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I saw a couple of copies on ABE that blew my mind: both over $300, one has no slipcase and the other doesn't mention one, one says its condition is "Good" (!!) and the other states that the binding is "original cloth (bit soiled, internally fine)." Neither of them have photos. My gosh! I think I'll just push the button and get both copies RIGHT NOW!! *sheesh*
In book hunting, as well you know, patience is a virtue.
P. S.: I use the term "fine" to describe the book AND slipcase, as in my mind the two comprise a single unit; no slipcase when one is expected to be present severely reduces the desireablity of the book for me. If no slipcase is present, I expect the dealer to mention that little fact and price it accordingly, i. e. significantly less that it would fetch with the s/c present. Others, no doubt, do not feel so strongly about that.
Life is good.
History of the Limited Editions Club by Carol Grossman (2017). Got a signed copy at no extra cost.
The Grabhorn Press, A Biography by Roby Wentz. Published by the Book Club of California in 1981 and printed at the Grace Hoper Press in an edition of 750 copies. The book is still readily available. Prices on ABE run from $25 to $200! Fine copies in the plain white d/j can be had for as low as $35.00
Bought the new LEC bibliography earlier, back in December.
Plus "Fables by the late John Gay", from The Imprint Society, all three from Atlanta Vintage Books.
And from an estate sale, six books by Howard Pyle, all from Scribners in the early 1920s. Most of these were originally published as individual stories in St. Nicholas or as standalone books in the 1880s, but Scribner's re-published them in the early 1920s, which are the versions I have. The spines are sunned and the cream cloth is dirty, but the ones I found included his four volumes on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, plus The Adventures of Robin Hood, and Otto of the Silver Hand.
Since "Otto" is one of his lesser-known works, I scanned in most of the images, here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/3VbA7u8o9uJfg4cR9
PS: I did not know it until I read Wikipedia, but Pyle is credited with creating the modern image of a pirate, complete with the "gypsy" dress, that we know so well from his student N.C. Wyeth, Johnny Depp and others.
PPS: Now that Flikr is charging $100 a year if you want to store more than 1,000 photos, I've moved everything from my LEC and HP spreadsheet over to Google Photos, which seems to me to be a perfectly fine free alternative. You do not get your original full-sized images, as you do on Flikr, but what Google provides seems to me to be more than sufficient.
Do you mean that the book is naked or that you are now naked because you spent all your last money on it? :)
Or maybe something else?
Sorry! I could not resist! :) :)
Hurray! Someone else who appreciates the Ivanhoe binding. I love it: one of the LEC's most successful matches of cover design and the story within (one of the few Walter Scott novels still readable today). And I find Allen Lewis's vigorous lino- and wood-cut illustrations more relevant to the period of the novel than Edward A Wilson's for the 1951 LEC, whose Middle Ages, though beautiful, come over as a rather romanticized Victorian/Douglas Fairbanks Jnr. world:
Lewis (whose life is bookended by two suitable locations: Mobile, Alabama, and Basking Ridge, NJ) was also responsible for the layout and the choice of typeface (one that Fred Goudy created for H G Wells's The Door in the Wall which was republished as a Folio Society facsimile a few years ago). George Macy also sensibly employed Lewis's favourite Marchbanks Press to print the book.
Now received, and in very good condition for a US$50 purchase (although postage to Australia was US$69!!!).
Also found an excellent copy of Sea Wolf at a high quality antiquarian bookshop in Melbourne (one of the very few in this country that stockes any LEC books) for A$195 (US$140). See here.
I am delighted with it, but obviously have not had time to read it yet.
The Wall & The Notebooks did not include the Monthly Letters. If anyone could share those I would appreciate it.
If it was indeed issued, I believe it would be ML 550.
The Bradbury made a big impact on me when I first read it as a teenager, and I am pleased to be able to have the book in this attractive version. In my view the illustrations are much more sympathetic to Bradbury's style than the recent FS version (which I also have) which are too 'comic book' for me.
Did anyone ever determine if The Notebooks had a Monthly Letter or not?
Nice pick-up. Though there are a few pristine (and very expensive) copies out there, I gave up and went for a modestly priced copy with a darkened spine.
"What exquisite typesetting, paper, endpapers and colour lithographs!"
Indeed! one of my favourite of all limited editions, not just LECs. My copy came with a separate portfolio of proof copies of Barnett Freedman's lithos.
