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The Kid Brother

George Macy devotees

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Edited: Jul 22, 2014, 12:43am Top

Piqued by a slighting reference I saw recently in regard to the Heritage Press books, I decided to act on a long-contemplated project to feature some of my favorite HP books; ones that are exclusive to the HP and not necessarily reprints will take precedence for now, and I will not duplicate the efforts of WildcatJF's fine George Macy Imagery site. These are just books which I believe any serious student of fine book design should appreciate--regardless of market price.

The first of these will be the HP Gulliver's Travels in the first HP edition. As much as I love the LEC, the very first LEC, with King's illustrations, I believe the first edition HP is a masterpiece, especially as it features the wonderful wood engravings of Fritz Eichenberg. Notice the masterful typographic design and especially the paper--this was the only time it was used in printing this work:

Jul 21, 2014, 4:43pm Top


Jul 21, 2014, 4:46pm Top

The paper toning was mildly irritating since I thought my copy did not age gracefully. Thanks for setting the record straight!

Jul 21, 2014, 6:58pm Top

>3 BuzzBuzzard:

Then you would have disappointed George Macy! Per the Sandglass (a scan of which I would be happy to email to anyone who would add it to the Dropbox):

Jul 22, 2014, 11:31am Top

I remember reading in this forum that the original 1940 HP Gulliver's Travels came in a version with the cover illustration inverted black for white, and that for some reason one version was preferred over the other. GT is definitely something I want pretty soon.

Edited: Jul 22, 2014, 12:19pm Top

>5 JeromeJ:

The edition pictured here is indeed the first HP printing of GT. Other that being the first printing the additional allure is the luxurious paper.

Jul 22, 2014, 1:13pm Top

>6 BuzzBuzzard:

Sure, when I said "came in a version" I should have explicitly said *also* came in a version. I hope Im wrong so that when I order a 1940 edition of GT on abebooks I will simply get this great edition above.

Jul 22, 2014, 1:43pm Top

>7 JeromeJ:

Only if many a sellers did not confuse the copyright date with the date of publication.

Edited: Jul 22, 2014, 4:51pm Top

For today's HP exclusive, the Lynd Ward-illustrated Beowulf, which was first issued in May, 1939. This edition was one of those rare HPs which was later re-issued as an LEC, with virtually the same illustrations (for the LEC, the litho stones were redone).

This edition came shortly after Random House had issued a famous edition of the work illustrated by Rockwell Kent. Kent, of course, was the most famous American book illustrator, and his Beowulf was, in my opinion, one of his very finest achievements. Still I believe Ward's illustrations eclipse all others for this work.

The Random House used the same translation featured here, and opinion seems to find it less than ideal. The recent translation by Seamus Heaney has been conceded by most to be the finest available. Heaney's is much freer, and is somewhat of a recreation rather than a translation. I generally prefer that approach, although I know many do prefer something more literal. I will only say of Leonard's that it is much closer in sound to the Old English original than Heaney's, and I only regret his decision to use rhymes. The Folio Society editon features the Old English text en face, and though I would have liked to see that in the HP edition, I believe the approach taken here was right for the general reader, and I'm happy to keep my Klaeber handy if I want to compare.

The Sandglass 12B offers the pertinent details about the production, and I am happy to email a scan of mine to anyone who wants to upload it to the Dropbox. A very interesting detail is the comment "In the old days...long before Hitler and Mussolini began to insist their signatures on treaties had some value...." This was four months before the invasion of Poland and the outbreak of WW II. Later Sandglasses included with this book change the wording of this to something like "before Hitler and Mussolini thought they would be important in history." Macy very early on had the gravest apprehensions and, as evident here, a disdain for the fascist dictatorships. I wonder what he would have thought if someone had pointed out how very Teutonic this edition of Beowulf is. The story itself is very much in the vein of Siegfried and the Nibelungs, and the illustrations remind me of no imagery so much of as that of the Nuremberg rallies as documented by Riefenstahl in "The Triumph of the Will." I'm sure both Ward and, especially Macy, would recoil in horror at such a suggestion, but that's my opinion on the matter. Despite that, a magnificent book:

Jul 22, 2014, 5:35pm Top

A lovely thread, Robert! That first print Gulliver is a marvel. Love the paper! I'll have to consider that one for my collection. My edition of Beowulf is likely not the first, but it remains a lovely edition with incredible illustrations. It's the book that introduced me to Ward, and it was quite a first impression!

