The Songs of Bilitis, Pierre Louys, Illustrated by Willy Pogany, English Translation

The Songs of Bilitis (English Translation) (1926)

Pierre Louys

Illustrated by Willy Pogany

Translation by Alvah C Bessie

Limited Edition of 2000 and with the signature in ink of Willy Pogany. This is number 1807.

Published by Macy- Masius, New York, 1926. Privately printed for subscribers.

Very good condition. All pages clean and secure. There are many beautiful line block illustrations by Pogany. 9 full page illustrations and with additional small illustrations for every page in the book.


The Songs of Bilitis  (Les Chansons de Bilitis)  by  Pierre Louÿs and published in Paris in 1894, is a collection of erotic poetry with strong lesbian themes.  The story behind the creation of the work is intriguing and indeed, contains plenty of intrigue, as Louÿs claimed that the poems were discovered from an authentic ancient Greek source, and inscribed upon the walls of a tomb in Cyprus by Bilitis, a courtesan who was a contemporary of Sappho. It was a  claim that at first convinced the experts. Eventually the deception was discovered, yet the work was seen as so remarkable a forgery and of having such worth in itself that the author was generally forgiven and the verses acclaimed as worthy evocations of Lesbian sexuality. 

Louÿs made a personal dedication at the beginning:

‘This little book of antique love is respectfully dedicated to the youg ladies of the society of the future.’

***There are links below to guide you on how to purchase and also to the biographical details of the artist. Additionally there is a link below if you are interested in our section on articles and writings on Symbolist Art History and Symbolism.***




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