editor at work

I’ve been busy! But I took some time out to look for an image of an editor at work so I could at least post that … and I happened upon this one. Not a woman, not behind a computer, not even wearing glasses, but hey …

man with beard bent over desk full of papers working in lamplight

Félix Fénéon at La Revue Blanche (1896) by Félix Vallotton. Public domain.

black-and-white photo of Felix Feneon

Félix Fénéon, c. 1900. Public domain.

The editor at work turned out to be more interesting than I had imagined. He is Félix Fénéon, an editor, a translator, a journalist, an author, an art critic, an art gallery director, and whatnot … After his stint as (eventually) editor-in-chief at La Revue Blanche, an art and literature magazine, he worked for some time at a Parisian newspaper, Le Matin, where from May until November 1906 it was his task to write short ‘news fillers’, des nouvelles en trois lignes (aka ‘news in three lines’). He acquitted himself of his task with such style that his nouvelles have been compared to haiku.

« Si mon candidat échoue, je me tue », avait déclaré M. Bellavoine, de Fresquienne (Seine-Inférieure). Il s’est tué.

‘If my candidate loses, I will kill myself,’ M. Bellavoine, of Fresquienne, Seine-Inférieure, had declared. He killed himself.

They were printed without a by-line at the time, and when it was suggested to him they should be published as a book, apparently, he replied angrily, ‘I aspire only to silence’. They were, however, posthumously published and, more recently, even translated and published in English. In my opinion, the author’s wit and style get lost a bit in translation.

painting of man bent over desk, writing

At the Revue Blanche (Portrait of Félix Fénéon) (1901) by Édouard Vuillard. Painting held in the Guggenheim Museum in New York, USA. Public domain.