New Acquisitions - March 2015
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I found a long looked for The Grapes of Wrath. Now I will have all the LECs illustrated by Benton. The inside is fine, but the spine has deteriorated considerably. Still, the book can be rebound fairly easily if I can get the lithos on the end pages scanned and giclee prints made. This one ran $600, but will only run about $1100 in total.
Both of the Dreiser books, the other being An American Tragedy, are favorites of mine for reading. I remember seeing Montgomery Cliff, Elizabeth Taylor, and Shelly Winters in the Hollywood take of An American Tragedy in the 50s. Shelley Winters did not endear herself to the audience. Finally, someone in the theatre audience yelled out, as Miss Winters fell out of the boat being rowed by Cliff, "Hit her in the head with an oar, you dummy."
Winters in many of her early movies was killed or murdered as in The Night of the Hunter when her throat was slit by Robert Mitchum or when she was hit by a car, leaving James Mason a clear road to pursue her daughter, Lolita.
I just remembered the movie name for An American Tragedy: A Place in the Sun. A 1931 movie was made previously, but most will remember the Taylor/Cliff movie.
She didn't do too well in The Poseidon Adventure nor The Diary of Anne Frank, either.
Even in Winchester '73, where she was the only woman, she was less interesting to the men than the rifle (except for Waco Johnny Dean, a wonderfully despicable villain).
Hmmm, seems like I just picked up the LEC Shakespeare set. I have no idea where I'm going to put it. How many feet of shelf space does it take?
Congratulations, Ken! A little over 24" on my shelves (I don't have the 2 poetry volumes.)
vdanchev, I'm also a big fan of Sister Carrie and surprised it can be had with Marsh's signature usually for under $100 US.
Is it just the reproduction on the website that makes the illustrations in your copy look as if they are black and gray rather than in shades of brown? Also, your spine label looks black but mine is brown as well.
I took a gamble on two LECs online that totaled under $40 (without shipping), and amazingly both books panned out quite well. They aren't in spectacular condition (both clearly had a little love from their previous owners), but they are certainly in very good plus condition, with slipcases and their monthly letters. And the amazing thing is that they are Eichenberg and Ward titles that they signed, and that nobody snagged them before I did. So I'm now the happy owner of Father and Sons and Idylls of the King. I'm really happy...to the point I want to blog about them in the near future, so my hiatus will be temporarily subsided soon. ;)
From a local bookstore in its death throes - for a dollar a volume the 3 volume 1929 Rabelais in a limited edition by Covici-Friede and the 3 volume 1963 Nonesuch Bible designed by Meynell. The Rabelais is a massive set - glorious de Bosschere illustrations.
Four-fifths of a good deal: The LEC King James Bible, but missing volume 5, the New Testament. Found the set at an estate sale for $10, which included six other books. I scoured the entire house for an hour, hoping to find the missing volume, but no luck.
Then I found the HP War and Peace for $3 at another sale, but the spine is a bit worn. I'm curious -- this is the single volume edition but I saw on ABE another Heritage Press set that is in two volumes. Anyone know when the single volume set was published?
The single volume War and Peace was first issued during Series 15, June, 1950--May, 1951, probably as an extra choice for subscribers who had joined after the original 2-volunme edition issued in December, 1943 during wartime America's momentary embrace of things Russian. This was the year after Simon & Schuster had a best seller with their Inner Sanctum Edition of War and Peace, as Americans were drawing parallels between Napoleon's invasion of Russia and Hitler's (and hoping for a similar outcome).
Thanks Django. This house had a huge library, but almost all of it in German. There was a German-English dictionary of military words and phrases, from 1942, and another of aviation words and phrases, from 1943. Nice to see what different folks were reading during wartime. One of my favorite possessions is a little paperback dictionary from Germany in 1942 with translations of words into 12 different languages, all used in countries the Wehrmacht had visited. It includes small illustrations, Duden-style, so for "aircraft" you get a German Stuka bomber.
>16 BuzzBuzzard: Did everything come with slipcases? Great deal on the Tyl Ulenspiegl (less than 1/2 what I paid)!
>17 kdweber: Yep. The case for Ulenspiegl is reinforced with tape a bit but is holding off well.
How does Ulenspiegl's spine look? Most copies that I have seen are tanned by the sun.
>21 aaronpepperdine: What's the book between Our Town and Tender is the Night?
LEC The Black Swan. It's a kind of odd one in my opinion - the text is set in 18 point font, which seems (to me) awkwardly large, but I like the lithographs well enough.
I just bought the 1934 LEC Book of the Thousand Nights (books 2 through 5) for $50. They appear to be in great shape but I feel bitter sweet with two volumes missing...
I understand how you feel! It's a very elusive set in anything approaching Fine condition.
That is a great collection for the past year, well done. Which among the books you received surprised you above your expectation if any?
I have been reading my AMAZING Heritage Press War & Peace after watching the 1972 BBC A. Hopkins !4 hr drama which is the second best BBC drama I have seen after Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy & Smiley's People.
