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Villon I

Jan  Sobota

Published by Ruda Klinkovsky. Wood cuts by Karel Bvolinsky. Full leather French binding covered in black and red Nigerian goatskin inlays. The design depicts ravens ain flight. This motif evokes a scene described in "Ballad of the Hanged Man," a poem included among this edition's selection. The raven's wings were designed as flames in order to symbolize the intolerance of the age. Destruction by fire was frequently the fate of heretics and the heretical books they authored.
23 1/4 x 16 3/4 in (closed)
text by François Villon
illustrated by Karel Bvolinsky
published by Ruda Klinkovsky

François Villon (1431 - after 1463) was one of France's greatest poets and an occasional criminal whose life of excess included at least two convictions for burglary and the killing of a priest in a tavern brawl. After another public fight, Villon was condemned in 1463 to be "hanged and strangled" from the scaffold, a sentence which was commuted to a ten-year banishment from Paris. The course of his life after 1463 is unknown. Most of Villon's poetry includes descriptions of and reflections on the colorful personalities as well as the despair that he encountered in a life led on the fringes of society. Though laced with ironic wit and mordant asides on human pretensions, the early poetry exalts in the pleasures of drinking, fighting, and loving. In the later work, however, Villon's youthful exuberance has evaporated and his ironic tone has been darkened by the lifetime of cruelty and injustice he witnessed.

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