[pseud. VIAN, Boris] SULLIVAN, Vernon

J'irai Cracher Sur Vos Tombes

Paris: La Trompinette [Eric Losfeld], N.d. [c.1958]

8vo, pp. 154. Original red paper wrappers, lettered in black on front panel and spine. French text. Small chip to rear panel, small bookplate of previous owner, otherwise a very good copy.

First published in 1946, and quickly suppressed, this scarce edition was published clandestinely by Eric Losfeld around 1958. (The La Trompinette imprint is a sly reference to Vian's other life as a jazz trumpeter). Losfeld was a pre-eminent publisher of controversial material, from de Sade's Justine [1950] at the beginning of his career, to Emmanuelle [1967] at the end of it.

Critics often cite the influence of hardboiled American writers like Hammett and Chandler on Vian's lurid and extremely violent tale of racial tension and retribution in the Deep South, but I Shall Spit On Your Graves, in its overheated atmosphere and graphic depiction of violence (especially sexual violence) resembles far more closely the work of America's 'dimestore Dostoevsky', Jim Thompson -- whose career as a crime writer didn't get going until the 1950s. Thompson did it better -- way, way better -- but Vian did it first.

A film of J'irai Cracher Sur Vos Tombes was made by Michel Gast in 1959, against Vian's wishes. At a preview of the film, Vian's rage became so intense he died of a heart attack, still ranting.

Small book label of Olympia Press bibliographer Patrick Kearney to inside front wrapper.

A scarce survivor.

Keywords: Boris VIAN"


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