I’m a Cahunian

Adam Mars-Jones

  • Never Anyone But You by Rupert Thomson
    Corsair, 340 pp, £18.99, June 2018, ISBN 978 1 4721 5350 0

Rupert Thomson’s new novel follows the contours of a remarkable life. Lucy Schwob, born in 1894 to a cultured and prosperous Nantes family, moved to Paris in 1920, where she developed strong links with the Surrealist movement and adopted the name Claude Cahun. Though she produced work in a number of media, and in her lifetime was known as a writer, she is now remembered for her photographic self-portraits, mainly taken in the 1920s, which stage her in various personae (aviator, buddha, doll, angel). She never had an exhibition of photographs in her lifetime, and they hardly circulated.

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[*] The essay, ‘Claude Cahun: An Analysis of Her Photographic Technique’, was published in Don’t Kiss Me: The Art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, edited by Louise Downie (2006).