A publishing house date of birth coincides maybe with the release of its first book. For us, it was November 2012. The intents date back to many years before. We had to gather wishes, ambition, enthusiasm, projects, selflessness, narcissism, risk, money to start, optimism. A long list. In the time we live in, we needed a bit of aware unconsciousness, too.
“If you can dream something, you can do it” Walt Disney said, and so we found a wonderful excuse.
What is characterizing our little publishing house is the involvement of authors who had never written for children before. And we will keep on following this path. There are also some “typical” children’s book authors with us. Illustrators are expert professionals and great mentors. We care a lot about graphics, the choice of the book layout, from the size to the font, and for some other details (for our book designer they are as big as a whole image). If readers don’t notice them, it means that everything works properly.
We publish few titles a year. It is not mannerism, but necessity. We will never become a business company. It is not mannerism, but our nature.
Rrose Sélavy. We took our name from Marcel Duchamp, probably the most innovative artist of the 20th century. He was defined the father of Dadaism, even if this paternity would be limiting to him.
Duchamp signed some works (ready-made) as Rrose Sélavy. It was the 1920s, a century ago, but it seems rather nowadays – if not future – for the modernity of his art. There is a memorable picture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art took by his friend Man Ray (another mentor of the 20th century), showing Duchamp with female clothes. Rrose Sélavy, indeed.
This name is a phonetic anagram – Eros c’est la vie – drawn from a Duchamp’s inscription on a painting of Francis Picabia.
That’s what Duchamp claims in an interview:
“I wanted to change my identity and at the beginning I thought to assume a Jewish name. I was Catholic, and a religious shift implied a change. Yet I couldn’t find any Jewish name I liked or that struck my imagination, and suddenly I had an idea: why not a gender swap?
The name Rrose Sélavy comes from there. Today it sounds quite well, because also the names change as time goes by, but in 1920 it was a silly name. The double ‘R’ has something to do with Picabia’s painting Œil cacodylate – showed in the cabaret club Le Bœuf sur le Toit –, that Picabia asked all friend to sign. I think I wrote ‘Pi Qu’habilla Rrose Sélavy’”.
Duchamp’s inscription on Picabia’s painting sounds like Picabia l’arrose c’est la vie. Arroser la vie, that is to say “to make a toast in honor of life”.
This too is creativity. Subtle irony revealing the language insignificance in life and art.
And for this reason, we love it.
Diversity and Inclusion
(21-102) Board books
(21-113) Picture books
(B) Early readers
(C) Middle grade
(E) All Ages