Jesse Rossa of California firm Triolet Rare Books.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

1 How did you get your start?

I founded Triolet Rare Books in 2011 as a sole proprietorship, employee of one (which it remains). I had previously been a rare books librarian, and before that earned a degree in studio art (printmaking) and worked with a bookbinder, so I was well-suited to work in the book trade, although that was never the original goal!

My initial focus was on modern literature with an emphasis on poetry. That has since expanded into Modernism and Surrealism, livres d’artistes, illustrated books, Paris expatriate presses, with special emphasis given to women Surrealists, LGBTQ+, and avant-garde writers primarily in the interwar period.

2 What projects have you worked on recently?

I’ve been spending more and more time researching and learning about the women artists of the Surrealist movement, particularly their writings. Many of them – Leonora Carrington, Alice Paalen, Valentine Penrose, Claude Cahun, Dorothea Tanning – wrote poetry and prose. Many of these primary texts were illustrated by other surrealist artists or by the writer herself. They rarely surface in the market and continue to be underrepresented in library collections, so it’s an ongoing project for me to gather these materials.

3 What is one great discovery you have made?


Eric Gill presentation copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses, recently acquired by Jesse Rossa.

I recently acquired Eric Gill’s copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses (pictured) – the first English edition printed in England (a bibliographical nicety), in 1936 after the ban for obscenity was lifted.

Eric Gill designed the famous ‘Homeric bow’ which appears on the cover of this edition and many to follow. The book is a presentation copy to him from the publishers on the publication date.

4 One item you couldn’t do without?

The Pilot Precise V5 extra fine rollerball pen.

5 Real ale or sepresso martini?

Always a good porter or stout!