Jul 22, 2014, 5:50pm Top

5 to 8>
It's the uncertainty that makes collecting Heritage Press books such good exercise. In comparison, collecting LEC volumes is a stroll in the park: all you need is patience, enough money to afford to buy at your favoured condition level, and if you're buying online the usual suspicious mind (why isn't the seller prepared to send me a scan of the title page and/or colophon which they have conveniently(?) omitted to post on their site?). Beyond that the choices you have to make are pretty limited. Are you bothered about the presence or absence
(1) of a slipcase or the Monthly Letter? or (2) of the signature of Alice and the other big girls (Joyce, Mattie and Pixy)?
Heritage Press buying on the other hand is sometimes a walk on the wild side without maps or a lantern - for sellers as well as buyers. Gulliver's Travels, The Song of Songs and Robinson Crusoe, to name but a few recently discussed, show how difficult it can be to identify the particular edition you want (or want to avoid) if it's being offered without a Sandglass. And even the Sandglass may not always give every incidental detail, such as a variant slipcase colour. Michael Bussacco's collected works are the most comprehensive atlas available of this confusing world. But it's not a complete one, as he reminds his readers. The disappearance of the fourth part of his Annotative Bibliography Authors S-Z is particularly frustrating; it would, for example, have covered Gulliver's Travels and The Song of Solomon.
Of course, the alternative to an atlas is an experienced guide - aka the George Macy Devotees group and Wildcat's GMI blog, wherein reside the enthusiasm, generosity and accumulated wisdom of the sages.

>9 Django6924:
This sets my mind at rest! I sent off only a couple of days ago for Beowulf, and hoped it would be as good as it sounded. It obviously is.
(Though for a Wodehouse fan "What ho!" is not an easy phrase to negotiate with a straight face. But nor does either Ho! or What! serve quite the same function today as Hwæt! once did. Perhaps "Listen up!" or "Settle down, now" is the 21stC equivalent.)

Jul 23, 2014, 8:06am Top

>8 BuzzBuzzard:

Yes you were right, I found the old thread http://www.librarything.com/topic/140014

Django6924 points out:

Faisel, the first, and most desirable issue of the HP Gulliver was bound in cream-colored coarse linen. Later editions are in smooth linen that can be cream-colored, red, or blue. In all these later editions the medallion design on the front cover is an inverse of the original design which had dark lines embossed in the cream-colored binding. The medallion in all the later printings had the medallion's field as a black oval with the lines incised to let the binding show through.

In addition to the coarse linen binding, which seems more appropriate and which I find more attractive, the first issued Gulliver had really wonderful buff-toned paper with colored threads running through it. Again, the paper is worthy (no pun intended, though it was produced by the Worthy Paper Company) of being used in an LEC.

Jul 23, 2014, 2:03pm Top

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Jul 23, 2014, 2:38pm Top

>13 EclecticIndulgence:

I love the Heaney translation which I have in a Norton edition with some brilliant accompanying essays. I have been sorely tempted by the FS Heaney but it seems over priced for a Folio Society book, and I gather there are only a dozen or so border illustrations, and while they look great, without seeing the book in person Im left wondering why the book is so expensive £85/€108/$145. Can you shed any light on the merits of the edition?

Jul 23, 2014, 3:11pm Top

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Jul 23, 2014, 5:58pm Top

I must confess that the LEC Beowulf is my least favorite Beowulf in my library. I replaced my Easton edition with the LEC to get sharper images with better color but I still find it pales in comparison to the large Random House edition illustrated by Rockwell Kent. This edition has a wonderful course linen binding that looks similar to Robert's HP edition. For reading, I prefer the Heaney translation and the FS treatment for their edition is handsome indeed.

Jul 23, 2014, 7:18pm Top

Ken, I prefer my HP to the LEC Beowulf. I still prefer Ward's illustrations although I think Kent never did better work than he did for the RH edition.

Jul 23, 2014, 7:37pm Top

Ignoring the relative aspect of which we like better, I have to say I also love the LEC; in its case, the paper, type and binding are especially nice. As for the FS Heaney, here are a number of pictures of it.


Jul 23, 2014, 7:51pm Top

>18 busywine:

I love the LEC also--I particularly appreciate the various line sketches and ornaments being printed in color, since I am currently printing a broadside on a Vandercook and know how difficult and time consuming it is to print color elements on a page with black text!

I wouldn't give away my LEC, but I still consider the 1st edition HP a masterpiece.

Jul 26, 2014, 5:13pm Top

I'm looking forward to the next book in this series.

Why is the thread called 'The Kid brother'?

