In 1906, suspected terrorist, art-world tastemaker, and literary instigator Félix Fénéon wrote more than a thousand faits-divers for the Paris newspaper Le Matin. When New York Review Books Classics published Luc Sante’s English translation of Fénéon’s dispatches as Novels in Three Lines, illustrator Joanna Neborsky was inspired to bring twenty-eight of them to life using a mixture of collage and drawing. The resulting illustrations, combined with Fénéon’s economic and electric prose, comprise Illustrated Three-Line Novels: Félix Fénéon, and are sure to please everyone from Francophiles to fans of art and modernist literature.
Taken individually, Fénéon’s trenchant, and often bizarre, reports are enigmatic and fragmentary, but taken as a whole they compose a detailed portrait of life in France at the turn of the last century. Fénéon’s news items are populated with opium addicts, prostitutes, drunks, those flattened by trains and carriages, inept and angry thieves, protestors, and simpletons. Neborsky’s artwork brings them and their exploits to life in colorfully deranged glory.
Maira Kalman writes of the work, “These staccato shot, short, short stories now live thanks to Joanna Neborsky’s splendid, mysterious drawings and designs. Excelsior!”
Neborsky says of her project, “Fénéon’s nouvelles date to an era that was busy about the future; indeed, in their sharp, modernist, fragmented way, they did their part to herald that future . . . More than a century has passed since the caped, goateed anarchist-aesthete who befriended Seurat before he un-friended Gauguin wrote about men and women squabbling, stumbling, and injuring one another across France, but I recognize them intimately.”
About Joanna Neborsky
After studying literature at Yale, teaching English in Toulouse, playing drums in a Ronettes tribute band, leading tours in New York Harbor as a park ranger, and living on a horse farm outside Los Angeles, Joanna Neborsky decided all she really wanted to do was draw. She applied to New York’s School of Visual Arts’ MFA Illustration program in 2007; two years later, she had self-published four books and delivered the commencement address at Radio City Music Hall. Her work has been recognized in American Illustration and 3×3 Magazine; her clients include The New York Times, Riverhead Books, and Farrar Straus & Giroux.
About MBP Illustrated Fiction
Crafting compelling narratives by combining inventive prose with provocative imagery, MBP’s Illustrated Fiction titles include A Field Guide to the North American Family, Instructions for the Apocalypse, and The Inner Life of Martin Frost. Writers, visual artists and designers merge their respective talents to reveal stories that readers won’t soon forget.
About Mark Batty Publisher
Mark Batty Publisher (http://www.markbattypublisher.com) is an independent publisher dedicated to making distinctive books on the visual art of communicating, showcasing the visual power and innovation of contemporary culture in all of its varied poses. Today, the visual comes at us from more places than ever, and its dissemination is faster and more advanced every year. Books from Mark Batty Publisher capture this acceleration on the pages of every book. Affordable, well designed, thoughtfully created, and produced to last, MBP books are artful products that readers want to hold onto forever.