Brussels: Éditions Nicolas Flamel, 1933. First Edition, First Printing.
Small Quarto (10 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches; 265 x 215 mm), 36 pages, in original orange wrappers, titles to upper wrapper in black, and housed in a black slipcase.
INSCRIBED by Belgian Surrealist artist and writer E.L.T. Mesens on the half title to French Surrealist artist and poet Georges Hugnet: "À Georges Hugnet, / très cordialement / Mesens / décembre 1933." A wonderful association between two Surrealists.
This alphabet book, written entirely in French, features short poems or phrases following each letter of the alphabet. Paul Éluard has written a preface, while the frontispiece collage is by Mesens himself. One of 500 numbered copies printed on Featherweight vélin, following 3 copies on Japon nacré and 13 on Hollande van Gelder. Mesens founded the publisher, Éditions Nicolas Flamel, and named it after the medieval scribe and manuscript seller.
"There can be no doubt that Alphabet sourd aveugle is the key work in Mesens's literary oeuvre," writes Erich Weiss. "It took Mesens only two days to compose the twenty-six poems of his alphabet during a story stay at the Edith Cavell Hospital in Ukkel in August 1930." He goes on to say: "With regard to typography and layout the work is truly pioneering." (Erich Weiss in "The Star Alphabet by E.L.T. Mesens: Dada and Surrealism in Brussels, Paris and London," Mu.ZEE, 2013, page 222.)
An alphabet book notable for its typography and association between two famous Surrealists. SCARCE INSCRIBED.
CONDITION: Some edge wear and creasing to wrappers, sunning along spine, scattered foxing to pages, almost all of which are unopened at the top edge. Very Good or better in a Fine slipcase. Item #2245