MANET
Le Corbeau   (The Raven)
EDGAR ALLEN POE
translation: STÉPHANE MALLARMÉ
Richard Lesclide, Paris, 1875
Le Corbeau with six lithgraphs by Manet is generally considered the first Modern Illustrated Book and for good reason. It is the first book whose exact edition is known, 240 copies; it is signed by Manet and Mallarmé; it is of large format, 14x22 inches; one of the lithographs appears on the cover, four inserted in the text and one on a small piece of parchment entitled "Ex Libris" and forty copies have a separate suite of the four large lithographs printed on chine, a paper different from the basic edition. These were all innovations and foreshadowed subsequent Modern Illustrated Books.

Le Corbeau was offered at twenty-five francs. It sold so poorly that Mallarmé decided to remove the Manet lithographs from the unsold copies. The public was not ready for the bold black psychologically-disturbing modern images or for the radically different book presentation. Today Le Corbeau is one of the rarest and most sought-after Modern Illustrated Books. Few copies are available because most of the edition is now in museums and large libraries such as The New York Public Library.

Manet also illustrated Le Fleuve by Charles Cros and L'aprés-midi d'un Faune by Mallarmé.


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