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Bilboquet (by Charles Cros) / John Crombie, translator., 2002

Identifier: CC-39686-41647

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Scope and Contents

The book consists of a short story about the French game of Bilboquet that is based upon tossing a wooden ball tethered to a peg in the ground with a string and then catching it.Internet description: Hand set and hand printed in Nicolas Cochin by John Crombie who has translated the text from the original French. The title page is in black with the title in red and blue; each page is decorated with a colored ball and string, blue and pink, followed by green and pink, followed by a dark and lighter pink, the letterpress over the colorful balls and sticks and woven string tethers that snake around each page. Page size: 6-7/8 inches x 5 inches; 20 leaves. Bound by Antonio: simplified structure of tan suede stamped to "texturize" it to resemble wood grain, with onlays of wood in shape of a ball and stick on front panel and cup on back panel, the ball light colored, the stick medium toned, and the cup darker, string onlay on front panel on tan cord, the string on back panel a twist of yellow and green, gray stamped suede guards with wood texture, matching slipcase and sleeve of blue paper over boards with 1/4 pale gray calf at spine, stamped in blue and red, original white wrappers printed in red and blue bound in, signed on inside front turn-in blind stamp "antonio / p.n.," fine. John Crombie tells the reader that this is a translation of a story about bilboquet, better known in the Anglo-Saxon world as 'cup-and-ball', which swept Europe in the sixteenth century, being played alike in royal courts and on the streets. The game's purpose is to toss the (usually wooden) ball- suitably holed, and tethered to the peg by a string - into the air and catch it either on the spike at one end or in the cup at the other. The word itself, which denotes both the game and the plaything, derives from the French "bille," a marble or ball, and "bouquer" to thrust or impale, as with the horn or a "bouc" (he-goat). Charles Cros (1842-1888), French poet, humorous writer, and inventor, performed many early experiments with color, developing an early color photo process. Surely he would have been pleased with this colorful interpretation of his short story. This is a lovely book perfectly capturing the simplicity and joy of the game. -- Source of annotation: Marvin or Ruth Sackner.


  • Creation: 2002



0 See container summary (1 soft cover book + unbound pages (letterpress) (12 pages)) ; 18.1 x 14.5 x .6 cm

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Physical Location

box shelf

Custodial History

The Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, on loan from Ruth and Marvin A. Sackner and the Sackner Family Partnership.


Published: Paris, France : Kickshaws. Nationality of creator: British. General: 26 copies of 220 total copies. General: Added by: RUTH; updated by: MARVIN.

Repository Details

Part of the The Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry Repository

125 W. Washington St.
Main Library
Iowa City Iowa 52242 United States