June 17, 2003

A Week of Kindness

The following half-dozen images are taken from Max Ernst’s fascinating 1934 ‘collage-novel’ Une Semaine de Bonté, ou, Les Sept Éléments Cardinaux, (A Week of Kindness, or, the Seven Deadly Elements):

First of six collages from the Tuesday section of 'Une Semaine...'.

Une Semaine de Bonté marks the culmination of a series of published collage works that began with some collaborations between Ernst and the poet Paul Éluard, shortly after the former’s arrival in Paris in 1922, with La Femme 100 Têtes being published in 1929, and Rêve d’une Petite Fille qui Voulut Entrer au Carmel following in 1930.

Second of six collages from the Tuesday section of 'Une Semaine...'.

The book comprises 182 collages, all of which rely solely on cut-and-pasted images taken from illustrations in old pulp novels and catalogues. The work is divided into seven parts, one for each day of the week, and each illustrating one of seven ‘deadly elements’. The present images are all taken from the ‘Tuesday’ section, entitled La Cour du Dragon (The Dragon’s Heart) for which the corresponding element is fire.

Third of six collages from the Tuesday section of 'Une Semaine...'.
On Tuesday, large or small dragons (sometimes bats or serpents) are almost universally present… Stern, proper-looking women sprout giant sets of wings, serpents appear in the drawing-room and bed-chamber… - from the (unsigned) publisher’s notes in the Dover edition.
Fourth of six collages from the Tuesday section of 'Une Semaine...'.

There is an interesting animation based on the book to be found here. To find out more about Ernst’s work in other media, one could do worse than click here or here.

Fifth of six collages from the Tuesday section of 'Une Semaine...'.

Unable to find these particular images anywhere on-line, I resorted to scanning them from the book. Clicking on each image will open a larger, pop-up version of the same.

Sixth and last of the selection of collages I scanned from the Tuesday section of 'Une Semaine...'.
Posted by misteraitch at June 17, 2003 12:05 PM | TrackBack

Oh how I loved that book! Thanks for reminding me of it.

Posted by: eva on June 18, 2003 06:28 PM

This is wonderful. I've run off to Amazon to acquire a copy.

Posted by: A. R. Hall on June 19, 2003 11:15 AM

Max 3rn5t r001z OK!

But tell me, are his collage novels really novels? Do they have ongoing characters and some semblance of plot or other form of continuity?

Posted by: Prentiss Riddle on June 19, 2003 03:58 PM

Not really Mr. Riddle, there is a continuity of imagery within each of the book's sections, but if there is any grander plan, it is tenuous and inscrutable. That didn't stop me from enjoying the book, though.

Posted by: misteraitch on June 19, 2003 07:05 PM

I have fallen in love with these images, and I desperately want to read the book from which they came. Amazon, however, has not been any help, nor has a more general search on Google. Has *A Week of Kindness* been translated into English or German? Is there any place you know of I could acquire a copy, in that I live in America?

Posted by: Morphienne on November 2, 2003 12:53 AM

Morphienne: the book is readily available in an English edition (albeit under its French title). It is a Dover publication. Search for Une Semaine de Bont at Amazon, etc., or visit the publisher's website for more info.

Posted by: misteraitch on November 2, 2003 08:19 AM
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