Jul 26, 2014, 6:32pm Top

>20 JeromeJ:

Because its big brother is the LEC series, of course! :) Django's covering HP editions, as opposed to LEC editions, in this thread.

Basically most books in the LEC got turned into cheaper editions via HP, so there's a tendency to consider them as being 'inferior' to the LEC versions.

Hope that helps.

Jul 26, 2014, 7:27pm Top

Ah, of course. I forgot it was going to be a HP focused thread.

Edited: Jul 26, 2014, 7:30pm Top

>20 JeromeJ:, >21 scholasticus:

Exactly, scholasticus, and for film buffs here (perhaps Don?), "The Kid Brother" is one of the all-time classic silent comedies, featuring Harold Lloyd as the apparently weak kid brother in a family of burly lawmen, who in the end takes on a criminal group with a terrifyingly strong badmen he vanquishes. I felt that the concept of the kid brother who sometimes shows up his more highly respected siblings is rather apropos.

I'm planning on posting the next installment tomorrow--a volume that has met with a very mixed response, but is one which I really love--it's another Heritage Press exclusive, and much, much later there was a very different and highly-sought after LEC..

Jul 26, 2014, 9:00pm Top

>23 Django6924:

Looking forward to it, Django! You've already enabled me with Beowulf, possibly with Gulliver's Travels, so I'm both anticipating and dreading your post tomorrow!

And I really need to watch more silent films - didn't get that reference at all. I've found over the last few years that I'm becoming more and more interested in classic films. To be honest, I was never terribly interested in the offerings from present-day Hollywood - I much prefer foreign and independent films, and the Criterion Collection's been fantastic for that thus far.

Jul 26, 2014, 9:48pm Top

The first two HP exclusives featured here were pretty much universally admired among book lovers; this offering is probably going to not appeal to as many, and although I love it, I can see why many might not. It's Wuthering Heights, as illustrated by Barnett Freedman, and the illustrator is the dividing point for many.

Of all the acknowledged masters of 20th century book illustration, Freedman seems to divide people into two camps: those who love his work, and those he leaves cold. His forte was lithography, especially the tedious and complicated process of multi-colored lithography, using a different stone for each color and keeping these colors in register during the printing. He first came to prominence and caught the eye of George Macy with his illustrations for the 1931 edition of Sassoon's Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, the signed edition of which will easily set you back a few grand today. His first LEC assignment was Lavengro, another neglected gem, and he followed that with the monumental War and Peace, which Macy felt was an achievement ranking with Delacroix's Faust illustrations. He later illustrated Tolstoy's other masterpiece Anna Karenina, and I think his accomplishment there is his finest.

Freedman lavishly illustrated Wuthering Heights, and his work here, though not, I feel , his best, is still striking and atmospheric. He faces stiff competition--not so much, in my opinion, from Balthus who illustrated the very pricy LEC edition of the Shiff era, as from the redoubtable Fritz Eichenberg, who did a magnificent 2 volume edition of this novel and Jane Eyre for Random House 3 years later. Whether you prefer Eichenberg's work to Freedman's is partially a question of whether you prefer color to the stark b&w wood engravings of Eichenberg. I like both and can't choose a favorite. (There is less doubt about which typographic design I prefer--Oliver Simon's beautiful and readable layout in the HP to the double-column layout in the Random House books.)

The production details are highlighted in the Sandglass, which I have available for uploading to the Dropbox, and are mentioned in the colophon, which is unique to the first HP edition.

Jul 27, 2014, 12:59am Top

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Jul 27, 2014, 10:29am Top

>26 EclecticIndulgence:

Freedman doesn't appeal to all, and in honesty, as much as I admire most of his work here from a technical standpoint, I don't feel his sensibilities are really that much in tune with the novel's intensity. The illustrator seems much too stable in his mental outlook to appreciate the neuroticism of the characters and their destructive compulsions. Eichenberg has the edge in this regard, but I feel that Eichenberg sometimes overdoes the posturing and comes perilously close at times to Grand Guignol.

The fact that neither of these fine illustrators are totally successful (at least for me), points out the difficulty in illustrating this work, and I have already expressed my opinion that Balthus runs a distant third in this race. I often indulge myself in thoughts of who would I have chosen to illustrate Wuthering Heights if I had been George Macy, and in my mind there is only one illustrator whose own artistic sensibilities would have been ideally attuned to those of the book: Mariette Lydis. If you look at her illustrations of young Flora and Miles in The Turn of the Screw, and Macheath and his followers in The Beggar's Opera, I think you will see why I feel this. The portrait she did of a boy in Argentina would have been perfect as an illustration of the young Heathcliff when he first appeared at Thrushcross Grange:

Jul 27, 2014, 11:16am Top

> 27
Intriguing thought, Robert. I agree Lydis would have been a most excellent choice.

