Ready for some stimulating reading?
Above, a beautiful pin-up style cover painted by Jef de Wulf for Tania et le démon by Yvan Nikitine, published by Brussels based Éditions Aphrodite. This is a collection of romantic verse from the Russian poet Yvan Nikitine, not to be confused with the famous 19th century Russian poet Ivan Nikitine, nor the 17th century Russian painter and author Ivan Nikitin. We had trouble figuring all this out, because apparently Nikitine/Nikitin is like Johnson or Jones in Russia, but we think our Nikitine wrote eighteen volumes of poetry over the years, was made a knight of L'Ordre des Palmes Académiques, and is alive and retired in Agen, France. Maybe we should just just focus on the art. Nice, yeah? 1959 copyright.
This next drink is going right to his head.
Above, a cover for Un Cinzano pour l'ange noir, aka A Cinzano for the Black Angel, written by Frédéric Dard in 1953 for Éditions de la Pensée Moderne's collection Les confessions de l'ange noir. The series comprised four books, with this one being the last. Plotwise, the Black Angel gets involved with an heiress who is intent on robbing her industrialist father's vault, which is presumably filled with riches. He does actually get hit over the head with a bottle of Cinzano, which makes for a hell of a hangover. You may not know Frédéric Dard, but he was one of France's most successful authors, publishing more than 300 novels and selling 250 million copies. 173 of those books starred his signature creation Detective Superintendent Antoine San-Antonio. The above novel is not considered one of his best, but when you write books faster than Taco Bell churns out crunchy cheese core burritos there will be a few duds. The cover art is by the always reliable Jef de Wulf.
Nobody’s Faut but her own.
Above is a great piece of Jef de Wulf art of an amorous sailor and an interested woman for Jacques Marlène’s Faut que tu y passes, cheri!. The book appeared in 1952 from Lutécia Editions à Lyon as part of their Pour lire la nuit collection. We gather the novel was censored in France in 1955. The title Faut que tu y passes, cheri! translates to something like “You have to pass it, darling.” Here again we have a French phrase that doesn’t quite translate into English. Usually we get e-mailed about these, but our e-mailer is down, and we’re well aware of it. We’ll get to fixing that soonish, along with the pulp uploader. In the meantime, you can still contact us at email@example.com if you care to explain this title more fully.
Update: So we got several reponses to this question.
From the blog oncle-archibald.blogspot.com we learned that the title translates roughly to, "I will have my wicked way with you, darling!" This is in reference to the French expression "
passer a la casserole," which has a sexual interpretation and translates, "to have his wicked way with you."
From our friend Jo B. we get a similar interpretation. He says it's a way of saying, "You’ve got to make love with me, you’ve got no way to escape this... (faut que tu y passes). He explains further: In French, they also say, “Il faut que tu passes à la casserole,” which means, "You’ve got to go in the saucepan." Strange, ain’t it ? Sometimes, we also say that for people who want to get a job (at the television, for example or in a company).
So there you go. We're giving serious thought to learning this language. There are thousands of French speakers around here anyway, and it would come in handy. Oncle Archibald has lots of similar book covers, by the way, and we recommend clicking over there for a look.
What’s in a name? Everything, if it’s the title of a vintage paperback.
Above and below you will find a large collection of pulp, post-pulp, and sleaze paperback fronts that have as their titles a character’s first name. There are hundreds of examples of these but we stopped at thirty-two. The collection really highlights, more than others we’ve put together, how rarely vintage paperback art focuses on male characters. The prose is virtually all male-centered and male-driven, of course, but because the mid-century paperback market was male-driven too, that meant putting women on the covers to attract the male eye. We tell our girlfriends this all the time, but they still think we just don’t bother looking for male-oriented vintage art. But we do. For this collection we found two novels that have male characters’ names as their titles, and we looked pretty hard. If we had to guess, we’d say less than 5% of all pulp art is male-oriented. In any case, the illustrations come from the usual suspects—Barye Phillips, Robert McGinnis, Jef de Wulf, Paul Rader, et al., plus less recognized artists like Doug Weaver. Thanks to all the original uploaders for these.
Let your love take flight.
Jef de Wulf really outdid himself here. This cover is from 1958 for René Roques’ romance novel La Fille de Monseigneur, and we think this is by far the best we’ve seen from de Wulf. The central balloon reads “love,” of course, and all the others have the two syllables making up the French word “rire,” or laugh, creating an image of heartlifting joy. Sublime stuff. Check out some of de Wulf’s other covers by clicking his keywords directly below.
Finally, after a lifetime's work—the condiment that will revolutionize how the world eats greenery.
Above, Drôle de salade written by Al Caussin, aka Alex Caussin de Perceval, Percy Wall, and Allan Blyth, published 1952 by France's Éditions de la Flamme d’Or, with awesome cover art from Jef de Wulf. Drôle de salade actually means “funny salad,” so you have to wonder what this book is about. In any case, what a bummer it’ll be for the main character when he finds out the term “French dressing” is already in use.
You can check in any time you like.
Moving away from the hard-boiled for a moment, here’s a beautiful cover for Nina Antony’s L’hôtel des chimères, aka Hotel of Chimeras, 1960, from Editions de L’Arabesque’s collection Colorama. As you probably know by now, Antony was a pseudonym, because that’s just what French authors did. This time the owner is an author named Jeannine Rubia who also wrote under Cora del Rio and possibly other names. Another version of L’hôtel des chimères appeared with different cover art, but this breezy effort from Jef de Wulf is sublime.
Would you believe her name is Svetlana Carrunova?
Above, a very cool Éditions de l’Arabesque cover for Dick Barnett’s, aka Georges Heil’s, 1967 thriller Nettoyage par le vide, volume 367 of the publisher’s long running Collection Espionnage. Nettoyage par le vide means “vacuum cleaning,” which we suppose is how they’ll scrape the ballerina off the pavement once she’s flattened by that sedan. She isn’t named Carrunova, by the way, but it’d be better if she were. The art is by Jef de Wulf, who apparently despised the ballet. See more of his work by clicking his keywords below.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1925—Jury Decides the Teaching of Evolution Is a Crime
In the famous Scopes Monkey Trial, American schoolteacher John Scopes is found guilty of violating the Butler Act, which forbids the teaching of evolution in schools. The sensational trial pits two great legal minds—William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow—against each other. Ultimately, Scopes and Darrow are destined to lose because the case rests on whether Scopes had violated the Act, not whether evolution is fact.
1969—First Humans Reach the Moon
Neil Armstrong and Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr. become the first humans to walk on the moon. The third member of the mission, command module Pilot Michael Collins, remains in orbit in Apollo 11.
1972—Chaos in the Big Apple
In New York City, within a span of twenty-four hours, fifty-seven murders are committed.
1944—Hitler Survives Third Assassination Attempt
Adolf Hitler escapes death after a bomb explodes at his headquarters in Rastenberg, East Prussia. A senior officer, Colonel Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, is blamed for planting the device at a meeting between Hitler and other senior staff members. Hitler sustains minor burns and a concussion but manages to keep an appointment later in the day with Italian leader Benito Mussolini.
1966—Sinatra Marries Farrow
Superstar singer and actor Frank Sinatra marries 21-year-old actress Mia Farrow, who is 30 years younger than him. The marriage lasts two years.
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