designers books

Published by Sébastien Hayez

Le Club français du livre

Written by Sébastien Hayez, 6 years ago, 3 Comments

The “Club français du livre (CFL, or French Book Club) is a french publishing house created in 1946 and famous for the artistic quality of it publications.
Close to the surrealistis and helped by progressists friendship but also by the marketing, The Club knew since it creation a big success with an important number of suscribers and by the quality of the limited number of books published, with a focus on classic novels.

It magazine “Liens” (Links), was only given to suscribers, playing an important literary role.

Close to Jean-Paul Lhopital, the first editor is Robert Carlier, his follower in 1952 is Claude Grégory.

Pierre Faucheux is the first art director of the Club français du livre, working on the layout. Massin, Jacques Darche and Jacques Daniel were following him. 2500 to 8000 copies were printed in few years, when the suscriber list was multiply by 30 between 1948 to 1957 (including prospective customers). 4 books were published every month, including re-issue.

  • Le Prince de Machiavel: printed the 15th of february 1947.
  • Candide, L’Ingénu de Voltaire : printed the 15 of february 1947.
  • Chronique du règne de Charles IX de Prosper Mérimée : printed the 6th of march 1947.
  • Le Neveu de Rameau de Diderot: 25th april 1947 – N°2 of the Classiques collection
  • Le Rêve de Fiodor Dostoievsky: 26th april 1947 – N°3 of the Romans (Novels) collection
  • Lettres de la Princesse Palatine (Volume I) 20 september 1947 – N°1 of the Mémoires collection
  • Aphorismes de Georg Lichtenberg : 5th november 1947 – N° 1 of the Essai (essay) collection
  • La casa de Bernarda Alba de Federico García Lorca, 18th november 1947 qui est le N° 1 de la collection Théâtre.
  • De la Mouche à l’Homme de Jean Rostand : 31th december 1947 – N° 1 of the Sciences collection
  • La Guerre du Feu de J.-H. Rosny Ainé : 26th february 1948 – N° 1 of the Aventures & Voyages (Adventures & Travels) collection
  • Paroles de Jacques Prévert : 27th avril 1948 – N° 3 of the Poésie (Poetry) collection.
  • Trois hommes dans un bateau de Jerome K. Jerome, 15th of february1949 – N° 1 of the Humour (humor) collection
  • Les Manifestes du surréalisme by André Breton was sold with a magnifying glass, in order to read the smallest caracters printed in the book.
  • Le Portrait de Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde show a sery of photography by the author.
French readers have to read this wikipedia entry to learn more about this editorial adventures. I sometime wish to see some publishers able to take some risks and give a complete freedom to its designers. The most beautiful books are the most beautiful adevntures.
More covers can also be seen directly on Alexis Orloff’s flickr.

Click on the thumbnails to view full size.

About Sébastien Hayez

Art director, graphic designer & illustrator from Lyon, France. Admin at Co-admin of the Facebook group Archives Graphiques Curator at Writer at The Shelf, issue 2.

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