Jul 27, 2014, 12:14pm Top

Django6924, I have been trawling the threads trying to find some enthusiasm expressed for the HP A Thousand Nights and One, without success. Therefore I suspect it won't feature in your thread. I have not read the stories before and find myself on the verge of buying the set but pulling back because I can't find a strong endorsement and I have a fair list of HP titles to consider. Any comment on this?

Jul 27, 2014, 12:56pm Top

It was part of my Heritage Club joining offer when I was 16; I've probably read it three times over the years and it is still in my library and still looks new. I love all of Valenti Angelo's illuminations and 1001 illustrations and the beautiful binding. Whether you get this or the Folio Society 6 volume edition (I have both) will largely be determined by whether you prefer Powys Mathers's smooth-reading translation of Mardrus' French translation from the Arabic, or Burton's unexpurgated Victorian prose translation directly from the original.

Since this HP is a reprint of the LEC original edition I hadn't planned to feature it, but that doesn't indicate any lack of enthusiasm on my part; it's a wonderful set. I'll feature a few pages from it this week.

Jul 27, 2014, 1:33pm Top

Thanks again. Postage costs of $25 per book/volume introduce a hesitancy into these decisions which would evaporate if I lived in the States.

I have seen pictures on WildcatJF's site so you need not disrupt your plan. I was just wondering about the quality of materials used and the value of the stories themselves as the edition did not feature on the thread where 20 to 30 HP titles were recommended.


Jul 27, 2014, 8:58pm Top

31) The pages are pretty thin and the books are enormous in size at over 1000 pages each, if my memory serves; probably not something you'd want to read right before bed!

Jul 28, 2014, 7:03am Top

>32 WildcatJF:
....the books are enormous in size at over 1000 pages each, if my memory serves; probably not something you'd want to read right before bed!

No doubt that's why the Sultan Shahriyar preferred listening to Scheherazade, who combined the beauty of the finest of fine press editions with the convenience of an MP3 audiobook....

Jul 28, 2014, 11:34am Top

>33 featherwate: That's a Fine Breast Edition

Jul 28, 2014, 8:22pm Top

>34 JeromeJ:
(*)(*) & groans....

Jul 29, 2014, 2:46pm Top

A crucial element of knowledge which distinguishes the real Macy expert is knowing that several editions of a Heritage Press exist and which edition is superior to the others in quality of materials. Gulliver's Travels above is a great example of this and I encourage those who know to indicate a preferred edition when they are aware of its advantages.

Jul 29, 2014, 2:52pm Top

I like Freedman's landscape opposite page 8 in Wuthering Heights. I personally would grow weary of book illustrations if everything was done by Eichenberg or Ward (woodcuts) or even in a similar style. Variety is the spice as they say.

Edited: Aug 5, 2014, 1:16pm Top

My last HP exclusive, Wuthering Heights was one that pretty much divided people among those who didn't care for it, and those that thought it needed another illustrator (and I confess to being a member of the latter party). Today's offering also features an illustrator who has met with mixed opinions, John Austen, and I am not an unreserved fan myself. His work often tends to being a bit too precious for my taste, though at his best, in the LEC Vanity Fair, Peregrine Pickle, and the very different but wonderful The Frogs, he is sometimes the best man for the job. I think in the HP The Vicar of Wakefield, he is just that.

Oliver Goldsmith is somewhat an anomaly among 18th century British authors; he wrote one of the finest plays of the period She Stoops to Conquer, one of the most memorable poems "The Deserted Village," and one of the most enjoyable novels in this work.

Aug 5, 2014, 2:06pm Top

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Aug 5, 2014, 10:36pm Top

I rather like Austen and find he has a certain charm. I had never seen this HP before or any illustrations from it. This is a great thread Robert!

Aug 8, 2014, 11:13pm Top

Here's a nice example of the unexpected in Heritage Press collecting. The book concerned is the 1940 Wuthering Heights, described by Django at 25 above. I've liked Barnett Freedman's work since seeing his delicately creepy illustrations for the Folio Society's 1956 collection of Walter de la Mare ghost stories; and more recently have acquired his Lavengro and Henry the Fourth Part I LECs. Django's photographs reveal that Freedman and Oliver Simon, the designer, came up with an attractive Wuthering Heights. So finding a copy on Abebooks I added it to an order I'd just put in for three other early(ish) HPs, and it has now arrived, together with the Sandglass (5D) that confirms it is a first edition from October 1940.
Or is it? It's certainly not exactly the same book as Django's, as the following title-page and colophon comparisons show:

In addition, Freedman's illustrations do not always appear opposite the same page of text as they do in Django's copy.

