Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux. Roman. Premier [–Dernier] Cahier …

Paris, Éditions Jeanne Bucher, 1934.

Five parts, 4to, with 182 photo-mechanical illustrations reproducing collages by Ernst; a fine set, in the original printed coloured paper wrappers (purple, green, red, blue and yellow respectively), spines sunned, card slipcase (worn and partly defective) with green illustrative cover label.


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First edition, no. 706 of 800 copies on papier Navarre from a total edition of 816.

Une semaine de bonté is the most famous of Ernst’s surrealist ‘collage novels’, composed entirely of recomposed images drawn from illustrations to nineteenth-century novels and scientific journals, with no easily discernible plot. Each of the seven ‘days’ in the ‘week of kindess’ is devoted to an element – mud, water, fire, blood, blackness, sight, and the unknown – and populated by mysterious figures, some with the heads of birds and beasts. Dark, humorous, erotic, often creepy, they seethe with repressed sexuality, violence, and anti-establishment feeling. In ‘Monday’ for example, the streets are stalked by the ‘Lion of Belfort’, while Tuesday features recurring images of drowning figures, and by the ‘poemes visibles’ of Friday the surrealism verges on abstraction.

The work was originally planned in seven parts, but as it was less successful than hoped the final three days were issued together.

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