Maybe some of you who have read this can give some thoughts on it!
I really wanted this book because it was the first LEC book. They aren't cheap so I think I will pause my buying so my depleted funds can recover a bit.
Now I am wondering if the Gentleman From Cracow /The Mirror is as desirable as this one?
So I'd recommend the book, but don't overpay. It should cost significantly less than the Magician of Lublin or The Flounder (unless you got the latter two at a steal). I got my copy of The Gentleman for $22.
There are 12 pages of introductions, Gentleman runs from page 4--36, Mirror from 41--59, and the remainder of the book is taken up with reproductions of Soyer's preliminary pencil sketches for the watercolors--perhaps a nod to Macy's use of preliminary sketches by Matisse for Ulysses and Picasso's for the LEC Lysistrata. I am lukewarm about this method myself, and feel I don't really gain any insight by seeing rough drafts; perhaps were I an artist I might feel otherwise. I like the stories, and some of the illustrations, but on the whole it seems a minor effort.
In that condition, I don't think you will be too disappointed. What other book of this quality can you get these days for $35? (and it is superior to all but super-expensive private press books). And, as elladan0891 pointed out, a book signed by the Nobel-prize winning author is more icing on the cake.
Scott F Fitzgerald (2)
Edgar Allan Poe
Robert Penn Warren
I have books by the authors you listed and enjoy most of the books that I have read.
Thanks for your response.
4. BOOTH TARKINGTON
5. THORNTON WILDER
6. WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS
8. WASHINGTON IRVING
9. GEORGE WASHINGTON CABLE
10. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
11. BRET HARTE
12. FENIMORE COOPER
13. MARK TWAIN
14. RALPH WALDO EMERSON
15. W H HUDSON (BORN IN ARGENTINA OF United States settlers of English and Irish origin)
16. O HENRY
17. HELEN HUNT JACKSON
18. HERMAN MELVILLE
19. H D THOREAU
20. LYNN RIGGS
21. JACK LONDON
22. LEW WALLACE
23. EDWARD EVERETT HALE
24. SINCLAIR LEWIS
25. JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS
26. THOMAS BULFINCH
27. MAYA ANGELOU
28. HERVEY ALLEN
29. MARTIN LUTHER KING
30. THE AUTHORS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
31. OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
32. HARRIET BEECHER STOWE
33. DONALD CULROSS PEATTIE
34. JAMES BRANCH CABELL
35. SHERWOOD ANDERSON
36. RACHEL CARSON
37. HART CRANE
38. F SCOTT FITZGERALD
39. EUGENE O'NEILL
40. RAY BRADBURY
41. CHARLES G FINNEY
42. TENNESSEE WILLIAMS
43. JOHN HERSEY
44. WILLA CATHER
45. ARTHUR MILLER
46. WILLIAM FAULKNER
47. ROBERT PENN WARREN
48. MALCOLM COWLEY
49. FRANK O'HARA
50. JOHN ASHBERY
51. LANGSTON HUGHES
52. EDITH WHARTON
53. HENRY ADAMS
54. RICHARD WRIGHT
55. LOUISA MAY ALCOTT
56. EDGAR LEE MASTERS
57. ABRAHAM LINCOLN
58. THOMAS JEFFERSON
59. JAMES MITCHELL
60. EZRA POUND
61. ZORA NEALE HURSTON
62. MARGARET WALKER
63. ERNEST HEMINGWAY
64. THEODORE DREISER
65. JOHN STEINBECK
66. MARGARET MITCHELL
67. (AMERICAN INDIAN LEGENDS)
68. VAN WYCK BROOKES
69. ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER
70. EDWARD BELLAMY
71. LEWIS & CLARK
72. EMILY DICKINSON
73. MASON L WEEMS
74. WENDELL WILKIE
75. BOOKER T WASHINGTON
76. HENRY JAMES X5
77. STEPHEN VINCENT BENET
78. RICHARD H DANA
79. AMBROSE BIERCE
80. ALEXANDER HAMILTON
81. LOUIS UNTERMEYER
82. W C CULLEN
83. WILLIAM HICKLING PRESCOTT
84. THORNTON WILDER
85. STEPHEN CRANE
Limited Editions Club:
1) William Shakespeare, with 41 individual releases! I’m counting each book in the LEC Shakespeare as its own entity.