Michael Bussacco's Catalog and Checklist gives the first edition as the all-Curwen Press printing in the D series (1940) and the second as the edition where the illustrations were done at the Curwen and the text in America (apparently by the Stratford Press) in the L series (1947). If true, this means that the second edition is the one where Freedman personally supervised the printing of his lithographs. In theory, I suppose, this reversal of the normal order, perhaps resulting from his absence on military service in 1940, would make the 1947 one the more valuable edition for collectors!

Aug 8, 2014, 11:33pm Top

Amazing, Jack! And my copy certainly is the 2nd printing, as the Sandglass is numbered 2L--sloppy research on my part! Thank you for setting the record straight.

PS: I also have Folio Society's book of de la Mare's ghost stories with Freedman's illustrations, and cherish it not only for the aptness of the artwork, but for the anecdote told in Folio 50 that when Folio Society founder Charles Ede expressed concern about the word "Ghost" on the title page being obscured by Freedman's design, Freedman replied, "Charles, my boy, my bleedin' letterin' may not be to your taste, for which I have no respeck any ow, but surely even you can see that the bleedin' title is ghostly."

Aug 20, 2014, 8:18pm Top

Come along then let's have some more of these.

Dec 4, 2014, 4:31pm Top

I could not resist but post a few more pictures of this beautiful book.

Now it is time for Django to come along indeed and feature his next HP book...

Dec 4, 2014, 5:48pm Top

Indeed, a change in my work schedule has required I be more absent from this post than I would otherwise, but I shall make amends very soon with a new post.

Dec 6, 2014, 2:20am Top

The next HP exclusive I'm featuring, after a long absence, is Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler. This famous work, which really isn't a how-to manual for fishing, has been a fine press favorite since it was first introduced, and has been illustrated by many legendary artists, including Arthur Rackham, whose 1931 George Harrap edition could set you back 5 figures worth of dollars, though these famous illustrations have been reprinted in cheaper editions many times. I have one of these, and though it is presumptuous of me to criticize an iconic work such as this, I have to say I much prefer the HP version from 1938. Rackham's color plates are pleasant, though nothing special, and his B&W drawings sometimes show big-nosed elves angling, which seems wrong for this work. Robert Ball, who did the HP exclusive of Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Dickens' Bleak House and who much later got his chance at an LEC, illustrating Waverly, really shines here, in my opinion. He created over 200 pencil drawings for the work, ranging from action sketches, to the different fish, birds and animals frequenting the streams, to portraits of the actual persons mentioned by Walton in the text--plus numerous decorations. The book's designer was Edward Alonzo Miller, and the production details are mentioned in the colophon. The binding is especially nice, with its beveled edges on the boards and the beautiful gilt decorations on the green linen. Ten years later, the LEC issued its own edition of The Compleat Angler, illustrated with engravings and wash drawings by the well-known David Gorsline, and this was subsequently issued by Heritage in yet another fine edition. Gorsline's art is much more sophisticated and precise than Ball's, but on the whole, I still prefer the HP exclusive--the binding is what ultimately tips the balance in its favor.

Dec 6, 2014, 8:51am Top

Robert, thanks for sharing. I am a major fan of Robert Ball's work in Idylls of the King and Waverley already, so it is not surprising that I like these illustrations immensely. I haven't seen his work for Bleak House.

Dec 6, 2014, 11:43am Top

Our good friend Jerry (WildcatJF) has featured some of the Dickens, virtually all of which are Heritage Press exclusives, and perhaps now he has got the George Macy Imagery site active again, he will feature Bleak House. If you liked Ball's work in Waverley, I'm sure you will like Bleak House, in which, in addition to a small sketch at the head of each chapter, there are several full page illustrations in pencil with delicate color shadings in the style of the illustrations for the Scott novel. Easily the best-illustrated version of this novel I have seen (the well-known ones by "Phiz" seeming a little sloppy in their portraiture of facial expressions), though readers who saw the famous BBC production may find it difficult to supplant the images from that show.

