Flaubert’s Parrot | Uncorrected Proof (Alfred A. Knopf, 1985)

Notes on this edition: Julian Barnes. Flaubert’s Parrot. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985. Pp. 190 + [2]. 21 x 13.5 cm.

Uncorrected Proof of the first U.S. edition of Julian Barnes’s novel Flaubert’s Parrot published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1985. Covered in green wraps with black lettering.

Presented here are two versions of the Knopf proof. The first copy was the top proof on the cart of text blocks upon which the cover color was written. The cover has the initials “P.C.” for “Press Copy” and the inside text block is marked “Press Copy Truck” with the cover color indicated as “Spring Green (114)”. This particular copy was acquired by the press operator prior to forwarding the remaining proof copies to the publisher for distribution to reviewers.

The second copy of this proof contains the provisional publication date of “March 8, 1985” with the “8” hand-written by the publisher. Stapled to the inside cover are two sheets of promotional material. This proof represents the typical state in which a copy would be forwarded to reviewers for consideration.

Also note that on one of the promotional sheets, the publisher corrected an error in which the main character of Flaubert’s Parrot, Geoffrey Braithwaite, was listed as “Charles Braithwaite”, suggesting a temporary blurring of the main male characters in Barnes’s novel and Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary [i.e. Charles Bovary].

Flaubert & Louise: Letters & Impressions (Charles Hobson, 1988; Prospectus)

Notes on this edition: In 1988, artist Charles Hobson created an limited edition artists’ book titled Flaubert & Louise: Letters & Impressions. The contents of the book include letters written by Gustave Flaubert to his lover Louise Colet. Also included are excerpts from Julian Barnes’s novel Flaubert’s Parrot in which he fictionalized Colet’s voice in a chapter titled, “Louise Colet’s Version”. Hobson merges Flaubert’s real letters with Barnes’s fictional text to create a sense of an exchange between the couple.

The item presented in the photos is a prospectus for the artists’ book prepared at the time of the publication of the work in 1988. 21.5 x 14 cm.

A copy of the original artists’ book currently sells for $3,000 on Hobson’s website. Chronicle Books also issued a spiral bound book by Hobson titled Paris Encounters that contains a section devoted to his artistic creation Flaubert & Louise. Charles Hobson writes about his creative process for this work in an exhibition catalog in 2002: http://www.charleshobson.com/Hobson_Catalog.pdf