Tuesday, January 8, 2013

FLAGELLATION NOVELS: Select Bibliotheque

No exploration of the fetish, s/m illustrators of the 1940s, '50s and '60s (Willie, Stanton and Bilbrew in the US and Carlo in France circa 1920s, '30s) is complete without first visiting the precursor to the modern era, Select Bibliotheque. Beginning in 1907 and continued to 1939, Select Bibliotheque publishing nearing 100 titles devoted to flagellation and depictions of female domination, bondage, fetishism, sado-masochistic behavior and both male and female submissiveness. The texts were primarily written by Don Brennus Alera, Bernanrd Vallones, Roland Brevannes and illustrated by artist who signed as Tack, Esbey and Selbey. My theory about the artists who signed Esbey and Selbey is they used the initials/name of the publishing company as their "nom de plume": Esbey = S.B. and Selbey = Select B. All aspects of Select Bibliotheque remain somewhat of a mystery as collectors in France try to piece together the story of publishing company that survived for approx. 32 years and published less than 100 titles during that time. 

The art, naturally in a style contemporaneous with the time in which the books were published, was naively drawn and in keeping with the turn-of-the-century. However from the late 'teens and through to the end of life span of Select Bibliotheque the illustrations became antiquated and out of place in the "modern" world. That being said, the style of the illustrations simultaneously added a certain kinkiness to the overall impact of the books, from the covers to the internal illustrations.

From deep in the archives (I have not had any Select Bibliotheque books for sale in many years) are scans of a handful of covers and pages. Searching the web will reveal more detailed information about this important, underground publishing company.


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