Le carnet de rêves

André Beucler (1898 - 1985)
Robert Bonfils (1886 - 1972)
Cover with an etching by Robert Bonfils

Le carnet de rêves by André Beucler appeared twice in 1927, in two different typographical versions by the same printer/publisher. The text of these editions hardly differed from each other. They were two identical novellas with two dreams written out in epistolary form. The first edition of Le carnet de rêves was fairly conventional- although it had been printed on special paper and been provided with three engravings by Robert Bonfils. The second version doesn't appear to resemble a novel or novella at all. Its text has been typeset as if it were a type specimen.

Story as type specimen

The story starts normally on page 1 and continues until page 55 (its division into chapters has disappeared from this version). The same story begins again directly after, but ends around three quarters into the book. The type face varies from page to page. The line spacing and the type area also change throughout the book. Information about the type face, type fount, and the line space used in typesetting and printing the text is always noted beneath the text, eg. 'romain Didot', 'interligné à quatre points', 'de sept'. The first pages are printed in large type founts, with generous line spacing. As the story progresses, the type fount grows smaller and the margins grow larger. It starts withsize 42 and ends insize 6. This is followed by several unnumbered pages, typeset in a medium-sized type fount. Some texts are in bold face, others in italics, and most are set in regular roman.

It is unusual for a type specimen to use a continuous story. Type specimens are meant to display the type faces and sizes available to the printer, so the customer can make the right choice for the text he wants to have printed. Sometimes a standard line of text is used for this, in many cases a fitting text about typography, such as 'Every printer is, besides a producer of printed material, also a salesman after all'. Sometimes a different text is used for each type face and each type fount, as in: 'Diamond POWDER', and examples are provided for the various types of printing work, such as birth announcements. In other cases, the font type face is demonstrated by using the entire alphabet for each individual type fount. But a complete story, told from A to Z, is very rare. The story has been designed specifically for the use of a type specimen, for the second dream describes a visit to a printer.


A printer as publisher

This type specimenwas printed by Maurice Darantiere from Dijon (1882-1962). Like his father, master printer Victor Darantiere, Maurice Darantiere made his reputation in bibliophile circles due to the quality of his printing work. Via Adrienne Monnier of the Maison des amis des livres in Paris, he came into contact with influential publishers and writers. The best-known work printed by Darantiere was the first edition of Ulysses by James Joyce in 1922. He also printed work by Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. Darantiere was especially successful in the 1920s. In 1926 he began to publish books himself- just like printers such as Léon Pichon and François Bernouard- under the name Éditions du raisin. The ordinary edition of Le carnet de rêves was one of the books he published like that.

The colophon of the type specimen edition of Beucler's novella notes that this was produced especially for the printer's friends in an edition of 300 copies (the regular edition only consisted of 130 copies). It served as a showpiece for the printer. That is also evident from the front cover: under the engraving by Art Déco artist Robert Bonfils- who illustrated a scene in the printing firm for the regular edition- the name 'Darantiere' is printed in a large type fount. With this book, Darantiere does not present a story, but his business.

  • Page 80: 'romain Elzévir'

Bibliographical description

Le carnet de rêves / André Beucler. - Deuxième présentation. - [Dijon: Darantiere], 1927. - 83 p. : ill. ; 29 cm
1st edition:
Darantiere (Dijon)
300 copies
This copy:
Number 208 of 300 on Auvergne
Bénézit 2-518/519 ; Mahé I-255 ; Monod 1518
Koopm A 532


  • Histoire de l’édition française, Vol. 4. Paris, Promodis, 1986
  • Jean-Michel Rabaté, Maurice Darantiere: Les années vingt: bibliographie d'imprimeur. Plombières-lès-Dijon, Ulysse fin de siècle, 1988
  • Jean-Michel Rabaté, '"Thank Maurice": a note about Maurice Darantiere', in: Joyce studies annual, (1991), p. 245-251