 1,000 were in fact printed. Two copies, in the collections of Jean-Pierre Dutel and the late Gérard Nordmann have autograph inscriptions by the author following the date in the achevé d'imprimer which reads: "Coronation Day. Et merde pour la reine de l'Angleterre". The compiler's copy is from the collection of Gershon Legman, who has written in ink on the back wrapper: '[par André PIEYRE de Mandiargues] | [Paris: J.-J. Pauvert] 1953'. And in pencil below this: 'bought, 1953'. This is original edition of this important novel; a piracy published by Eric Losfeld appeared shortly afterwards.
D. A. F. de SADE | LES 120 JOURNÉES | DE SODOME | [this line appears only in vol. 1:] OU L'ÉCOLE DU LIBERTINAGE | (TOME 1) [ (- II), ( - III), ( - IV)] | BRUXELLES | MCMXLVIII
Collation (vol. I): 12mo. No signatures, but [1-144]. pp. [i,ii], [1-6], 7-. Printed on white wove paper.
Collation (vol. II): 12mo. No signatures, but [1-214]. pp. [i,ii], [1-6], 7-. Printed on white wove paper.
Collation (vol. III): 12mo. No signatures, but [1-294]. pp. [i,ii], [1-6], 7-. Printed on white wove paper.
Collation (vol. IV): 12mo. No signatures, but [14, 2-88, 96]. pp. [i,ii], [1-6], 7-. Printed on white wove paper.
Contents (vol. I): pp. [i,ii] blank. p.  'LES 120 JOURNÉES DE SODOME'. p.  'TIRÉ A 750 EXEMPLAIRES | HORS - COMMERCE ET RÉSERVÉS | AUX SOUSCRIPTEURS | EXEMPLAIRE No [machine numbered]'. p.  title, as above, reverse blank. p.  'INTRODUCTION', reverse blank. pp. 7-105, text. p.  blank. p.  'ACHEVÉ D'IMPRIMER | EN AVRIL 1948 | BRUXELLES'. pp. [108-110] blank.
Contents (vol. II): pp. [i,ii] blank. p.  'LES 120 JOURNÉES DE SODOME'. p.  'TIRÉ A 750 EXEMPLAIRES | EXEMPLAIRE No [machine numbered]'. p.  title, as above, reverse blank. p.  'PREMIERE PARTIE | Les 160 passions simples…', reverse blank. pp. 7-162, text. p.  'NOTE DE L'EDITEUR | [rule] | […text of note] p.  'ACHEVÉ D'IMPRIMER | EN JANVIER 1948 | BRUXELLES'. pp. [165-166] blank.
Contents (vol. III): pp. [i,ii] blank. p.  'LES 120 JOURNÉES DE SODOME'. p.  'TIRÉ A 750 EXEMPLAIRES | EXEMPLAIRE No [machine numbered]'. p.  title, as above, reverse blank. p.  'PREMIERE PARTIE | (suite)', reverse blank. pp. 7-, text. p.  blank. p.  'ACHEVÉ D'IMPRIMER | EN AVRIL 1948 | BRUXELLES'. pp. [228-230] blank.
Contents (vol. IV): pp. [i,ii] blank. p.  'LES 120 JOURNÉES DE SODOME'. p.  'TIRÉ A 750 EXEMPLAIRES | HORS - COMMERCE ET RÉSERVÉS | AUX SOUSCRIPTEURS | EXEMPLAIRE No [machine numbered]'. p.  title, as above, reverse blank. p.  'SECONDE PARTIE | Les 150 passions…', reverse blank. pp. 7-, text. pp. [123,4] 'NOTE SUR LES 120 JOURNÉES' signed 'L'EDITEUR'. p.  'TABLE DES QUATRE VOLUMES', reverse blank. p.  'ACHEVÉ D'IMPRIMER | EN AVRIL 1948 | BRUXELLES'. pp. [128-130] blank.
Binding: Cream wrappers. Front wrappers printed in dark blue, repeat titles &c. from the titlepage.
Notes: The copy described here is from the compiler's collection. There is a suggestion - most notably in the descriptions of the work provided by M. Dutel (op. cit. entries 1173,4) which indicates variances in paginations and dates of publication - that as many as three editions or variant printings may exist of this work. There were certainly problems experienced during the printing process, as evidenced by a publisher's note on p.  of volume II which reads, in part: "Nous nous excusons de ces erreurs dues aux conditions nous devons travailler, et remerçions nos lec-de [sic] leur attention, de leurs encouragements, et de leurs critiques, dont nous tenons compte."
Copyright © 2008 Patrick J. Kearney