I can't think of any other book I own which fits so perfectly in one hand or two. What extraordinary design, encompassing weight and size and flexibility of paper and illustrations and above all content (in the best translation).
My favourite three HP books at the moment are Crime & Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov and War & Peace.
Just purchased The Kingdom of This World at a very reasonable price and can't wait to see it!
I'm glad you like the HP W&P--I think it's great too, and I love the Verestchagin paintings. I will have to see the BBC version, which sounds first-rate; I saw Bondarchuk's 8 hour plus epic back in the early 1970s when PBS screened it over 4 nights, and while even on the small screen the BIG scenes were amazing, the movie seemed messy and incoherent at times, and the color looked poor (not the case in the official version, which was apparently gorgeous) It has been out of circulation so long one hardly knows how to evaluate it now, but I would suspect that I might prefer the BBC version; the novel's strength isn't as much in the epic sweep, but in the character interactions, and this is where the BBC productions always shine.
A great, and unjustly neglected LEC from the later years.
The Kingdom is a beautiful LEC published by Shiff in 1988. Many, including myself, were against Mr Shiff since he changed the way the LEC operated, but there is no denying the fact that he produced some of the most attractive LECs in its long reign of producing Fine Press books. It is a large book, but not quite as large as Shiff's later elephant folios. It measures approximately 11" x 15-1/4". The spine and the further edges are covered in a black goatskin with the boards being, I think, covered in a deep maroon Asahi book cloth. There is no publication date on the title page, but the copyright is dated 1987. The Club Letter is dated May 1988.
The illustrations are etchings by Roberto Juarez who signs on the colophon page along with John Hersey who wrote the Introduction. Several binders were used to hand sew the 750 copies produced. I paid $250 for my copy about ten years ago, and it was sewn by Carol Joyce. I believe my fine copy is worth every penny of the $250 I paid. My copy with Newsletter is as new.
>30 leccol: Mine also appears to be as new and has the ML. Not sure yet who bound it. It cost me exactly half of what you paid.
In s similar vein I just received The Beggar's Opera and the illustrations are marvelous.
>31 BuzzBuzzard: Congratulations! I paid about 200, and that was last year. Still happy.
Can you find Mariette Lydis' "hidden" message to us in The Beggar's Opera?
>32 parchment.redux: The inscription is neat, isn't it? Do you have any of her suites? She seems to have a particularly naughty taste.
>33 BuzzBuzzard: No, I only have her three LEC books, but those I do enjoy.
The LEC pricing just doesn't make sense. Some LECs such as Kingdom selling for $125 while others, such as the Weston Leaves of Grass, selling for over $1000. Part of these wildly fluctuating prices can be the fact that many sellers, as well as buyers, are dilettantes in the market place. I had to look very hard to find an LEC of Frost's poems for sale at less than $1000. I think the familiarity of the title or author has much to do with pricing. Kingdom deals with a history of Haiti that most are not aware of. But Leaves of Grass has a certain notoriety among dilettante book people. Because Leaves of Grass is bound in vellum, including the spine, it has not survived well because of the binding material used. Even if one were to buy the one currently offered on Ebay for $800, to get it in the Fine category, considerable work would be required. The seller admits the spine ends are rubbed, but still lists it as Fine.
On the other hand, Lydis' illustrations are masterful in the Beggars Opera, but you can generally buy this book for less than $100. With such a small outlay up front, rebinding, which I am going to do, can be achieved.
--I saw Bondarchuk's 8 hour plus epic back in the early 1970s
Bondarchuk & The BBC productions complement each other perfectly. The first has the painterly splendour of Barry Lyndon, great authority in costumery and architecture and a resource in mountains of extras that cgi can't yet simulate. The second concentrates in close-up on words, character and the stage. It is like comparing a symphony to a string quartet.
The BBC had a golden age in the 1970s. Their Dracula is the best interpretation of that novel too, imo.
>35 leccol: LEC pricing is often a mystery. The other day a nice looking copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin sold on eBay for $31.76.
Amazing. Anything with Covarrubias' signature usually fetches well over $100.
Just received Kingdom of this World and what a beautiful book this is! Amazing. Looks like quite a few of the later day LECs were printed at the Wild Carrot Letterpress.
A very nice book - and a good read too!
Yes, Wild Carrot or the Bixlers.
Have gone on a bit of a LEC-buying spree over the past month and a half.
- Last Days of Pompeii (thanks to all the enabling on here!)
- Education of Henry Adams
- Torrents of Spring
- Short Stories of Anton Chekhov
- Two Plays of Anton Chekhov
- Toilers of the Sea
- Quo Vadis?
- Dead Souls
EDIT: Forgot to add
- Martian Chronicles
- The Birds
Three Mardersteig books among the other nice ones. Congratulations!
Toilers of the Sea is a real gem. I never tire looking at the engravings.
O, how I wish that I could afford Tranquillo Marangoni's "Santa Teresa di Gesù", see http://marangoni.altervista.org/16%20-%20Illustrazioni.html and scroll down to the end.
