Michele Hutchison, Editor De Arbeiderspers
The origin of the world
The jewel in the crown of our collection of Arbeiderspers titles published in foreign languages is a slim cream-coloured book encased in a dark red slip case. The slip case is cut away horizontally in a rolling arabesque and the half of the cover you do see is elegantly printed with a continuation of the art deco silver lines of the case.
An example of beautiful and original packaging.
This is Flower City Press’s edition of Jelto Drenth’s De oorsprong van de wereld, and is frequently brought out in meetings as an example of beautiful and original packaging. So admired is this book that we are paying tribute to its form in a forthcoming Dutch title: Arthur Japin’s Kussenboek (Pillowbook). It won’t look exactly the same but it will have an elegant slip case and it will be produced in China.
Much is made of Chinese censorship and who knows what may have been left out of the translation of The Origin of the World, but it has been discretely and beautifully published and that should count for something. Jelto Drenth is a sexologist and the book is about female sexuality and genitalia. The same publishers also have an edition of Mels van Driel’s Manhood in the pipeline, a companion volume on the cultural history of the penis and testicles. The publishers are also seriously considering his follow up which is on masturbation, though they felt very uncomfortable discussing it with my colleague when visiting our offices last year. I’ll be meeting with them at the fair and look forward to hearing whether they have made a decision.