Dec 6, 2014, 5:51pm Top

I read Waverley in the Heritage Press edition and fell in love with the design, typography, and illustrations. I sold this copy to a friend once I picked up the LEC edition, which is identical internally, though with a different external design. This was one instance in which the LEC is not clearly superior to the HP but I do enjoy the full leather binding and the (slightly) higher quality illustrations in the LEC.

Edited: Dec 7, 2014, 9:51pm Top

48) I don't have Bleak House, but I can attempt to check it out. My luck at my local library has been poor lately, though.

Edit - No can do for now, but maybe when I get into grad school (hopefully) next fall!

Edited: Dec 19, 2014, 11:46am Top

Re The Compleat Angler:
This is a very attractive edition, and the LEC directors were lucky to get it. According to the Sandglass, Robert Ball had appeared in their offices some 10 years before armed with a complete dummy of the book containing hundreds of sketches. Reluctantly they turned him away explaining that there seemed little need for a new edition of The Compleat Angler as the Merrymount Press had just printed “a lovely small edition” with decorations by W. A. Dwiggins. This was a 1928 limited edition (600 copies) issued by C. E. Goodspeed of Boston. It's a typical Dwiggins, a chunky book finely set, with an attractive binding (but very few pictures), and small enough to go into a coat pocket (I told the dealer I bought it from it was just the right size for reading while walking along a river-bank. She said if I fell in, she supposed it wouldn't be an entirely inappropriate fate for the book.)
Only two years later Scribners also issued a limited edition (only 200 copies for US sale), this one illustrated by Frank Adams. The New York Times said it would be “difficult to conceive of a more beautiful edition”. It did have pleasing colour headpieces, showing anglers not from Walton's time but updated to the early 19thC, the great age of sporting prints:

but I think the reviewer was overpraising it (I don't own it)!
There were other trade editions appearing from time to time, including in 1931 the Arthur Rackham one, which the NYT called “a pleasant if undistinguished edition”, a review that echoes Django's above, although at least Django warns potential readers that it contains big-nosed elves. Not my kind of book either, Robert!

All this surfeit of lampreys and other fish must have been a bit irritating for poor Robert Ball, so as I said it's lucky for the LEC that he hadn't taken his pictures elsewhere during the nearly 10 years before they came back to him.
Robert mentions the later LEC (and HP) with Douglas Gorsline's illustrations, which he had entered in the LEC's 1945 Third Competition in Book Illustration. This is another very fine edition, which I like a lot; but I agree with Robert that it can't quite match the 1938 one. It has considerable strengths, particularly the large engravings pulled direct from Gorsline's original copperplates, but overall it is a rather solemn treatment of a book whose essential light-heartedness is much better captured in Robert Ball's drawings. And the 1938 binding is definitely the better one (although one subscriber or possibly critic complained there were too many fish on the cover!). But for anyone interested in comparing the two, here is some of Gorsline's work, taken from the LEC (but the HP is excellent value too). I'm afraid my photo skills are more Blair Witch than Robert's Hollywood ones, but here goes:

Two macros (not vignettes!):

I love this fish!:

and a glimpse of the text, which is set in what Macy calls “the Bruce Rogers Shakespeare Type”, an appropriate choice because The Compleat Angler was one of Rogers's favourite books and in 1909 he produced a much praised edition for the Riverside Press:

So no elves, thank goodness, although there is a not very successful nude.

Dec 9, 2014, 8:37pm Top

featherwate, I like Gorsline's work as well, though you hit the mark when you said it seems less appropriate to Walton's spirit than Ball's illustrations, which are just right as far as I'm concerned. I don't have the LEC but the first HP printing of the Gorsline version, and the HP is distinguished by the fine letterpress work, photogravure of the illustrations, and the paper, which the Sandglass omits crediting the supplier.

Dec 14, 2014, 1:45pm Top

An intriguing book.

"The next HP exclusive I'm featuring, after a long absence, is Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler. This famous work, which really isn't a how-to manual for fishing, "

So what kind of book is this exactly?

Dec 14, 2014, 11:27pm Top

>53 JeromeJ:

The title says "The Contemplative Man's Recreation" and that is a fair summary. It is about what the Compleat Angler thinks about during the process of angling. And what does he think about? The bounties and beauties of nature, and the fellowship of other sportsmen and the people they meet on the way to or from pursuing their sport. A fair sample of these thoughts is from the Third Day:

Look! under that broad beech-tree I sat down, when I was last this way
a-fishing; and the birds in the adjoining grove seemed to have a
friendly contention with an echo, whose dead voice seemed to live in a
hollow tree near to the brow of that primrose-hill. There I sat viewing
the silver streams glide silently towards their centre, the tempestuous
sea; yet sometimes opposed by rugged roots and pebble-stones, which
broke their waves, and turned them into foam; and sometimes I beguiled
time by viewing the harmless lambs; some leaping securely in the cool
shade, whilst others sported themselves in the cheerful sun; and saw
others craving comfort from the swollen udders of their bleating dams.
As I thus sat, these and other sights had so fully possess my soul with
content, that I thought, as the poet has happily expressed it,

I was for that time lifted above earth,
And possest joys not promis'd in my birth.

