Agora – tellingly the Greek word for ‘market place’ – is a collection of fourteen short stories by the little-known French author Maurice Arcy (1888–1946), writing under the pen-name René Baudu. The common theme of the stories, like that of another collection written in 1919 under the same pseudonym, Les après-midi de Montmartre (Montmartre Afternoons), is liaisons between the young and often rather desperate women who frequented this rather seedy artistic quarter of Paris and their companions, both male and female.

Les après-midi de Montmartre was illustrated rather tamely by Edouard Chimot, but Lobel-Riche’s etchings for Agora are rich in detail and nuance.

Agora was published privately ‘Pour le compte des auteurs’ (On behalf of the authors) in a limited numbered edition of 310 copies, of which thirty (like ours) included an original drawing by Lobel-Riche).