Collected Works of Pierre Louys, Aphrodite, Woman and Puppet, The Songs of Billitis, The Adventures of King Pausole, The Twilight of the Nymphs, Sanguines, Psyche, Pierre Louys, Illust. by Harry G. Spanner, trans. by Mitchell S. Buck (Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York, 1932)
5.75″ X 7.75″, xii+742pp., black boards with gilt nude on cover, gilt and blue titles and decorations on spine, top edge inked, other edges deckled, printed on fine hand-layed paper
Pierre Louys (1870 – 1925) was a French poet and writer, most renowned for lesbian and classical themes in some of his writings. He is known as a writer who “expressed pagan sensuality with stylistic perfection.”
Mitchell Starrett Buck (February 10, 1887 – May 12, 1959) was an American poet, translator and classical scholar. His volumes of verse and prose poetry were deeply influenced by 1890s aestheticism as well as classical Greek and Roman Literature. Buck’s writing was secondary to his work as a heating engineer, and the money he made professionally allowed him to become a noted book-collector, specializing in first editions, English literature, Greek and Latin classics. Buck’s first book was a translation of Aphrodite by the French decadent Pierre Louÿs (1870-1925). It appeared in 1913, and was “privately printed”, probably at Buck’s expense. It may have been arranged through the Philadelphia bookseller Nicholas L. Brown, who officially became a publisher in 1916, and thereafter issued most of Buck’s output. Between 1916 and 1932, Brown published small editions of poetry, belles lettres, translations, sometimes without his imprint but stating that the title has been “issued privately for subscribers” (in order to evade prosecution for dealing in obscene materials). Such classical erotica is very tame by modern standards, but in the teens and twenties such material was policed by self-appointed authorities such as John S. Sumner of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.