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Le Juif Qui Rit [The Laughing Jew]

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Le Juif Qui Rit [The Laughing Jew]

BOOKS. Paris, 1926. Scarce satirical work of illustrated jokes in two volumes.

Price: $1,800

FIRST EDITION. Szyk's political and satirical wit is exulted in these books of illustrated cartoon jokes divided into categories such as education, hygiene, cafes, and society life.

Szyk's wife Julia wrote in her memoirs…“In 1925, Arthur illustrated a small book called 'Le Juif Qui Rit'. It was a book of jokes and humorous stories…illustrated with satirical works. It came about in a curious manner. One night while sitting in a cafe in Montparnasse a friend of ours brought to our table the gentlemen Bienstock and Curnonsky. They were introduced as the greatest humorists of the times. They began to relate anecdotes. Arthur, always a lover of stories and humor began to tell them Polish stories. The evening was spent in laughter. At the end of the evening Mr. Curnonsky broached the subject of a book of stories just related. Arthur was not enthusiastic since he had always used his art for a definite purpose. They finally prevailed upon him to say 'yes' and the book was eventually printed in France that year.” The title of his book was not chosen by accident, “The Laughing Jew”. It serves as “both an answer to our detractors as well as a way for us to see images of truthfulness about ourselves.”

SZYK, Arthur. Le Juif Qui Rit [The Laughing Jew], legendes anciennes et nouvelles arragnees par Curnonsky & J.W. Bienstock. Paris: Albin Michel, Editeur, 1926. Text in French. Two volumes. 221pp. and 239pp. Profusely illustrated black and white line drawings and sketches. Original pictorial wrappers printed on acid paper. Wrappers fragile. Very scarce.

Cover of Volume II of Arthur Szyk's <em>Le Juif Qui Rit</em>.