Covers for The Double-Dealer

dd01.jpg

The Double-Dealer was a literary magazine “published at New Orleans” from 1921 to 1926 whose covers for the first two years of its run wouldn’t have been out of place twenty years earlier. In its written content the magazine wasn’t a throwback to the fin de siècle but was flying the flag for Modernism, an editorial stance that might seem at odds with the Beardsley-like cover art, at least until you notice the names of some of the contributors. Essayist and poet Arthur Symons had been a friend of Aubrey Beardsley’s in the 1890s, and the pair worked together on their own magazine, The Savoy, as editor and art editor respectively. Another contributor, Djuna Barnes, was a thoroughgoing Modernist in her writing but she was also an occasional artist who produced a number of drawings in a Beardsley-like style.

dd01.jpg

The covers of The Double-Dealer up to June 1922 were the work of Olive Leonhardt who doesn’t seem to have produced anything else in this manner. The magazine is notable today for having published early writings by William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway but the first few issues also include contributions from Lafcadio Hearn, Lord Dunsany and James Branch Cabell. A press ad declared that “rebels and reactionaries rub shoulders” in the pages of the magazine, so maybe Leonhardt’s covers were a further example of editorial equanimity. Or maybe this type of art was more suited to New Orleans than New York City. The cover for July 1922 by Gordon Ertz continues in the Leonhardt manner, after which the magazine adopted the sober presentation common to literary magazines of the period, with a simple design based on a Janus-headed Roman coin.

Update: Added a credit for Gordon Ertz.

dd03.jpg

dd04.jpg

dd05.jpg

Continue reading “Covers for The Double-Dealer”

Curious Relations

curious.jpg

“It is the function of creative people to perceive relations between thoughts, or things, or forms of expressions that seem utterly different, and to be able to Connect the seemingly Unconnected.” — William Plomer

Regular readers will know that I relish an art mystery, and also enjoy finding pastiches of Aubrey Beardsley’s endlessly influential drawings. The cover of this book by William Plomer and Anthony Butts, a gift from the generous Mr TjZ, manages to combine both fixations in one. Curious Relations was first published in 1947 with the authors concealed behind the pseudonym “William D’Arfey”. The Sphere edition dates from 1968, a year when Beardsley mania was still prevalent in Britain following the landmark retrospective of the artist’s works at the V&A in 1966. The mystery on this occasion is the identity of the cover artist who isn’t credited, although the solution (for once) hasn’t been particularly elusive. After looking through the Sphere covers at ISFDB I guessed that Bill Botten might be responsible since publishers have a tendency to redeploy artists and designers, and Botten’s covers for science fiction novels displayed a bold graphic style. The guess proved correct, thanks to Mr Botten having a website that details his long career as designer, illustrator and art director for Sphere, Jonathan Cape and others. Some of his other covers have a Beardsley-like quality although there don’t seem to be any more direct pastiches.

bataille.jpg

Bill Botten cover for My Mother (1972) by Georges Bataille.

As for Curious Relations, this is Plomer and Butts’ account of the upstairs and downstairs world of the d’Arfeys and the Mountfaucons, two invented branches of the Edwardian aristocracy based on Butts’ own family, a confection that looks bizarre and absurd enough for me to enjoy. Where the English upper classes are concerned I prefer to see them skewered by the acid wit of Saki; I only want to hear about Downton Abbey if it’s invaded by Sredni Vashtar and his ravening polecat horde. Biographical notes describe Plomer as homosexual so that’s another plus if this is reflected in the book. The double entendre of the title suggests as much. We’ll see.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Aubrey fakery
Under the Hill by Aubrey Beardsley
Aubrey Beardsley and His World
After Beardsley by Ryan Cho
Aubrey Beardsley’s Keynotes
Antony Little’s echoes of Aubrey
Aubrey in LIFE
Beardsley reviewed
Aubrey Beardsley in The Studio
Ads for The Yellow Book
Beardsley and His Work
Further echoes of Aubrey
A Wilde Night
Echoes of Aubrey
After Beardsley by Chris James
Illustrating Poe #1: Aubrey Beardsley
Beardsley’s Rape of the Lock
The Savoy magazine
Beardsley at the V&A
Merely fanciful or grotesque
Aubrey Beardsley’s musical afterlife
Aubrey by John Selwyn Gilbert
“Weirdsley Daubery”: Beardsley and Punch
Alla Nazimova’s Salomé

Weekend links 535

beardsley.jpg

The Wagnerites (1894) by Aubrey Beardsley.

• “Part of my problem with influence is that the concept is too univocal; most of us are impacted by many others during our lifetimes, but often in oblique ways. So many of the most interesting bits of cultural transmission happen nonlinearly, via large groups of people, and in zigzag mutations. Assigning influence can also have the unintentional effect of stripping artists of their own originality and vision.” Geeta Dayal reviewing Wagnerism by Alex Ross.

