Any Woman's Blues
A Novel of Obsession
by Erica Jong

Harper and Row, 1990
Bound by Minsky 2000
10" x 7" x 3"
Collection of Mechtild Maes, Amsterdam

Binding in the style of a writing-box. Wood and wood veneers stained to a cherry-mahogany hue, inset leather panel. Below is a view of the back of the binding, showing the brass hinges and the double-hinged spine. The second set of hinges is hidden under the bottom.

 Upon opening the box a tray is seen, containing writing paper and a fountain pen. 

The tray closes into the box lid, revealing a rattan lining which is the endpaper of the book.  

It is a binding, and not a box. The text is integral to the structure, as can be seen in the photos below.

The back endpapers are rattan.

Below is a view that shows all the parts:

There are four different women's names on the stationery: Isadora Wing, Leila Zandberg, Erica Jong and Mechtild Maes. Isadora is a fictitious author created by the actual author, Erica Jong. Leila is a character of Isadora's, who maintains a dialogue with her creator throughout the novel. Mechtild is the collector who commissioned this work.

The concept of this binding  is that the book is a woman's very private diary, and is hidden from the world, disguised as an anonymous writing box or "cry-box."

Below is the text of an e-mail from the author:


Subject: Any Woman's Blues
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2000 13:03:15 -0400
From: erica jong 
To: Richard Minsky 

Richard--The binding is beautiful! I love it. Thanks for linking to my site. Best, Erica

Below is a commentary from Mechtild Maes :

Subject: any woman's blues
Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2000 02:22:49 +0200
From: mechtild maes 
To: Richard Minsky

When I read books, I learn a lot about myself. To me, books are like living beings. I can smell them, I can touch them, and I can flatter them. I can lose myself, or they can force themselves on me and rule over me.  But they can never let me down.

So I learned a lot about my life when I read the books of Erica Jong... especially Any Woman's Blues. I let myself roam through all the hidden thoughts and forbidden desires, which are described in her books with a lot of humor.

When I read Any Woman's Blues, I suddenly realized that the life I live is the life I want to live--a life with freedom of speaking, of opinion and of movement. And a life which allows me to enjoy reading books, appreciating art, and developing myself, with humor and love. Being very happy with this consciousness, I decided to raise a little "monument".

Searching on the internet, I found Richard Minsky's website, and saw two unique bindings on books by Erica Jong. I know these books very well, and his bindings illuminate precisely what I experienced while reading them.  I decided that I had enough confidence in Richard Minsky to let him create a work that would represent my feelings.

My confidence was right! Richard Minsky has bound Any Woman's Blues in a wonderful, simple wooden writing-box with different compartments, like this book is written and like life is. In this box the hidden thoughts and forbidden desires can rest peacefully until they are beckoned and released.

Every time  I look at this writing-box, I realize what a great thing it is to have the ability to let things happen.

Mechtild Maes


Becoming LightOther bindings by Minsky on books by Erica Jong:

Becoming Light. Bound by Minsky 1991
Inventing Memory: Bound by Minsky 1998
Sappho's Leap Bound by Minsky 2003
Fear of Flying and Fear of Dying Bound by Minsky 2018

click on the links or photos to go to these pages.

You may also want to visit Erica Jong's Website

Inventing Memory

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