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arc2Finding obscure periodicals and leafing through them can be a real joy especially when you find small sized literary gems like this French publication titled Revue L’Arc.

The magazine ran from 1958 through 1986 and a total of 100 numbers were published over this period, with some popular issues reissued. Stanford University has an entire run of this periodical. The magazine was originally a quarterly but in some years it had 5 issues. In 1961, the magazine changed to become a thematic periodical and the largest success was a number dedicated to the French philosopher and author Claude Levi-Strauss, other issues, with a full list here, were dedicated, for example. to literary expressionism (1961-no.25) or great contemporary authors. During the first few years especially, a number of issues had photographic contributions by famous photographers like Robert Doisneau or Lucien Clergue, Henri Ely, Mandello and others.

The size of the magazine is approximately 19cms x 14 cms / 8 inches by 5 inches and anywhere from 90 to 120 pages. The periodical included local news and events from the South of France and had reviews of art expositions and artists.

Interesting is the contribution in this early issue of three poems (translated in  French) by the American avant-garde poet E.E.Cummings (1894-1962) a painter, poet, playwright. As a pacifist, Cummings served on an ambulance as a volunteer in WWI and was subsequently imprisoned for several months by French authorities for suspicion of treason due to letters he had written. He recounted his jail experiences in the autobiographical novel The Enormous Room, published in 1922. Let us have a look at some photographs:


From the summer 1958 issue, no credit given but almost certain by Robert Doisneau


Summer 1959 with an article on young Spanish painters and poetry by the French Egyptian Andree Chedid (1920-2011)

IMG_0005john craven

Olive trees in the Provence, photo by the very talented John Craven (1912-1981), use this link to see more work.

IMG_0004robert doisneau

A similar theme by Robert Doisneau

IMG_0003hiroshimaThe film still is from the very famous movie Hiroshima Mon Amour by cinematographer Alain Resnais, written by the author Marguerite Duras and illustrates a review by Roger Tailleur of the new French Cinema and for those who need to refresh their memory have a look at the new release trailer below.

IMG_0008 andre marchand coverThe winter 1959 issue features the painter Andre Marchand (1907-1998)on the beach on the cover as well as working in his studio but  unfortunately no credit is given to the photographer.

IMG_0011andre marchandWe close our review with an interesting photograph of migrant workers in Italy near Palermo in Modicani by Andre Martin illustrating an article by the Italian writer Elio Vittorini.

Last but not least again my favorite photographer Robert Doisneau.

IMG_0010robert doisneauThe 1960’s and 70’s were real poetry decades and many authors published their work and collaborated with visual artists. A fine example is the book shown below with poetry by David Jaffin published in 1972 in a series called The Abelard Poets published in London by the Abelard-Schumann Publishing Company. It features an etching by the French/American sculptor Jacques Lipchitz, an artist of the Brancusi and Picasso generation.

abelard2Edward Lucie-Smith, a contemporary of David Jaffin has given him a beautiful accolade by calling him a weighter of words and that comes from an artist who has written over a 100 books!

You can read some wonderful comments by poet David Jaffin about his own work. here. Jaffin’s comments about himself are quite intriguing!

David Jaffin’s poetry has appeared in the following publications;

abelard3From the book are these 2 short poems: