Baudelaire’s voyage 1975

10 sonnets by STEPHEN GRAY and 10 original woodcuts by CECIL SKOTNES

This private edition is limited to 75 copies numbered I to 75, and 15 artists proofs numbered I to XV.

Each woodcut is titled, numbered and signed by the artist, and each portfolio signed by the artist and the poet.

The woodcuts were printed from the original blocks in four colours on Zerkall B├╝tten paper by Egon Guenther in Johannesburg, the text was set in 18 pt. Caslon Light and printed by ABC Press, Cape Town.

September, 1975

‘Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) was born in the year Napoleon died. At twenty he was despatched by his step-father on a disciplinary voyage, from a life of dissipation and unconventionality in Paris, supposedly to the Far East. After Mauritius, the Paquebot-des-Mers-du-Sud called at St Denis, Reunion Island, but on the next haul for Calcutta the young Baudelaire was no longer on board. On November 4, 1841, the freighter Alcide left St Denis for Bordeaux with the poet as cargo: by December 4 he was at the Cape where the details of his stay until the 8th remain unrecorded. From his early poems which led to the publication of Les Fleurs du Mal in 1857 one deduces that the mature poet was always obsessed with his experiences in the tropics, and with the myth of himself as exotic traveller. This sonnet sequence pays homage, by way of imitation, to that man and his voyage in the Indian Ocean.’