Books for Trade: ALÉRA, Don Brennus. – Le Tour du monde d’un flagellant, d’après le journal intime du Baron de M***. – Massy (Seine-et-Oise.): Select Bibliothèque, 1906

This one is the real thing and appears to be the very first title issued in the numbered series. furthermore it is currently listed live for sale on eBay. Link at the bottom of this listing

Details courtesy of Patrick Kearney at his Scissors and Paste site

The Select-Bibliothèque was one of several publishing houses specializing in fetish material that flourished in Paris during the first half of the twentieth century. Like the others, notably Jean Fort’s ‘Orties Blanches’ series and the ‘Librairie Artistique et Editions Parisiennes Reunies’ of Paul Brenet, the books of the Select Bibliothèque were published openly. Occasionally a title would cross some mysterious line and be prosecuted, but in general, since there was no sex in the conventional sense, these publishers were left to their devices by the authorities.

Despite the openness of these books, the publisher of the Select Bibliothèque remains unknown, at least to this cataloguer. Paul Jérôme writes of Don Brennus Aléra as being “un (ou plusieurs) des pourvoyeurs de l’editeur parisien Massy…” (Dictionnaire des œuvres érotiques, Paris: Mercure de France, 1971, p. 484). In fact, Massy was where the earliest books in the series were published. The almost anagramitic similarity of the names of the authors of most of the books – Bernard Valonnes, Don Brennus Aléra, Roland Brevannes – suggests a single hand at work, and one that spanned in excess of 30 years. And it might not be unreasonable to think that the author was also the publisher.

The numbered titles in the series were in a small 8vo – closer to 16mo – format, and began publication in 1907. However, there were also a handful of earlier titles, in a larger octavo format and on better paper, which were not numbered. I’ve only seen one of these [in a private collection in Hamburg]. These were also published circa 1907. It is probable that the unnumbered titles, being on better paper, proved to be uneconomical prompting the publisher to change to a smaller format and cheaper paper soon thereafter. Note also that only of a few of the Select Bibliothèque titles went into second printings, and so the Catalogues or ‘Tarifs’ which appeared in the front of each volume are usually incomplete, some titles being missing. I’ve only ever seen one title that the Select Bibliothèque itself reprinted, and that too was in Hamburg.

There were three different illustrators. The first of these was ‘Tack’, who was a better artist than his successors, but old fashioned. The others were ‘Esbey’ and ‘Selby’, who were rather naïve but who had better imaginations than ‘Tack’. It is Interesting that this series is so cohesive in concept and production, from 1907 through 1939 when it probably ceased.


. The details given are of the originals, I have no idea when the facsimiles were produced.



Title Page

1. ALÉRA, Don Brennus. – Le Tour du monde d’un flagellant, d’après le journal intime du Baron de M***. – Massy (Seine-et-Oise.): Select Bibliothèque, 1906. In-16, 242 pp. The illustrations aren’t signed, but resemble those by ‘Tack’ to be found in later works in the series. (Bibliothèque Nationale: RES P- Y2- 373. – 843.8 A37 t7 1906.)

Don Brennus Alera: le Tour du Monde d’un Flagellant (D’apres le journal intime du Baron de M***; Select Bibliotheque 1906, pp 238 + table, rebound in marbled boards, original covers bound in, Illustrated cover in Green and black, 5 full page plates. Early scarce flagellation novel, for some unknown reason highly collectible. Rebound in marbled boards, original covers bound in, a number of leaves removed after table of contents (adverts?), text complete about good.


Live on eBay

Don Brennus Alera: le Tour du Monde d’un Flagellant; Select Bibliotheque 1906

See Also

Books for Trade: Van Rowel, Désiré, Le Château des cuisants souvenirs: Librairie Artistique et Édition Parisienne réunies: 1934. Illustrated by Carlo


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