>41 scholasticus: Vathek is a charming book and an interesting story.
Actually I just realized I have all those you listed except Vathek. Education of Henry Adams is among my favorite LECs and the one I like best from your recent order.
True - we are in late May, after all! ;) And Chris was the one who convinced me to get Education, particularly after I commented on how wonderful Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres was.
The Holy Bible has to be the second longest book printed by the LEC. The whole five volumes anyways. I got 4 & 5 only but being in fine condition at $40 it seems I should not complain.
If you look at the book Peachum has open in front of him, turn the book upside down and you will read Ms. Lydis' message (interesting that it was a rainy summer).
Rue Boileau is a narrow street in the Sixteenth Paris Arrondissement. No 55 is an eight-storey building containing 18 apartments, four parking spaces and a wine cellar (of course). It dates from 1930, so was still relatively new when Mariette Lydis moved there in 1937 with her new young English lover Erica Marx. Erica was an editor at the art publishers Les Presses de l'hôtel de Sagonne, the proprietor of which was an Italian Count, Giuseppe Govone - who also happened to be Mariette's husband of three years. The split seems to have been an amicable one and the three of them continued to work together. As soon as she moved in, Lydis started filling the wallspace with frescoes which a male admirer described as “being in the strongest and most delicately feminine taste"; they could, however, have got her into trouble, as she was only a monthly tenant: the building's agents refused to let her take a long lease on the apartment, clearly regarding a foreign female artist living apart from her husband in sapphic sin to be just the sort of person whom they might need to evict at short notice.
In August 1939, alarmed by the prospect of war, Lydis and Erica Marx left Paris for England and took refuge with Erica's father in a village a few miles southwest of London. Unfortunately, this turned out to be under the flightpaths of German bombers, so Lydis moved further west towards the Welsh border. Unfortunately, this turned out to be alarmingly close to a different German bombing route and after the nearby town of Cheltenham became a target in late 1940, Lydis spent the next seven years in Buenos Aires, where her husband joined her at the end of the war. In 1948, they returned to Paris where she was able to move back into 55 Rue Boileau, this time as a leasehold owner, her status as a French citizen guaranteed by her naturalization papers (which ironically had been issued in 1939 shortly after she and Erica had fled to England) and her respectability by the presence of a husband. As if having ensured her future as his final act of marital kindness, Govone died only a short time afterwards.
However, by the early 1950s Lydis had become convinced that Europe was on the brink of yet another war and returned to Buenos Aires, where she remained until her death in April 1970.
Her 1930s' fear of what might happen if the Nazis invaded France was well-founded. In September 1939, No 59 Rue Boileau, another apartment building, was severely damaged by a German bomb. No 59 was not as upmarket as No 55, which explains how a somewhat impoverished Russian couple managed to rent a couple of its dingy rooms to use as a base from which to travel elsewhere in Europe. They returned there from a visit to the French Riveria on September 2 1939, an inauspicious date. They left hurriedly, the bomb falling a fortnight later.
It is quite possible that earlier in the year Mariette Lydis could have seen, perhaps even met, Vladimir and Véra Nabokov.
Great information, Jack. I was curious enough to google 55 rue Boileau on Google map a few years ago, and saw the interesting (albeit unidentified) artwork over the door with the improbably-clad mason who is using the plumb bob in a very inefficient manner. I did not realize the peerless Mariette actually moved back after the war. I'm glad she and Erica were able to get out before the Occupation, as the Nazis were very intolerant of same-sex relationships. I was watching an interesting, though somewhat haphazard documentary the other night on French Film Under the Occupation, and even well-know French film stars were in danger of being sent to concentration camps (though the Nazis seemed to be more concerned with males than females in this regard).
The Nabokov connection is tantalizing, imagine Lolita illustrated by Mariette....
Yes, that plaque is odd. Seen enlarged, it has an oriental look to it, with its chubby baby/sumo figure, mask-like face and stylised pose tight within the frame. No 55 is unlike its neighbouring buildings. Its pagoda-like central tier of balconies, its lack of carved stone details (other than the plaque) and its use of pale wooden frames and shutters suggest the 1930 architect(s) had in mind the Japanese styles that made such an impression at the 1925 Paris Exposition. One can see why an artist might choose to live there.
Or maybe it is a baby, an infant mason.
As for Lolita
Undated, so may be nothing to do with the book.
Interesting association, and a different take on the "nymphet" look. The image of "Lolita" in Bert Stern's photo of Sue Lyon in heart-shaped sunglasses and sucking a lollipop has achieved an iconic status that has almost eclipsed the images of Sue Lyon in the 1962 film itself, where she appears as just an ordinary American teenager. My own image of "Lolita" may have been colored by my memory of that, because her unexceptional appearance and character seemed to increase the irrationality of Humbert's obsession. Mariette's "Lolita" might be more what Humbert imagined her to be, and Kubrick's plain-vanilla "Lolita" showed her as she really was.
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