(Translation Charles Baudelaire,) Paris, Lemerre, 1927 (note that the translator, Charles Baudelaire, is credited above the author)
(translation and foreword by Julio Cortazar), Alianza/El Libro del Bolsillo 1978
Cornell Woolrich, The black path of fear, The Crime Club, Doubleday, Doran, 1944
The Big data approach and instruments, which inform this blog, do not only allow to study globally a population of popular writers who, in an international effort and over many decades invented Crime fiction. It also helps to envision the books they produced in a material way, in their condition as objects, commodities and fetishes. The juxtaposition of hundreds of book covers from different countries reveals their semiotics, with their recurring motifs and their serial patterns. Books covers can thus be read as sites where developments in international cultural industries, the specialisation of narrative genres, the publishers’ distinctive strategies and the evolution of popular representations and tastes all intersect. The available metadata linked with each cover also recalls that Crime Fiction series fostered some of the past century’s greatest artists. This post displays a very short selection of some Crime Fiction cover art, as milestones in a cultural history of the international imagination of crime, and its visualisation.
(Click to enlarge)
Edgar Allan Poe (1 occurrence)
The “Angoisse” Series comprised 261 novels, published by Fleuve Noir between 1954 and 1974. Much in the same ways as Gallimard’s Série Blême offered a different blend of noir and suspense from that of its more successful sister, the Série Noire, Angoisse is a series devoted to Stories of Dread, and Psychological Suspense. The heritage of Edgar Poe is manifest. Albeit putting greater emphasis on terror and fantasy literature, this series is in many respect a companion to the great Special Police series by the same publisher. Books in the Special Police Series carried advertisements like the above for the “Angoisse” series. “Angoisse” was the place were classics such as J. Redon’s Les Yeux sans visage (“Eyes Without a Face“, “Angoisse” number 59, later a famous film by Franju) were first published. Many distinguished authors published in Angoisse : Marc Agapit, Maurice Limat, Kurt Steiner, B.R. Bruss, and André Caroff.
Philippe Honoré was killed yesterday in Paris. He was one of the victims of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, the bloodiest terrorist attack in the French capital since 1835’s “machine infernale” on the Boulevard du Temple. He was loved by French Fans of Crime Fiction, who found his drawings in Charlie Hedbo, and in publications such as Le Magazine littéraire, Le Monde and Les Inrockuptibles. In the monthly mainstream literary magazine Lire, he published his famous Rebus, the “Rébus d’Honoré”. They mainly consisted in pictograms representing names of authors, title of literary works, or famous quotes in rebus form. The following (see below) is for example Honoré’s representation of the American inventor of Crime Fiction. Continue reading