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Price: $50.00

Claire Huot

Claire Huot is a scholar specializing in Chinese studies. She has written two books on contemporary Chinese culture, La Petite révolution culturelle (Éditions Philippe Picquier), and China’s New Cultural Scene: A Handbook of Changes (Duke...

Robert Majzels

Robert Majzels’s books include Hellman’s Scrapbook, City of Forgetting, Apikoros Sleuth, and The Humbugs Diet. In 2007, he was awarded the Alcuin Society Prize for Excellence in Book Design for the limited edition of

Mao Zedong (85)

Claire Huot

Robert Majzels

1 of 5 book set, 85
Binding: Hardcover, Anstey Bookbinding
Edition Size: 200 |  Pages: 22 [accordion]
Size: 8.75 x 3.25
Visual Poetry | $50.00
ISBN 987-1-934254-45-5

Original page designs by Robert Majzels
85 set box designed and manufactured by Nathan Tremblay

Published simultaneously in Canada by Moveable Inc.

View the full 85 set here.

Robert Majzels and Claire Huot’s new translations of passages from the Quotations from Chairman Mao—better known in the West as “The Little Red Book”—force readers to confront this hugely popular work in new and surprising ways. Alongside the Bible, the Quotations is the most published book of all time. By re-translating its contents and focusing on the materiality of its language, Majzels and Huot refuse to dismiss this work of immense influence and considerable complexity, obliging us to engage with its nuances and its lasting significance in Chinese society. Mao Zedong recalls the didactic spirit of the quotations by imitating the gridded paper notebooks used by school children in China (the good pupil learns to write well proportioned and balanced characters by drawing each character in its own box), and also imitates the lilac-colored paper on which Mao Zedong wrote his own poetry. In China today, the figure of Mao continues to elicit a mixture of respect and affection, but combined with a more critical evaluation and an outright rejection of the personality cult. This complex relationship is perhaps best represented in the late 20th century works of Chinese pop artists. It is that spirit which the pink 85s evoke, as they reproduce aslant those hyperbolic quotations rich in imagery and replete with numbers that are so deeply imbedded in China’s collective memory.

As with the four other limited edition volumes of 85, Mao Zedong is printed on Lynx Opaque, an acid-free paper with superior longevity. Hardcover, with accordion fold binding and exquisitely embossed titles, it is a work of visual text-art in its own right, the minimalism and beauty of its material form complementing and illuminating the radical act of poetic exploration that the volume contains.

About the 85 set

What happens when we come face to face with the Other? Do we consume the other culture and come away unchanged, or do we allow our language, culture, and selves to be transformed, stretched to include new forms and meanings? The answer depends on our willingness to do the hard work of reading. 85 is a poetic exploration into the way one language and culture—in this case English—perceives and receives another—in this case Chinese. The work is grounded in a radical translational approach based on contemporary philosophical theories that return to the Judaic roots of Western civilization. This approach to the world, the self, and the Other is open-ended, nonlinear, and materialist—a practice evoked by the visual layout of the texts, which enacts the difficult negotiation of the reception in English of Chinese poetic works.