Canadian livre d’artiste
ATWOOD, Margaret & Charles PACHTER. The Journals Of Susanna Moodie. folio. 37 deckle-edges sheets (30 folded).p 32 serigraphs. loosely laid into dark blue suede and cloth clamshell box. [Toronto: Manuel and Abel Bello-Sanchez, 1980]. $10,000
A flawless copy of the finest and most coveted of Canadian livres d’artiste, Limited to 120 copies + 2 printers’ proofs, signed by the author, artist, printers and binder, this one of 100 printed on deckle-edged Arches, Rives BFK and Canadian handmade paper. The book was designed and illustrated by Charles Pachter, and hand printed by Manuel and Abel Bello-Sanchez. The type was hand set by the artist in Della Robbia, Kennerly Old Style Italic, and Goudy Old Style foundry typefaces in 1969. The images are serigraphs, some drawn directly on screens or photo-stencils, some re-worked spontaneously from lithographs, drawings, and collages. The blue suede and cloth clamshell box was done by Marion Mertens.
“I think it is fair to say that [the book] set a new standard for the handmade livre d’artiste in Canada. As a poetic evocation of the travails experienced by a nineteenth century genteel English immigrant in her new Canadian homeland, it is also a landmark literary work….Marriage of the creative efforts of two fellow voyagers, The Journals of Susanna Moodie is nothing if not my homage to the writer, poet, and friend whose genius has been a sustained source of inspiration for my imagination.” (Charles Pachter)
“Susanna Moodie was a nineteenth century British immigrant to the backwoods of Canada, and her autobiographical text provides a narrative context from which both Margaret Atwood and Charles Pachter respectively grapple with and negotiate the complex, polyglossic nature of Canadian culture, identity, and art. The interface between Atwood’s poetic explication of cultural, linguistic, and literary identity and Pachter’s illustrative visual representations reveals the powerful synergy that is born when text and image collide…Moodie’s chronicle, with its maternal whispers of advice, warning, hope and promise, is our point of departure, as it is from this nebulous ground of narrative instability that the complex amalgam of textured histories grows. Captivated by the specter of Moodie’s early immigrant account, Margaret Atwood’s cycle of poems…fleshes out Moodie’s bare-boned backwoods chronicles. And, born from Atwood’s poetical “turning of Moodie on her head”, Pachter’s evocative graphic art further deepens and extends the branches of this towering and tangled family tree. The immigrant experience, as articulated and rearticulated by Moodie, Atwood, and Pachter for particular historical contexts and audiences, becomes a powerful metaphor for the Canadian artist’s tenuous endeavour of writing, creating, mapping, and navigating his/her way through the harsh narrative and imaginative landscape. Rather than providing us with any sort of assuring closure, Pachter’s visual text opens the very earth in which Moodie was laid to rest, leaving us, once again, haunted.” (Jennifer Aldred, Haunted: The Journals of Susanna Moodie)
“[Pachter’s] pictures are much more commanding in their bold colours and turbulent designs, and even in their size. Many are spread over two pages as they enfold, rather than supplement, the poems…After Moodie intrudes into the Canadian bush, it stealthily invades her: “In time the animals / arrived to inhabit me.” This mutual invasion is reflected in Pachter’s style, which arranges off-balanced patterns, transposed colours, positives and negatives, mirror images.”. (John Kerzer, a blizzard in my eyes, in Canadian Literature Issue 216 (Spring 2013))