2) Mark Twain, with 12 individual releases.
3) Charles Dickens, with 9 individual releases.
3) Robert Louis Stevenson, with 9 individual releases.
5) Fyodor Dostoevsky, with 8 individual releases.
5) Alexandre Dumas, with 8 individual releases.
5) Joseph Conrad, with 8 individual releases.
8) James Fenimore Cooper, with 6 individual releases.
8) Nathanial Hawthorne, with 6 individual releases.
10) Gustave Flaubert, with 5 individual releases.
10) Leo Tolstoy, with 5 individual releases.
10) Oscar Wilde, with 5 individual releases.
10) Anatole France, with 5 individual releases.
10) Victor Hugo, with 5 individual releases.
10) Jane Austen, with 5 individual releases.
10) Jules Verne, with 5 individual releases.
10) William Makepeace Thackeray, with 5 individual releases.
10) Sir Walter Scott, with 5 individual releases.
This is not as simple to document, as there remains an incomplete bibliography of the Heritage Press output. But, relying on the research I’ve done here, I’ll do my best. I’ll only be doing a Top 5 due to the less frequent original publications of this Press.
1) Charles Dickens, with 14 individual releases!
2) William Shakespeare, with 5 individual releases.
3) Mark Twain, with 3 individual releases.
4) Anatole France, with 2 individual releases.
5) Henry James, with 2 individual releases.
5) Washington Irving, with 2 individual releases.
5) Charles Lamb, with 2 individual releases.
5) Homer, with 2 individual releases.
5) Nathaniel Hawthorne, with 2 individual releases.
1) William Shakespeare, with 46 books to his name in the canon!
2) Charles Dickens, with 23 books.
3) Mark Twain, with 15 books.
4) Robert Louis Stevenson, with 9 books.
5) Fyodor Dostoevsky, with 9 books (I’m including the Heritage Crime and Punishment as a separate release).
6) Alexandre Dumas, with 8 books.
6) Joseph Conrad, with 8 books.
6) Nathanial Hawthorne, with 8 books.
9) Anatole France, with 7 books.
10) James Fenimore Cooper, with 6 books.
10) Leo Tolstoy, with 6 books.
10) Oscar Wilde, with 6 books.
10) William Makepeace Thackeray, with 6 books.
It's possible I accidentally counted Dumas and Dumas fils as the same person, so I need to double check that.
Yes, and I have another 8 vol. set ordered!!! I do not know where I am going to put them. Under the bed...maybe. Nooo... my wife has that space filled with plastic containers full of shoes, etc.
So, move over, dude and make room for me!
If you only order a new book when your wife buys new shoes, your book buying may increase significantly ;-)
Théophile Gautier, the very large 19thC bibliophile and man of French letters (so to speak) took to heart the saying that 'books do furnish a room' and used them to replace chairs and other items of furniture:
“ Gautier disliked octavos, because when stacked up on the floor they made less successful footstools than folios; and taken separately, octavos were less suitable than folios for putting under children who would not otherwise be able to sit at table—besides which, as Gautier pointed out, a good, big folio volume makes an admirable book press for flattening out creased and rumpled engravings.” Terry Belanger, 'Lunacy and the Arrangement of Books', Oak Knoll Books, 1985 (Second Printing)Visual confirmation of Gautier's pragmatic solution to the book over-supply problem is hard to come by, although it may just possibly be apparent in the highlighted area of the photograph below:
Certainly I used to find the Folio Society's massive Herefordshire Pomona topped by a pillow and underpinned by the LEC's oversize Jurgen made a tolerably comfortable stool when sorting through volumes in lower bookcase shelves.
Jack, the first folio-sized book I ever owned was, coincidentally, Mademoiselle de Maupin. I bought it my first year in college from an antiquarian bookseller in Kansas City and was quite proud of owning a real "rare" book, and a title which was highly regarded but hard to find. It was quite heavy and had to sit on my end table as my bookshelves then barely held a large quarto. I admit I was a little puzzled by the wide margins around the type--almost 3 inches in the non-gutter margins.
Alas, the weighty tome was a little too weighty for the binding and within a year, after being read by my wife and myself, front and rear boards detached. By that time I found the Nonesuch edition of Mademoiselle de Maupin and much preferred it (still have it). I traded the behemoth to a friend for some of his 78rpm recordings of Bennie Moten and his Kansas City Orchestra.
