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S.I.P. Two Doves

1904?  Les Deux Pigeons.  Set of 8 numbered photographic postcards by S.I.P.  105/1-8.  $5 each from Bertrand Cocq, Calonne-Ricouart, France, Sept., '20.

This is a remarkable set in several ways.  This collection does not have many sets of eight cards.  Six seems to have been the standard size, with a few including ten cards.  At least some of the photographic series try to include the whole text of a fable.  With this fable's long text, that is impossible.  The editors here make a clever shift.  What in the text is part of the stay-at-home's plea for the friend not to depart here becomes a solitary statement of concern while the friend is gone.  Perhaps the most fascinating thing about this series has to do with its handling of gender.  La Fontaine's text, as far as I can tell, speaks of male friends.  French illustrators of the fable appear, at least to me, to have interpreted it frequently and even regularly in heterosexual and romantic terms, with a male leaving a female behind and returning to her.  Here, to help complexify matters, a female plays the departing male, with little attempt to disguise her femininity.  Hmmm…..  The last seven cards were sent to an Yvonne Ronard.  The first card has a cancelling date of 1905.  By the way, this bird does come home as wounded and battered as I think the dove does in La Fontaine's fable!