Petite dactylo (The Little Typist), first published by Jean Fort in 1914 and here reprinted in his Collection des Orties Blanches (White Nettle Collection), is set in a typing school with a method of correction that long predates Tippex. Its author, here writing as Sadie Blackeyes, was Pierre Mac Orlan. Born Pierre Dumarchey (1882–1970), Mac Orlan was a leading French songwriter and novelist whose work included Quai des Brumes (1928): filmed by Marcel Carné in 1938 and starring Jean Gabin, it remains one of the enduring cornerstones of French cinema.
But Mac Orlan had a third profession, as a writer of under-the-counter novels. Under a variety of pseudonyms – Sadie Blackeyes, Pierre du Bourdel, Docteur Fowler – as well as his real name, Mac Orlan wrote a multitude of erotic novels, most of them sadomasochistic. As Sadie Blackeyes, he wrote regularly for Jean Fort, one of the early twentieth century’s most assiduous publishers of such material. As well as Petite dactylo, five other Sadie Blackeyes titles were published under the Collection des Orties Blanches, including Quinze Ans, Lise, and Baby, Douce Fille.
It is this edition of Petite dactylo that most strongly suggests a link between ‘Gaston Smit’ and Louis Malteste, as the illustrated second title page bears Malteste’s signature in a remarkably similar style to the G. Smit signature on most of the plates. However, the Malteste-signed drawing is noticeably better than the others, so maybe most are by an unknown ‘Smit’ apprentice.
We are grateful to Steve Mullins of the Olympia Press website (www.parisolympiapress.com) for these illustrations.