RONDEAUX ET SONNETS GALANTS. E D., E. Dumoulin or E. Dejardins.


Chez la petite Lolotte au Palais Royal, Paris, 1887. 204pp.

Item #8416

An uncommon erotic work, largely ignored in the literature. Very good in original wrappers, rebound in vellum. One of 120 numbered copies (#95). Very good, a few darkened areas on final sheets. According to scholar Patrick Kearney:

"The identity of 'E.D.' remains something of a mystery. Was he Edmond Dumoulin or Emile Desjardins? Both names have been proposed by sources which are normally reliable. Or perhaps, as has also been suggested, there were two authors working for the same publisher who coincidentally had identical initials.

The first public suggestion that the author was Dumoulin seems to occur in the entry (no. 175) for Odor di femina in L'Enfer de la Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris: Mercure de France, 1913), the product of the combined talents of Guillaume Apollinaire, Louis Perceau and Fernand Fleuret. The note to the entry reads: "E. D. sur lequel on n'a pas beaucoup de renseignements serait, d'après les uns, un courtier en vins de Bordeaux, selon les autres un functionnaire de la Gironde. Son nom serait Dumoulin. Quoi qu'il en soit, il a publié des écrits libres, jusque vers 1900, chez H[i]rsch, chez D[u]r[i]ng[e], chez Mme R[o]b[e]rt, et chez d'autres. C'est un des plus voluptueux et le plus sensuel des auteurs sous le manteau de la fin du XIXe siècle et parlois il a de l'esprit. Ses meilleurs ouvrages sont: L'Education d'une demi-vierge, excellent roman quit devait avoir une suite, laquelle écrite, n'a jamais paru; Mémoires d'une danseuse russe, l'Odyssée d'un pantalon, Mes amours avec Victoire, Mes étapes amoureuses, Les Stations de l'amour, Les Callipyges, Jupes troussées. La reste ne vaut pas grand'chose, mais l'Education d'une demi-vierge et la Danseuse russe ont quelque sens. The force of the attribution is weakened somewhat by the fact that two of the books listed, L'Education d'une demi-vierge and Les Stations de l'amour, are by a different author entirely, most probably Adolphe Belot. Neverthless, Dumoulin's name is specifically mentioned, and I believe the source of their information to be Charles Hirsch, a French bookseller and publisher who had a shop in London in the last years of the 19th century. As a dealer in erotica, one may reasonably assume that he knew Henry Spencer Ashbee, the great English collector, and as we shall see Ashbee knew the truth of the attribution in the case of one book at least.

By 1930, one of the compilers of L'Enfer de la Bibliothèque Nationale had second thoughts concerning Dumoulin. In entry no. 70.4 of his Bibliographie du Roman érotique au XIXe Siècle, Louis Perceau writes: "E. D. serait un nommé Desjardins, qui aurait été professeur de Faculté à Montpellier. Perceau's source of information is unknown to me, and neither do I know where the Christian name Emile seems first to have been used. The earliest I am aware of seems to be late 1950s reprints of Mes étapes Amoureuses which are listed below.

But Edmond Dumoulin definitely wrote at least one of the 'E. D.' books, a collection of erotic verses called Rondeaux et sonnets galants (1887). Limited to just 120 copies, it is one of the rarist of the 'E. D.' books, and it is fortunate that the British Library has an exemplar in its Private Case erotica collection. It is part of the Henry Spencer Ashbee bequest, and Ashbee, who knew Auguste Brancart, the book's publisher, thoughtfully added the following pencil note to it: "Received from A. Brancart of Amsterdam. Dec. 1887. 10 francs. Author Edmond Dumoulin, St. Seurin de Cadourne, Medoc, Gironde, France."

The suggestion that the pseudonym 'E. D.' might in fact belong to two separate authors with the same initials appears to have been first fielded by Peter Mendes in entry 137-A of his Clandestine Erotic Fiction in English 1800-1930. A Bibliographical Study where he points to the strong stylistic and thematic variations in the books signed 'E. D.' He develops his argument further: "…since the Ashbee note [viz. the one giving Dumoulin's name and address] appears in a copy falling into the more 'normal' heterosexial groupings, 'Desjardins' could possibly have been the author of the texts in which flagellation is the dominant motif; significantly, only 'E. D.' texts of this latter kind were translated into English in this period… Whether one author or two, all the books signed 'E. D.' were first published at Amsterdam by Auguste Brancart between 1888 (Rondeaux et sonnets) and 1892 (Maison de Verre and Mémoirs d'une danseuse russe). In all, there were eighteen separate titles published, although one of them, Après le bal (1889) was a separate publication of the third playlet included in Théâtre Naturaliste, published the same year. Nevertheless, even seventeen separate novels in the space of four years is an achievement, and lends support to Mr. Mendes' theory.

Price: $200.00

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