Casablanca [Paris]: [Presses de l'Union Commerciale d'Imprimerie], 1953. First Trade Edition. Slim quarto (27cm.); publisher's pictorial card wrappers printed in red and black; pp.; chiefly illus. Light wear and brief chipping mid-spine, staples a bit rusty, small, faint soil spot to upper cover bottom margin, else Very Good, internally clean and sound. Item #1330
A brief pictorial overview of the history of flight, both real and imagined, produced by the French-born artist Jean Boullet, dubbed by one source as "an anarchist Don Quixote." Boullet was especially well-known for his homoerotic illustrations reminiscent of his contemporary Tom of Finland or, to a lesser extent, his friend Jean Cocteau, the style much on display even here. The work, dedicated to the memory of Jules Verne, consists of twenty-eight themed plates on rectos usually featuring a half dozen numbered drawings, the key to which is provided on the facing page. The work opens with flying animals both living and extinct; flight as represented by various mythologies and religions (Icarus, Isis the winged goddess, etc.); and continues on to literary imaginary flight, hot air balloons, dirigibles, and finally rockets and satellites. Though Boullet shows technical knowledge and proficiency in these drawings, he is best known for his illustrations of works by Boris Vian, Edgar Allan Poe, and later the magazine "Midi Minuit Fantastique," devoted entirely to science fiction and horror films. The present work quite institutionally scarce: three in OCLC, Northwestern only in North America as of October, 2020.