THE RIVER BIEVRE by Joris Karl Huysmans – 2005

Bilingual edition (French – English).
Original translation by Rob Swigart and Danielle Trudeau.
Edition of 55.
Black case. Dimensions: 10.83 x 7.10 x 0.8 inch.

The Bièvre is a small river with its source not far from Versailles. It loops through the 13th arrondissement of Paris and eventually joins the Seine under the Gare d’Austerlitz. Over the centuries it has been gradually driven underground and today no part remains visible within the city limits, though one can still walk along stretches running through lush vegetation to the south of the city. Recently a movement has emerged to try to uncover those few small stretches not completely suffocated by buildings or streets.

In 1890 J-K Huysmans, the great fin de siècle novelist and author of Against the Grain (À Rebours), published this expanded version of an article that originally appeared in 1878. La Bièvre is a lengthy prose poem, an extended elegy for a corrupted and lost piece of wild landscape. This translation is from the 1914 edition published in Paris by F. Ferroud.. In this limited edition of 50, the engraver has used the tormented texture of sugar aquatint on zinc plates, thus enhancing the decadent atmosphere of Huysman’s text.

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