I wish I could have every title in my collection regardless of the author's location.
Edited to add 5 Henry James books to the American total. Though most of his books were written as a British citizen he was American born. This raised the total to 24.7 %.
I don't know why this was a thing I needed to know but odd questions come to my head occasionally.
Sun not only fades color, but also yellows and darkens light color.
As elladan0891 states, sunlight turns white spines (especially leather) yellow--and even brown. I have a copy of the LEC A Sentimental Journey that is in flawless condition--except the spine is almost brown instead of the color of fresh cream.
Phyllis, considering you got it for about a quarter of the lowest price I've seen on the internet, you should be congratulating yourself!
As my role model (Prof. Harold Hill) says ""Friends, the idle brain is the devil's playground."
Congratulations! I'm glad you posted this. I can't imagine how it happens that I never realised there was an LEC edition of Livy :(.
"Typesetting and printing are excellent" - I'll bet they are! How about the paper? That's usually of high quality in anything coming out of the Stamperia Valdonega.
I could find only one of Scorzelli's illustrations, which presumably shows the historian scraping away at his wax tablets:
I rather like it. It seems to leap over nearly two millennia to another great historian of Rome, Edward Gibbon. I wonder if Livy too had some passing aristocrat peer over his shoulder with a gruff Itaque aliud est esse magnum situla repleti detestabilis cartis diu! Semper scribere scribere, scribere! Eh! O Tite Livi?*
*Google translation (mutatis mutandis) of Another damned, thick, square book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh! Mr Gibbon?. (Vocative endings taken from Eleanor Dickey's O Egregie Grammatice: The Vocative Problems of Latin Words Ending in -ius The Classical Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 2 (2000), pp. 548-562)
The style of the illustrations remind me a lot of Tegetmeier's etchings for A Sentimental Journey; they are certainly technically accomplished, but I often wonder if some illustrators carefully read the text they are illustrating: the illustration of Mucius (afterwards Scaevola) thrusting his hand in the fire shows a wrinkled, geriatric when the text states the Porsena was shocked "by the young man's bravery."
Thank you, Robert. I'll keep an eye out for a copy in the UK/Europe. The Mucius illustration sounds as irritating as Ardizzone's peculiar Magwitch for the HP Great Expectations, and the failure of the designer whose striking 'art binding' for a copy of Hardy's Tess included a large image of Tess milking a cow. Unfortunately it's of the wrong breed...
Could have been worse, Jack: it might have been a bull....
Why, Mr Robert, you surely do know how to bring a blush to an old man's cheek...
Actually that's a riff on an old joke from the movie "Hatari!"
I have wanted this book for quite some time but the price was too daunting. Luck was with me as this was $95.00 + $6.39 shipping. For now, this is my favorite LEC edition.
A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Canterbury Tales 2 Vol.
All Limited Edition Club Editions which I have desired for a long time.
That is IT, no more! I have nowhere to put more nor any money to buy more. I will just have to get excited seeing everyone else adding books to their collections! I am enabler proof now....
Nice finds, although I prefer the Heritage Press Sentimental Journey. George W Jones's Canterbury Tales is a triumph of typographic design and fine printing, but less popular among GMDs than the Arthur Szyk LEC, despite the high price the latter seems to command. Still, à chacun son goût as the old man said when his doctor advised him to drink less port.
You naughty enabler, you!
I have similar issues, but it unfortunately does not stop me. :)
Congratulations on your fine acquisitions!
I too prefer the HP Sentimental Journey, although as the ML for the LEC version states, it is an entirely handmade book (well, within certain qualifications). The type was designed for the book and handset, the illustrations are original etchings, even the all-rag paper has not been machine-trimmed and exhibits a wild variation of deckle. Despite all that, the HP is the version I treasure, as I feel Sauvage's illustrations do more justice to the spirit of Sterne than Tegetmeier's technically fine work. I also prefer the French tricolor binding of the HP to the somewhat over-elaborate LEC binding.