After which the angler meets a charming milkmaid who sings Christopher Marlowe's song "Come live with me and be my love/And we will all the pleasures prove." Indeed, there is much quotation of poetry in the book as well as original verse.

It isn't really like any other kind of book, but the closest ones I can liken it to might be a cross between the works of Thoreau and Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals.

Dec 15, 2014, 1:13pm Top

Thanks for that, I wouldn't have thought twice about it given the title unless I had a chance to flick through it in a bookstore. It sounds like a perfect book to be illustrated and as I enjoy nature poetry too I have to get this.

Feb 14, 2015, 1:35pm Top

It's been a hectic last few months and as a result I've neglected this post, but I promise to have a new HP exclusive posted by tomorrow afternoon. I say "exclusive" though it is really an HP original, as Big Brother LEC later offered the same work.

Edited: Feb 15, 2015, 8:55pm Top

As promised, the next Heritage Press original is the 1941 edition of Turgenev's Fathers & Sons, which came about, according to Sandglass 4E, because of the astounding popularity of the earlier HP original Crime & Punishment, illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg. The HP subscribers apparently clamored for another Russian novel illustrated by Eichenberg, and though it seems odd the one they chose was Fathers & Sons, it was, to quote the Bard, "a hit! A palpable hit!"--so much so that, as it did with the Dostoevsky novel, the LEC issued its own Fathers & Sons 10years later with these same illustrations. The LEC version is very nice, with a beautiful paper and a more sober binding design, but I must say I prefer the HP's binding, and since I have both, I can vouch that the reproductions of Eichenberg's wood engravings are just as good here as in the LEC--identical to my eyes. The typography is also superb--just check out the macro shot of the colophon. The novel itself is of major importance in Russian literature, and Turgenev's best-known. (Please excuse the quality of the photography--everything was shot under available light as my studio lights are all in storage.)

Feb 16, 2015, 2:17am Top

Fathers and Sons is an interesting snd easy read! I prefer the LEC binding and the fact that one can have it for $40 or less makes it a winner for me.

Mar 25, 2015, 10:15pm Top

This is one of the best threads on Librarything.

Let's see if we can keep it going!

Mar 26, 2015, 10:56am Top

I'll try to get another example this week. I was thinking about Lorna Doone or the Sylvain Sauvage A Sentimental Journey, but since the Angelo-designed Shakespeare Sonnets came up on another thread, perhaps I should feature it.

Mar 26, 2015, 12:57pm Top

The exclusive 1938 Penguin Island is one of my favorite HP books. The water-color paintings by Sauvage are reproduced by Mr. Ralph M. Duenewald of New York, the gentleman who printed Sauvage's illustrations for the LEC Cyrano de Bergerac and The Crime of Silvestre Bonnard. The pictures are reproduced in the exact same size as they were drawn. Only if they were hand-colored... The type used for setting the text is called Granjon in fourteen point size. The paper is white rag especially made by the Worthy Paper Company. According to the Sandglass the sheets of this edition of Penguin Island are bound in a most unusual fashion. They are encased in heavy boards over which the binder has worked a material from the factories of the E. I. DuPont de Nemours Company. It is a material of which the surface is treated with pyroxolin. The binding tries to imitate grained leather. The Sandglass is apologetic for not using real goat skin, which would have cost five to six dollars a piece. Upon the front of the cover is embossed a penguin drawing. The title and the penguins on the spine are stamped in gold.

I say this one is real gem!

Mar 26, 2015, 1:15pm Top

>61 BuzzBuzzard: A very nice book, indeed! Sylvain Sauvage never illustrated a French edition of Penguin Island, and I have a feeling that The Heritage Press only printed it once (could anyone confirm my suspicion?). Perhaps there were only 1500, or even fewer, copies printed, making it as scarce as LEC books.

Mar 26, 2015, 1:26pm Top

I actually prefer this binding to the LEC, as it appears to be much more durable. This is probably pretty much blasphemy, but I really like the fake leather (partially plastic, I think) bindings used on many HP books, as they still look virtually brand new decades later.

