Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Salt Herring

The Salt Herring by Charles Cros is an interesting Gorey-illustrated book. Like the two Edward Lear titles, this story has been given the same treatment usually reserved for Mr. Gorey's own volumes. Published by The Gotham Book Mart, and printed by the Profile Press in 1971, this book was produced in a signed/limited edition of 300 numbered and 26 lettered copies. I am showing copy #245/300. It was also included in Amphigorey Too.

M. Charles Cros was born in France in 1842 and died in 1888. He was a poet, humorous writer and inventor. He is credited with almost inventing the phonograph. He worked on his theories for recording and reproducing sound at the same time as Thomas Edison (the two did not know of each other's work), and his written account of the process was recognized in France in 1877. Before he could create a working model, Edison patented the phonograph in 1878. He also wholeheartedly believed that there was life on Mars and doggedly petitioned the government of France to finance the building of a huge mirror which the French people could use to communicate with the people of Mars!

Cros' poem, The Kippered Herring inspired short theatrical pieces called "monologues" that in turn inspired more theater. Mr. Gorey's translation and illustration of this poem became The Salt Herring. It is hardly surprising that EG found this figure from history fascinating. Below, I am showing the front and back of the announcement card that was sent to advertise the publication of this book.

No comments: