Francis de Miomandre, Written on Water, with etchings by Grau Sala, Paris, Émile-Paul Frères, 1947, 266 p. Loose leaves in illustrated cover, slipcase and publisher's box. Cover, colored frontispiece, 30 blue illustrations in the text: 15 full-page copper engravings + 15 headers. All the copper engravings, related to the title of the work, are printed in shades of blue: midnight blue, electric blue, ultramarine, indigo, navy, sapphire.
Limited edition of 400 numbered copies: 50 on Arches vellum from 1 to 50 and 350 on lana vellum from 51 to 400. The first 20 copies include an original drawing, a first state suite, and a final state suite, the next 30 copies include a suite. Our copy is number 3 of the limited edition. It contains as announced in the colophon.1 original drawing in India ink. Signed in red, by hand, by Grau Sala. This is the original drawing of the 4th plate, p. 1 first state suite of the 31 engravings. 1 final state suite of the 31 engravings.
It is also enriched with a rejected plate with the mention "rejected plate" and the hand signature of Grau Sala. In gray pencil, not indicated in the colophon.
Written on Water was published in 1908, at the author's expense, in five hundred copies by a Marseille publishing house: Le Feu, directed by Émile Sicard. The novel was awarded the Goncourt Prize that same year, beating Henri Barbusse, Amédée Rouquès, and Jean Violis. When the verdict was signed by the hand of Léon Hennique, president of the academy, only a dozen of the five hundred copies remained, which sold out within an hour. Sicard and his printer rushed to Paris, determined to flood the booksellers with a new edition of this unexpected Goncourt.But poorly equipped and so happy to discover the charms and pleasures of the capital towards which they rushed, they did not find time for this reprint. When the volumes finally came off the press, it was too late. Miomandre confesses, without any regret or resentment, that it took him over seven years to sell the three thousand copies he had planned for his glory. The novel invites us to follow the sentimental apprenticeship of young Jacques de Meillan (alter ego of Francis de Miomandre), in the Marseille of the early dawn of the 20th century. The theme is playful and the writing, light and without any stylistic inflation, exudes a quaint and ethereal charm when read.
A kind of small tribute to the youth and love of a very young man whose sap crosses body and mind with bubbling desires. In the foreword, Miomandre warns his readers of the time: "It requires no effort to be read.
Whether you open it in the middle, it will be as intelligible as if you approach it in the first chapter. Like eternity, it has no beginning or end, but it is shorter." André Gide, perplexed, in the Nouvelle Revue Française, notes about Written on Water: "In what tone to speak of this light book? Light as a bubble, insubstantial, bizarre, it eludes criticism and seems constantly in formation. It could be unbearable; it's charming.Exceptional set in excellent condition. Sumptuous illustrations and original drawing signed by Grau Sala. Very careful shipping, with tracking and insurance, worldwide. The illustration photos in the ad show the 3 states of a selection of plates and the 4 states for the one with the original drawing in India ink. Additional photos available upon request.