Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Paperback 97: L'Étranger / Albert Camus (Livre de Poche 406)

Paperback 97: Livre de Poche 406 (unknown ptg., 1962)

Title: L'Étranger
Author: Albert Camus
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $17

Another book sale purchase from last year. Despite being somewhat out of character for this blog, this cover is gorgeous. The book is in astonishingly good condition, with all its original perma-gloss still intact. Livres de Poche are impossible to date accurately. Copyright date is 1957, but the end matter advertises books that will be coming out in "the third trimester of 1962." Trimester? Is the entire country of France run on a University model? Anyhoo, it's a very very early Livre de Poche edition, if my online book merchant searches are any indication. Except for very slightly worn edges and normal page yellowing, this book is like new. The cover is brooding, muted, gorgeous, but as far as "hard-boiled" greatness goes, though, the real treat is the back cover:

  • "That's right, I'm smoking a fucking cigarette. I don't care if you are taking a picture for the book jacket. I'm not putting it down. I'm Albert Fucking Camus. I won the Nobel Prize, motherfuckers. I can do whatever the hell I want, and you can kiss my atheistic French ass."
  • I like the way the words float in black rectangles around him. It's very nice, from a design point of view - great contrast with the soft pastels and watercoloriness of the cover painting (which has wrapped around to the back - another nice touch).

Page 123~:

Il ma fallut un effort pour comprendre que j'étais la cause de toute cette agitation.

[It took some effort to understand that I was the cause of all this agitation]



Anonymous said...

Absolutely gorgeous, and one of my favorite books. I should really give it a re-read one of these days.

The fake quote from Albert Camus about "smoking a fucking cigarette" had me in stitches!

Michael5000 said...

All fine and good, but it lacks a certain rouquine avec un pistolet.

Anonymous said...

Hi. The following site seems to suggest that this edition - and cover - first appeared in 1959: http://webcamus.free.fr/oeuvre/livrepoche.html
I hope it is useful.

Thank you so much for posting. Just seeing this cover again unleashes a torrent of amazingly crystal-clear memories from university days in 1965.

Kindest regards.

John Sampson
Sydney, Australia

ukemon said...

I have this edition, too. Cover art by Lucien Fontanarosa. He did quite a few covers for Livre de poche in the 50s and 60s.