Voyage Fantastique – An Illustrated Guide to the Body and Mind

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All images from Le Livre de Sante by Joseph Handler (Monte Carlo: Andre Sauret, 1967):

volume 1: La Place de L’Homme dans L’Univers. Les Materiaux de la Vie.

02 Le cycle du carbone, illus. by Michel Simeon (from Le Livre de  Sante, v.1, 1967)
Le cycle du carbone, illus. by Michel Simeon

01 Le cycle des graisses, illus. by Michel Simeon (from Le Livre de  Sante, v.1, 1967)
Le cycle des graisses, illus. by Michel Simeon

03 La fabrication des proteines, illus. by Michel Simeon (from Le  Livre de Sante, v.1, 1967)
La fabrication des proteines, illus. by Michel Simeon

04 Le Cellule, illus. by Peter Wyss (from Le Livre de Sante, v.1,  1967)
Le Cellule, illus. by Peter Wyss

05 Fantastic Voyage, illus. by Peter Wyss after the movie (from Le  Livre de Sante, v.1, 1967)
Voyage Fantastique, illus. by Peter Wyss after the movie

06 Echelle de taille des etres vivants, illus. by Sophie Granddval  (from Le Livre de Sante, v.1, 1967)
Echelle de taille des etres vivants, illus. by Sophie Granddval

07 Le role des acides nucleiques, illus. by J. M. Folon (from Le  Livre de Sante, v.1, 1967)
Le role des acides nucleiques, illus. by J. M. Folon

Also see: Folon’s Kafka

08 Le role des mitochondries, illus. by J. M. Folon (from Le Livre  de Sante, v.1, 1967)
Le role des mitochondries, illus. by J. M. Folon

09 Le systeme de Copernic, illus. by Colette Portal (from Le Livre  de Sante, v.1, 1967)
Le systeme de Copernic, illus. by Colette Portal

10 Paris, Mars, Jupiter, illus. by Peter Wyss (from Le Livre de  Sante, v.1, 1967)
Saturne, Mars, Jupiter, illus. by Peter Wyss

From the autobiography of albert einstein by Gerhard Roth (1972):

drops of protein, spermatocysts, watch-hands, thermostats, tiny valve pipes, air, odometers, gel, ccm, atmospheres, ions, magnets, electrolytes, bicycle spokes, honey-combs, fish fins, urine, test tubes, positive poles, negative poles, parchment, amniotic sacs, egg shells, leaf patterns, protozoa, gills, tooth enamel, ether, celluloid, isotopes, cepeid variables, gamma rays, idioplasm, perpetua mobilia, quintessence, radioactivity, signs of the zodiac, gonococci, arsenic, water wheels, alizaris, hieroglyphics, deuterons, nerve tracts, mother of pearl, jellyfish, 5 degress, pollen, meridians, hygrometers, alveoli, quinine, spectrum lines, glass fibre, parallaxes, ears, nematoblasts, flickering, bronze, footnotes, ellipses, leiden jars, phlogiston, gun powder, gravity, primodial sea, selenium, systoles, eye-balls, heliozoans, chrysoprase, fossils, units of length, cyclotrones, spawn, glaze, nothing, paleolithic era, polyps, chalcedony, CaCo3, division signs, spirit of wine, ammonium, graphite, larynxes, gall stones, WORDS
i swim, swim in a flickering. the relays clatter in my head…dreamy phase! i race through the convolutions of my brain, i look through the vitreous spheres of my eyes…exquisite speech bubbles burst in my brain, bespatter my perception, drip from furniture. in a rabble of words from condensed perceptual mist! the echo of the anthropomorphic shit resounds from every atom, to form calcified vessels. my watch ticks…tic-toc, like a small bird in a steel case, my head is a glass bubble through which one can glimpse a frantic ticking cog wheel mechanism — and here, here in my pocket i have a little key with which i can set this mechanism in motion whenever i want.

Stay tuned for images from volumes 2 through 20 of this French health encyclopedia. I recently found the complete set. This volume is relatively light on hand-drawn illustrations, but I decided to feature the series in order.

I’ll add more information about Le Livre de Sante as I work my way through it, but here are my first impressions: It was likely marketed to a general audience, as it feels like a Time-Life series you’d find in Michel Houellebecq‘s childhood home. (Roland Topor himself illustrates a variety of phobias.) It has enough graphic close-ups of disease and dead people — think Faces of Death — that I hope it wasn’t marketed to high schools. I also wonder if the whole project was just a whim of Andre Sauret, who was primarily known as a publisher of art books (see Milton Glaser and World Literature).

Previously exhumed: Biology Today.


Will Schofield is the editor of 50 Watts (original name: A Journey Round My Skull) and Writers No One Reads. More from this author →