The sunned spine on the HP is ubiquitous and it's almost impossible to find one that hasn't been bleached. I say "almost" because when I was haunting a 2nd hand store several years ago, I saw a slim volume in a slipcase wedged on a shelf of travel books. The spine appeared to have been so severely nicotine-stained it was unreadable, and I almost passed it by when idle curiosity made me pull it out to see what was in the slipcase. It was the HP Sentimental Journey in the original glassine wrapper which had yellowed and become opaque. The spine retained the original blue and red as the covers. Needless to say, I didn't try to negotiate but paid the full price--$5! I rank this as one of my greatest finds, as Mr. Sterne's little book is one of my all-time favorites.
"idle curiosity made me pull it (the book) out" Maybe, or maybe the book chose you...
Probably there is nothing in there that most of us would find as a new information, but the book is full of nice and concise reminders about important things to consider when building a library.
If you come across this book offered at an inexpensive price - and there are many cheap copies of it on the market, I recommend it for your occasional reading pleasure. I confess that I got it for free as a package deal with another book, and I might not have spent money on it by itself, but now that I have it, I unexpectedly really enjoyed it.
Amongst my 20 volume jackpot, I purchased 12 volumes from the LEC.
The Complete Andersen (6vol)
Plato's The Trial and Death of Socrates
Paradise Lost and Paradise Regain'd
Notre Dame De Paris
Oedipus the King (sadly, sans slipcase)
My first Marsteig and a John Henry Nash in one place? CLOUD.. 10!
I'm curious about their being two sets of Andersen, as I previously had the 2 volume Kredel version. Anyone know the history of these decisions?
The 1942 edition in 2 volumes contains a biographical sketch of Andersen and a selection of his correspondence with his American publisher, Horace Scudder, along with the 13 stories first published in America in Scudder's magazine "The Riverside Magazine for Young People." The 2nd volume contains 29 more stories making a total of 43 stories in all, with illustrations by Kredel hand-colored by the studio of Charlize Brakeley. Macy later said (probably with the prompting of Jean Hersholt, the leading Andersen expert in the US), that he had made a mistake not providing all 168 of Andersen's stories, hence the 1949 volume, which contains them all. It was this translation by Hersholt of the complete stories that was later used by the Folio Society in their 2-volume Complete Andersen, without Kredel's illustrations.
Fables of Jean de La Fontaine/Rudolph Ruzicka
The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne/Carl Strauss
The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio/T.M. Cleland
The Jaunts and Jollities of Mr. John Jorrocks by R.S. Surtees/Gordon Ross
All of them are in very good condition and with their slipcase, with a couple slight issues here and there (the worst being two of the books had bookplates erode off, leaving a garish brown stain on the endpaper). Three came with letters (only the Marble Faun did not, and given its size I'm not too surprised), and are all from the same limitation number! Plus I didn't look over the checklist until I got home but I accidentally scooped up two more from Series 1, one from 2 and one from 3! So that's pretty neat!
"Pretty neat" is an understatement, Jerry! Quite a haul--all from the first three series and 3 with MLs!
Two of these acquisitions are very sought-after by fans of fine printing in the US: The Fables of Fontaine and Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities, both from the legendary D.B. Updike and his Merrymount Press. I find the Jorrocks volume to be a real treasure: the all-rag paper, the hand-set type, and the amazingly well-reproduced illustrations from Gordon Ross's watercolors make the book one I use to show people the difference between a true fine press book and books touted as "fine press" today.
Thanks, Robert. I'm on the fence whether I should now rid myself of the 2 vol set or if there is any benefit to keeping it either than completeness sake (assuming one had the time/funds to collect the entire LEC ouvre - a glorious achievement I will not have the time or budget for).
I picked up Rilke's The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge yesterday and I see the limitation was only 800. Was this common practice during the Shiff era? I believe there was a dust jacket, but mine is missing this as well as the monthly letter. There is no signature in my volume (not illustrated) - I find it odd that Mitchell (translator) or the designer or the printer from Stamperia Valdonega did not sign the volume. Any indication as to why in the Grossman book or the monthly letter? Incidentally, my copy is a number GREATER than 800. I've seen office copies or GM (Macy) copies, but never a limitation number over the limitation.
Also, the Club always did more than the maximum allotment to my knowledge; they printed select copies especially for individuals connected to the book, Macy had his own copy, and I believe they also sent extras to high profile libraries. Robert may know more than I do in this case.
