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The Life Of Napoleon Bonaparte Deluxe Edition

Easton Press Collectors

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Dec 19, 2011, 9:11pm Top

A Stunning Recreation of the Classic Illustrated
1828 Biography of the French Commander...

He established his reputation as an army officer in support of the French Revolution and rose to become Emperor of France. His military achievements led him to extend his influence throughout Europe before his ultimate defeats on the icy plains of Russia and Waterloo.

The complete story of Napoleon, as seen in his own time. This story was written only seven years after the Emperor's death.
All 27 vintage folding aquatint illustrations by George Cruikshank, one of the 19th century's greatest illustrators.
Four exquisite volumes, each bound in genuine leather.
Two-color stamping on the covers and spines.
A raised "hubbed" spine deeply embossed with genuine 22kt gold.
Acid-neutral paper that will not crumble with age.
Printed marble endsheets, multi-colored decorative edge-staining, Smyth-sewn pages.
A fabric-covered, custom-crafted slipcase for storage and display.
5 1/4" x 8 1/2"
Item Number: 2819
4 volume set in one shipment. 4 monthly payments of just $149.00.


The latest and (greatest?) in the expanding line of Deluxe Editions. No mention of limitations but I expect that will be announced as soon as they get a better feel for demand. Looks nice but I'm not sure how many of these Deluxe Editions I can bear. It's getting to be like having a second mortgage payment to Easton Press.

Dec 19, 2011, 9:17pm Top

"...multi-colored decorative edge-staining..." Does this mean it will not have the 22kt gold gilded edges? Has Easton produced a book without the gilded edges before?

Dec 19, 2011, 9:38pm Top

>2 prinmac:: They have produced books without gilded edges before but I can't think of any with multi-colored edge-staining.

Dec 19, 2011, 10:35pm Top

The few instances I have seen of marbled page-edges have been very attractive. These were not EP books, however.

For those who want to strain their eyes trying to pick out the details, here's this edition's page at the Easton Press Web Site.

Dec 19, 2011, 11:04pm Top

Looks gorgeous. Just when I vowed to purchase no more DLEs (unless of course they bring back the lovely Gibbon they teased us with cruelly last summer)! I may just give this one a shot. But be warned Easton Press: at this price I have ZERO TOLERANCE for quality issues. It better be perfect or it is going back!!

Dec 19, 2011, 11:09pm Top

I just realized that the web site lists the illustrator but not the author! Does anyone know anything about the author of this "classic" work and whether or not their biography was academically well- regarded? I assume it is in or has been translated into English. Any info on translation? I suppose we will need to wait until the flyer comes out and someone posts it. But they are usually not much more informative than the abysmal web site.

Dec 19, 2011, 11:37pm Top

> 6

I was wondering the same. I just did a search on ebay and I think I counted three different vintage "Life of Napoleon" publications.

Dec 19, 2011, 11:54pm Top

Oh crap.

Edited: Dec 20, 2011, 2:34am Top

Ireland's (William Henry Ireland )is in 4 volumes and fits the year and the illustrator.

And I suspect this is the same book they are reproducing: http://www.classicrarebooks.co.uk/History-Politics/the-life-of-napoleon-bonapart... (and here... http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=2443548)

Dec 20, 2011, 9:04am Top

So a Shakespeare forger is the best they could do for a $600 biography of Napoleon? Why could it not have been either the Sir Walter Scott or William Hazlitt biographies, which were basically contemperanous with this one?

Dec 20, 2011, 9:59am Top

*shrug* Ask them... But that's the one that fits the details :)

Edited: Dec 20, 2011, 10:48am Top

Here's what I've been able to find out about the original:

John Cumberland, London, 1828. Four volumes. xl, 477; iv, xii, 556; xiv, 600; x, 542 pp., each volume with engraved title and frontispiece (3 colored); with a total of 23 folding plates (21 colored). Bbound by Riviere & Son in full blue morocco, covers with arms of Napoleon in gilt, spines gilt in compartments with symbols of Napoleon's reign, five raised bands, top edges gilt, gilt inner dentelles. Embellished with accurate views of his battles, &c. &c. &c. Engraved by G. Cruikshank from the original designs of Vernet, Denon, &c. executed, at Paris, by Duplesis Berteaux. The majority are battle scenes based on paintings by Vernet and Swebach who were well-known interpreters of Napoleon’s wars.


Looks very impressive! I still don't think it makes up for the Gibbon, but overall I think this will be an amazing set. Unlike some othe DLEs, this set is very difficult to find and very expensive, which makes it a great choice as a DLE. Now, I need to save up!!

Dec 20, 2011, 10:55am Top

>12 astropi:

Yep - as already mentioned up in 9 :)

Dec 20, 2011, 10:56am Top

Oh yeah, so it does... :)
I totally missed that! Ah well, no harm repeating I think.

Dec 20, 2011, 11:03am Top


Vote: Do you think there's a "good chance" you will order this set?