Mar 26, 2015, 1:30pm Top

>62 parchment.redux: The HP reprinted the LEC Penguin Island. As far as the Sauvage Penguin Island I also have a feeling that it was printed only once but the limitation must have been larger than 1500.

Mar 26, 2015, 1:58pm Top

I too prefer the binding and illustrations of this HP edition to my LEC copy. One of the few cases where I picked up the HP edition after I already owned the LEC. As often happens, I picked it up after it was featured in one of our earlier LT threads.

Mar 26, 2015, 2:09pm Top

>62 parchment.redux: BTW how do you rank Penguin Island in your Anatole France preference list of books? I think we already know that Thais and Queen Pedauque are top two.

Mar 26, 2015, 2:16pm Top

Well, the HP exclusive Penguin Island is one of my all-time favorites and I have posted some pictures on another thread as an example of how sometimes the Kid Brother outshone the LEC. It was issued only once, and you will have a difficult time finding a copy in as superfine shape as vdanchev's, as the gilt on the spine on both my copies has lost the bright shine and has developed a beautiful patina (tarnished).

Why do I have two copies? This was issued in July, 1938 to the Heritage Club members in the second full year of existence (the second book in Series "B"), and simultaneously available to the general public (for a higher price) through bookstores such as Brentano's. All copies sold to the general public have the rubric "The Heritage Press" on the title page, as does vdanchev's copy.. The Heritage Club members (of which I estimate there must have been 1200--1500 at this time), have on their title page "For the Members of The Heritage Club," and there is a colophon at the back reiterating this and that the type is Granjon and the paper is a specially made rag paper. Other than these differences, the copies are identical.

Aside from the dull gilt, the binding on both my copies is As New, a testament to the sturdiness on the imitation goat, which I find quite handsome and (sacrilege!) prefer it to the quarter-leather binding on the later LEC with Malcolm Cameron's illustrations (though that book is also a highly desirable volume!). A word of caution!!!: pyroxolin (actually pyroxylin is a nitrocelluose derivative, and is thus the same chemical composition as guncotton and the old nitrate film stock, and is explosively flammable. So if you like to read by candlelight, or while (perish the thought!) smoking, have your fire insurance paid up! (This may be one reason why this edition is rarer than the LEC edition, although the fewer members of the Heritae Club is probably the main reason.)

Mar 26, 2015, 2:16pm Top

>66 BuzzBuzzard: I would say "in the middle" or after the two that you mention, The Gods are a-Thirst, The Revolt of the Angels, The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard and Crainquebille, but maybe I will feel differently next year, and I haven't read everything that he wrote. Several of his short stories disappoint me a lot.

Mar 26, 2015, 2:20pm Top

>67 Django6924:. Do you mean that the paper is the same in both, just not mentioned in the trade edition?

Mar 26, 2015, 4:33pm Top

>69 parchment.redux:

Paper is identical--the trade edition has no colophon.

Mar 26, 2015, 7:14pm Top

Serendipity, in the shape of French composer Claude-Henry Joubert, reunited M. France and his island bird in a piece for violin and piano, Anatole le Pingouin.
To judge by the number of performances on YouTube this is the audition piece of choice for very young French violinists seeking entry to conservatoires.

Mar 27, 2015, 4:52am Top

”Ne m'appelez plus jamais France
La France elle m'a laissé tomber
Ne m'appelez plus jamais France
C'est ma dernière volonté

J'étais un auteur gigantesque
Capable de durer mille ans
J'étais un géant, j'étais presque,
Aussi fort que Chateaubriand
J'étais un auteur gigantesque
J'emportais des milliers d'amants
J'étais la France, qu'est-ce qu'il en reste ?
Un Prix-Nobel pour enseignants…”

However, here is another example of Anatole France still being alive today:

”Le Chat maigre » est une source presque inépuisable de dictées pour les classes de CM1 & CM2”

My edition is illustrated by the inimitable Chas Laborde.

Mar 27, 2015, 9:45am Top

>67 Django6924: wrote: " A word of caution!!!: pyroxolin (actually pyroxylin is a nitrocelluose derivative, and is thus the same chemical composition as guncotton and the old nitrate film stock, and is explosively flammable. So if you like to read by candlelight, or while (perish the thought!) smoking, have your fire insurance paid up! "

Perhaps you ought to create a "HP-LEC Double" and have a slipcase made to hold this book and Fahrenheit 451 side by side?

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