Jan, Wilde is an interesting author--as I believe Somerset Maugham characterized himself as "in the first rank of the second rate," I believe Wilde is also one of the very best of minor writers. Why is he a minor writer and not a major writer? I believe Wilde's narrow concerns with the social class in which he moved, as well as his preoccupation with himself are his limitations as an artist, as well as his strength. I always use Shakespeare as the example of the greatest of artists because his concerns are so universal that he simultaneously is all the characters he creates and not someone apart and distinct from them. Wilde, on the other hand, is almost always recognizably Wilde. I think his plays are wonderful--great comic dialog--and the "Ballad of Reading Gaol" and "De Profundis" are very moving. Dorian Gray, despite its intriguing concept and stylistic excellence is, for me, a bit too affected to be wholly satisfying.
I'd keep the earlier Andersen for the biographical material and correspondence. It isn't an easy volume to find in Fine condition. (But I tend to keep too many things, and I fear one day I may regret this tendency.)
Jerry, I believe in Macy's time, it was the custom to print additional bound office copies as well Macy's own copy and I believe a few extra for his family (I have seen copies with both the stamped initials "G.M." and "H.M." as well as copies with initials I suspect to be the designer's copy or printer's copy--these are unnumbered, of course). There is also in one of the Monthly Letters a statement that it was customary to print an additional 50 unbound copies of each issue, which were unnumbered and unsigned, and in that letter Macy stated the idea of sending these copies to various binders throughout the world with the proposal that each binder do their best work and the results would be entered in a contest for a rather large cash prize for the winner(s). That was a project that never came to fruition. (I believe Jack had some further information about that contest and why it never came to pass.)
(I believe Jack had some further information about that contest and why it never came to pass.)
Jack isn't quite sure about that but says he will cudgel what's left of his brains in the hope something relevant falls out.
But he has a feeling it might have been a contribution from BuzzBuzzard.
Buzz, all I can recall of this/these contest/s was that one of GM's proposed 'battles of the binders' was pre-empted by a French publisher launching a similar competition. But which book/which publisher for the moment escapes my mind - if indeed it ever existed. :(
one of George Macy's enterprising projects was to offer 50 unbound copies of The Life of Benvenuto Cellini (printed at the Officina Bodoni) to "50 leading binders in the world to bind according to their genius." The results would then be on exhibition and the three bindings considered most successful would be awarded prizes.
Alas, like several other of Macy's intriguing enterprises, this one came a cropper, as I learned thanks to David (NYCFaddict) who has provided me with a flawless Monthly Letter for Of Human Bondage. In that ML, I learned that a publisher in Paris was doing exactly the same thing and Macy "decided there was no reason for duplication." (It isn't mentioned which book that Parisian publisher was having those binders bind.)
So, Plan B:
"...we now have on our hands 50 copies of Cellini...and therefore make this announcement now, that we will have these copies bound by hand by the three or four best hand binders in America, provided that fifty of our members will want them."
I mentioned also that the solution to the mystery of the unbound Cellini's had been provided by astronauteric 8 years earlier--but I'll be d----- if I can find THAT thread.
One of the amazing things about Wilde was his ability to toss off memorable epigrams seemingly as if it were second nature.
Many are found in his writings, but apparently he was imminently quotable in everyday conversation:
When on coming to America, a customs official asked if he had anything to declare: "I have nothing to declare but my genius."
After a hostile reaction to a play: "The play was a great success but the audience was a disaster."
And my own personal favorite, spoken while near death in a cheap hotel room in France after his exile from England: "Either this wallpaper goes or I do."
Were they spontaneous or had he prepared them in advance as some critics contend? Who cares? They are still brilliant.
Robert, astronauteric's contribution was in this thread: A Mystery, but essentially his/her information is the same as yours since it too came from the Of Human Bondage ML. Still, kudos to astronauteric as first finder.
As ever, the solution may lie in the Harry Ransom vaults, where Manuscript Collection MS-1580 houses the Macy collection. The Cellini autobiography section includes the following:
Container 14.14: 1936-1937 Binder’s Contest
Container 14.15: Binding Contest Letters
Container 14.16: 1936-1937 Thomas Craven*
Container 14.17: 1938 Special Bindings, Binders
Container 14.18: 1938 Special Bindings, LEC Members
Of course, even these may not name either the French publisher or the book...
