Les élans du coeur

Year: 1955

Author: Félicien Marceau (1913 - 2012)

Publisher: Gallimard

Les élans du coeur, title page

Between 1941 and 1967, Gallimard published 552 books that weren't released with the customary paper covers, but in cardboard or linen bindings. The decorations of the bindings were produced by a number of artists, but most were designed by Paul Bonet and Mario Prassinos. There weren't only first editions; reprints and translations also appeared in this modern fashion. Since interest in the 1950s has increased, such industrial bookbindings are fervently sought out by collectors, and a bibliography has been dedicated to these editions.

Paul Bonet was already a famous bookbinder when he received his first commission for this series. His binding decorations were quite similar to the unique designs he produced for hand-bound books: these popular versions have made his work known to a wide audience. He would have used leather inlays in various colours for a unique binding, but for Les élans du coeur a white oval was printed on yellow linen, with horizontal lines in light and dark blue stamped across it. The back cover mirrors the front cover. The first edition of the novel by Marceau (who was granted membership of the Académie Française in 1975) appeared in 1955. At the end of that same year, Gallimard published this reprint in a limited, numbered edition. The author wrote a lengthy dedication to Louis Koopman in this copy.

In 1990, a number of original sketches for cover designs by Paul Bonet were auctioned. The Koopman Collection purchased seventeen of the ink drawings for this NRF series. Ten of these designs were produced for editions by Paul Valéry, two were made for books by Paul Éluard, and two were done for work by Valery Larbaud. Three designs that were never produced were also purchased, for texts by Proust, Valéry and Larbaud. The colour sketches feature highly detailed notes by Bonet on the rear about the implementation of the 'gravure' (the distance and position of words and figures), 'reliure' (for instance the kind of paper used for the cardboard binding) and 'dorure' (the gilding, colour use – including colour samples – and the back cover, which often mirrors the front cover). These designs can teach us a great deal about Paul Bonet's methods.

Bibliographical description

Description: Les élans du coeur : roman / Félicien Marceau. - Paris : Gallimard, [1955]. - 261 p. ; 19 cm

Printer: Impr. moderne (Montrouge, Seine)

Edition: 750 copies

This copy: Number 127 of 750 on Navarre de Voiron

Bookbinder: Bound after a design by Paul Bonet

Note: With autograph dedication from Félicien Marceau to Louis Koopman

Bibliography: Bénézit 2-517

Shelfmark: KW Koopm C 1635 and original design by Paul Bonet for Marcel Proust (Oeuvres): KW 77 G 70 [nr. 17]


  • Paul Bonet, Carnets, 1924-1971: Répertoire complet, descriptif et bibliographique de toutes ses reliures. Paris, Blaizot, 1981
  • Paul van Capelleveen, Sophie Ham, Jordy Joubij, Voices and visions. The Koopman Collection and the Art of the French Book. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands; Zwolle, Waanders, 2009
  • Paul van Capelleveen, Sophie Ham, Jordy Joubij, Voix et visions. La Collection Koopman et l'Art du Livre français. La Haye, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Bibliothèque nationale des Pays-Bas; Zwolle, Waanders, 2009
  • Jean-Étienne Huret, Les cartonnages NRF: Bibliographie. Paris, Librairie Nicaise, 1997