Sunday, September 9, 2012

Impressions of Africa by Raymond Roussel

Early French paperback printing of Impressions of Africa
This French novel by Raymond Roussel was an inadvertent forefather to the surrealist movement; Impressions of Africa recounts the fantastical tale of shipwreck survivors to a fictitious land in Africa. Together, each distinct member must perform their unique, ridiculous talent before Emperor Talou, and great absurdities ensue. First published in 1910, Roussel's novel was also unique for its unusual narrative and sentence structure, which relies heavily on puns and other wordplay. Aside from being a little on the nonsensical side and somewhat dated, Impressions of Africa is not difficult to read and is definitely worth giving a shot. This French edition by Livre de Poche from 1963 is particularly notable for it's amazing covers done by renowned designer and illustrator Pierre Faucheux, who revolutionized book covers in France from the 1950's and 1960's on, treating them as works of art. These surrealist collages that don the front and back of this edition are perfect examples of his work. 

Back cover with Roussel's photo, note the Faucheux credit in the bottom left corner

No comments:

Post a Comment