Current tally: Yes 5, No 14, Undecided 4

Dec 20, 2011, 11:34am Top

Looks interesting, very much but I would really appreciate a review of the text and author. Although, I am finding that EP is taking out of copyright works (before 1910) thus avoiding any form of royalty payments, hence the reason that they are able to produce so many DLE at a times, they are nevertheless choosing, I feel personally odd versions and not necessarily the famous or authoritative ones. I do feel however, that Lincoln was probably a good choice.

Please do prove me wrong.

Dec 20, 2011, 12:25pm Top

16: well, they did also release a DLE of Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). I think the reason they are primarily releasing older editions, is at least in part, older editions are far harder to find, and thus a DLE of a very hard to find OOP book is more desireable than a book that is easily found. As for 451 and Slaughterhouse, both of those were signed by the author which is what makes these editions desireable. Also the Michaud "History of the Crusades" is a classic, although I don't know if you would call it "authoritative". I spoke with a Professor about Michaud and was told that it is a classic, but not entirely "correct" by today's standards. However, there is no one single book/set which entirely encompasses the Crusades. Likewise, I doubt very much there is a single book/set which completely encompasses Napoleon. Cheers!

Dec 20, 2011, 1:48pm Top

I think I will pass on this one. It certainly looks beautiful, although it is not a work that I am familiar with or have ever heard mention of previously. I agree with Ironjaw and I would prefer EP to concentrate on known and accepted classics rather than editions that are simply beautiful for the sake of it.

Dec 20, 2011, 1:54pm Top

I am passing on that one -- not interested in Napoleon enough even if it was a known classic; let alone for that one.

Edited: Dec 20, 2011, 2:07pm Top

From what I've read of this work, it seems a little...hmmm. I don't know, not particularly good.

I think Michaud is a good example. There are plenty of slightly inaccurate histories that are still readable and a value on some level and will always be known to a certain degree. I'm a fan of (though haven't quite conquered) Thomas Hodkins Italy and her Invaders, Samuel Gardiner, Henry Hoyle Howorth, etc.

I thought Philip Dwyer's book was great, but that's recent, so it would cost EP, and it wouldn't have that old multi-volume feel to it.

Here is the forger's side of it:


And Vortigren:




Dec 20, 2011, 2:04pm Top

>18 Quicksilver66:

If they follow your advice, the members will spend way too much money on DLEs... so when they do stuff like that, I am actually happy.

I am already up to 5 this year - really do not want more (but if something I want comes up, I will go for it).

Edited: Dec 20, 2011, 2:27pm Top

They should do a DLE of Froissart, Thomas Johnes' full translation (which is out of copyright). Not sure where the illustrations would come from. There are a lot of illuminated manuscripts, but that'd be color, and make it pricier than a bunch of Dore type black and white works.

It would be great to see Holland's Translation of Pliny, but Napoleon is a big seller, so it has to be hard to walk the line between obscure and marketable. The Russo-Turkish war by Hozier would be neat. Great illustration on those, but again probably too obscure.


I like the colors they've used for this set. It does look awfully nice:


Dec 20, 2011, 3:47pm Top

20: all those articles describe his forgeries. They don't seem to say anything about his ability as an historian. I want to know what is the quality of this 4-volume set? I have to say, judging by the prices for an original ($2500+) I would imagine it's a good read. Yes, yes, just because something costs a lot does not mean it will be good and vice-versa. However, why would a no-name book published in 1828 be worth so much money if it's not worthwhile? So, if nothing else, at least the artwork should be good, but I still don't think the artwork alone would make this so valuable.

Dec 20, 2011, 3:56pm Top

>23 astropi:
Volume 3 is free here: http://books.google.com/books/about/The_life_of_Napoleon_Bonaparte.html?id=G8EAA...

Probably the rest as well. So you can try for yourself and see if it works for you.

Edited: Dec 21, 2011, 12:08am Top

Hey man, whatever floats your boat. You may love it. Personally, it looks like shit to me. Good luck finding reviews or whatever you are looking for to make the decision.

Dec 21, 2011, 8:15pm Top

>22 DanMat: (first paragraph): Froissart would make a good DLE, or maybe the "Tres Riches Heures" for another medieval work with richly colored illuminations (though that would probably make it prohibitively expensive, assuming EP was able to reproduce them).

Dec 21, 2011, 10:11pm Top

I third the nomination of Froissart for DLE candidate - great choice. I would purchase in a heartbeat if it was fully illustrated (color and B&W).

Feb 28, 2012, 6:07pm Top

>4 SilentInAWay: here's this edition's page at the Easton Press Web Site.

Looks Photoshopped to me (the multi-color decorative edge). The coloration doesn't seem to follow the curve of the book block; the way the book block meets the spine. Just doesn't look natural. If it is a decent representation of the treatment of the book edges, it's more two-toned that multi colored, and it almost looks like a mottled gilt. Might look nice, but I wonder how accurate the image reproduces the actual book.

Just got the flier in the mail. Same image, same info.


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