• “Buñuel stubbornly refused to have any group affiliation whatsoever. Even though critics always tried to categorize him, he never wanted to explain the hidden meanings of any of his films and often denied that there were any.” Matt Hanson on the surreal banality of Luis Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel.

• Next month Soul Jazz release the fourth multi-disc compilation in their Deutsche Elektronische Musik series devoted to German music from the 1970s and 80s. The third collection was the weakest of the lot so I wasn’t expecting another but this one looks like it may be better.

James Balmont chooses the five best films by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who he calls “cinema’s master of horror”. I’ve yet to see any of these so I can’t say whether the label is warranted or not.

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine in a two-part post here and here charts the emergence of an under-examined sub-genre, the metaphysical thriller.

• Power Spots: 13 artists choose favourite pieces of music by Jon Hassell. A surprising amount of interest in his first album, Vernal Equinox.

• At Spine: George Orwell’s Animal Farm receives new cover designs for its 75th anniversary.

• “Pierre Guyotat’s work is more relevant now than ever,” says Donatien Grau.

• Mix of the week: FACT mix 775 by Sarah Davachi.

May 24th by Matthew Cardinal.

• Ry Cooder with Jon Hassell & Jim Keltner: Video Drive-By (1993) | Goose And Lucky (1993) | Totally Boxed In (1993)

Weekend links 527

equus.jpg

Poster art by Bob Peak.

• Sidney Lumet’s 1977 film of Peter Shaffer’s Equus receives a limited blu-ray release by the BFI in August. Richard Burton’s performance has always received a mixed response (I’ve never been in the anti-Burton camp) but the film is serious and well-made. And, as with The Offence (1973), there’s the thrill of seeing Lumet turn his attention away from his beloved New York City to examine British lives.

• “Astronomer claims to have pinpointed date of Vermeer’s View of Delft.” Yes, but how long did it take Vermeer paint the view? Speaking as someone who used to paint a lot, I’d say two or three days at least. Then there’s that awkward thing known as “artistic licence”…

• “I was taken aback by the antic side of Borges. He was irreverent, funny, insistent on his ways, and brilliantly talkative.” Jay Parini on Jorge Luis Borges, and his experience as the writer’s chauffeur in the Scottish Highlands.

• Strange Islands: Benjamin Welton on a favourite cinematic micro-genre I explored here a few years ago: the mysterious tropical island that’s a home to fearsome beasts and outsized (often deranged) personalities.

Greydogtales on The Sapphire Goddess of Nictzin Dyalhis, the Weird Tales writer with a name like a character from one of his stories.

• “I came for the giant phalluses and stayed for the joy of being a gay person.” Eight artists on the influence of Tom of Finland.

Tamsin Cleary on Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House (1977) which she calls “the world’s most demented haunted house film”. It really is.

The Gone Away, a short film by Sean Reynard for the forthcoming album from Belbury Poly.

Moorcography: the beginnings of an online Michael Moorcock bibliography.

• “Our sound engineer got a death threat”: Andrew Male on Olivia, a lesbian record label.

Bajo el Signo de Libra explores the art of Aubrey Beardsley.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Hans-Jürgen Syberberg Day.

The secret drawings of Great Britain’s UFO Desk.

Wyrd Daze Lvl.4 is here.

The Four Horsemen (1971) by Aphrodite’s Child | All The Pretty Little Horses (2004) by Coil | When The Horses Were Shorn Of Their Hooves (2018) by Dylan Carlson

Weekend links 526

colquhoun.jpg

La Cathédrale Engloutie (1952) by Ithell Colquhoun.

• Many of the recent lists of “where to start with the music of [x]” aren’t filling an urgent requirement, but in the case of Sun Ra—whose discography runs to 95 albums—any guide is a useful one: Sean Kitching chooses 10 recordings from the Ra galaxy. I’m not unacquainted with Sun Ra’s music but there’s so much of it that almost all these suggestions are news. Related: Namwali Serpell on the life and work of a cosmic visionary.

• Coming soon from Strange Attractor, Ithell Colquhoun: Genius of The Fern Loved Gulley by Amy Hale, the first book-length study of the life and work of the British Surrealist and occult artist.

• I doubt I’ll get to see it but I’m pleased to know that the prematurely shuttered Aubrey Beardsley exhibition is returning to Tate Britain. You’ll need a Decadent face-mask.

• And speaking of music lists, Alexis Petridis compiles a ranking of all the songs by a little-known post-punk band from Manchester.

The Last Arcadian (Process Mix): more psychotropic nougat from Moon Wiring Club.

• Kill Me Again… Ken Hollings on Ennio Morricone and the music of the future.

Mervyn Peake‘s visual archive has been acquired by the British Library.

Anitra Pavlico on the fantastic world (and music) of Maurice Ravel.

Stanley Stellar‘s photos of the New York gay scene in the 1980s.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Fetish.

• RIP Judy Dyble.

Wikidelia

Chelsea Morning (1968) by Fairport Convention | I Talk To The Wind (1968) by Giles, Giles & Fripp feat. Judy Dyble | Morning Way (1970) by Trader Horne