*Thomas Craven, the son of Union general and a close friend of John Steuart Curry (the son of confederate general) was an art critic, novelist and collector of cartoons. He was one of the first people to see (and approve of) Curry's initial sketches for the LEC The Prairie, and also wrote favourably in Scribner's of Grant Wood's illustrations for the imminent Main Street LEC. As well as the binding competition, he was involved with the Grapes of Wrath (1940); the third competition in book illustration (1944-45); The Book of E A Wilson (n.d.); and Quarto Millenary (1950). A useful man for Macy to cultivate!
Yes, just about the luckiest book purchase I've ever made. Of course, my ungrateful alter ego bemoans the fact that Jude was 'only' an HP volume, to which all I can say in reply is that if it had been a full-blown LEC +signed proof it would probably never have ended up in the hands of an inexperienced dealer who didn't realise the true value of what they were selling.
Looking through those earlier posts I noticed you asked to see the cover David Gentleman drew for the Penguin edition of a Passage to India. This one dates from 1964:
Well, Gentleman is a talented artist--no doubts about that--but I still think he is wrong for A Passage to India. I almost would prefer the book without illustrations, but the only kind I can imagine I might find acceptable, and perhaps even desirable, would be portraits of the main characters in the style of Grant Wood's illustrations for the LEC Main Street (still my favorite illustrated LEC). Of course finding the artist to pull that off would be daunting: Wood lived among people who were perfect types for the characters in Sinclair Lewis' satire of Midwestern small towns in the first quarter of the 20th century. It seems much more difficult to find the right artist who would be able to capture, not just superficial characteristics, but also the conflicted inner lives of characters as disparate as Dr. Aziz, Adela, Fielding, and Mrs. Moore. The more I think about it, the more likely I would prefer a beautifully printed, but unillustrated version. (Although, perhaps some ornaments might be employed that don't depict any characters or incidents in the story, but are emblematic of the period; that requires some research....)
It is from the Cardavon Press era, thus the limitation was 2000 and the binding & slipcase are a plain Irish green buckram. The Ogham on the spine, however, is a nice touch. Nice book, but not a great production, but then I am more interested in the contents anyhow.
The book does have the bookplate of the former owners, but that is not a problem for me. The price was quite reasonable.
I have not had the time to peruse it yet, but that will come in due time.
Too bad LEC didn't do any Icelandic sagas. Njalssaga would have been great. Alas! They did not.
I agree, Robert. I wouldn't want to see this or any of Forster's novels illustrated by David Gentleman (or even as you suggest by any other artist). But his cover work for Penguin Books was a breath of fresh air in the 1960s and made their Modern Classic series stand out from the opposition. I like the minimal style of them; his line here is as spare as Forster's prose but still manages to convey the absurdity - or fragility - of the English in India, protected only by their parasols, picnic rug, elegant teapot, tiny tea-cups and hats more suitable for Royal Ascot or a Thames regatta, none of them aware of the two small dark figures talking in the half-distance or of the distant clouds and the mountain with blobs that might indicate a landslide gathering speed...
DG, now in his 90th year, is one of the few survivors of the Helen Macy/John Dreyfus era of the LEC. The last work I have of his are the illustrations he drew for the recent FS poems of Edward Thomas.
Since I no longer need the HP, if anyone is interested in it send me a PM. Has a sunned slipcase, but the book is fine and has the Sandglass. Located in Canada. Perfectly willing to trade as well.
Agreed, I did so with a local seller... was not on the hunt for it, but he made me an offer I couldn't refuse.
All that's left is Herodotus.
A beautiful edition of the poem!
If I decide to re-read Shui Hu Zhuan some day, I will probably read the HP version again, as my experience of searching for the LEC for many years tells me this is not the most durable of bindings, but it is a thing of beauty (and what did Keats say about that?) and I'm very glad to finally add it to my library.
PS: If anyone has an extra Monthly Letter for this, please PM me!
Careful with that one. Cover is very easy to rip off. Found that out to my sorrow :(
And it's a really good read, although at first sight it should be anxious one: the tour takes place in autumn, a time of unpredictable weather, and Johnson is approaching 65, overweight, still frequently shaken by convulsive cramps, beginning to go deaf and with weak eyesight (although, as Boswell ruefully admits, there is nothing wrong with his sense of smell - on a night-time ramble past the open sewers of Edínburgh Old Town Johnson grumbles teasingly in his ear "I smell you in the dark."). But when their boat hits rough weather, it is Boswell who is discomposed, while the irrepressible Johnson delights in the fact that he is now sailing the Atlantic in an open boat...what a man!
A Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides is somewhat different from the 13 volumes of private journals, which I find even better reads! The Hebrides volume was intended for publication during the author's lifetime, and is rather more sanitized and discreet than Boswell's London Journal, Boswell in Holland, the 2 volumes of Boswell on the Grand Tour, Boswell for the Defense, and Boswell in Search of a Wife. (These are deliciously gossipy and often ribald, and are more along the lines of Samuel Pepys' Diary. There are several more which have been published under the editorship of Frederick Pottle and his compatriots, and one day I hope to acquire and read the others.
Indeed! This is the first Heritage printing with superior reproduction of the illustrations and the unique frontispiece signed by Brissaud. I acquired this version several years after I had bought a later printing, which had somewhat dull, red and brown marbled paper sides, and reproductions of the illustrations which are not in the same class as the first printing.
Collecting Heritage Press books is so much fun! In fact, Robert this is the 9th book of the first series A, copyrighted 1938 for the members of the Heritage Club. As such it lacks the signed illustration. The printing was done by the press of A. Colish and is very good. Just like you I had the later printing as well but being disappointed by it gave it away. Of the edition with the signature I have seen at least two versions with marbled boards that are different that the one pictured by me. So many variants!
Congratulations! I really like this set! I have recently acquired it myself, also in an excellent condition, and, though the font is relatively small, I have enjoyed reading some of the stories. I find the illustrations appropriate and think that they contribute nicely to overall reading enjoyment of the book.
One day I want to read all the extant 1000 Nights and a Night, but I have found that of all translations, I like the recent translation by Ursula and Malcolm Lyons best, the Mardrus and Mathers used by the Folio Society second best, and Burton's the least favorite. But when it comes to design and the use of illustration, the LEC is a winner by a wide margin. (Valenti Angelo's little illustrations seem just about perfect, in my opinion.)
Congratulations, me too! Though not a bargain once shipped across the pond. I’d been eyeing it a while, then it was mentioned in my morning paper twice in one month and I guess that strengthened my feeling it was essential reading...
Which ones in particular? I think many of the larger paper ancient Greek LECs are way undervalued (euripides, aeschylus, sophocles, argonautica, thucydides). I'm not a huge fan of Xenophon, but if they were published today (11/1/2019) I'd rather pay $200 for the LEC Xenophon than $200 for, say, the Steichen Walden or the Durenmatt Oedipus.
Herodotus for example routinely sells for under $100 and is in no way inferior to Xenophon as a production.
Yeah, I think most people enjoy the text of Herodotus more than Xenophon, but I'm thinking in terms of paper size, paper quality and contemporary production costs. Assuming all these works were produced today, I think Xenophon priced at $200 would destroy the publisher. The other ancient authors I mentioned would definitely be ruinous (to the printer) bargains. Herodotus at $90 would be a bargain, but not totally unreasonable.
Odd how infrequently Shaw's plays are performed today (with the exception of Pygmalion). I have two friends who are very accomplished stage actors, both in their 50s, and when I asked, neither had been in a production of a GBS play since college (again ,with the exception of Pygmalion). Of course some offer severe challenges in staging (Back to Methuselah and Caesar and Cleopatra), or have dated to the point of being only of academic interest (Arms and the Man and Major Barbara). Still, even somewhat dated plays such as The Devil's Disciple still work due to Shaw's expert stagecraft.
During Nicholas Hytner's distinguished reign as Director of London's National Theatre (2003-2013) I saw three Shaw productions: Saint Joan, Major Barbara, and The Doctor's Dilemma. Hytner achieved a good balance between new plays and keeping the theatrical canon in view, and I reckon that was a pretty fair ration for GBS. The plays all worked well, Saint Joan the best. In the same time frame, I also saw Pygmalion at the Old Vic, and a major production of Mrs Warren's Profession, so I don't think Shaw is seriously neglected by the traditional English stage at any rate. Shaw is of course long on talk and short on action, and modern audiences are perhaps inclined to impatience, so maybe we should be grateful for nice reading copies if his work is sliding towards closet drama. I'm rather new at LEC acquisition, having reached only three dozen or so, with no Shaw - perhaps I should look to rectify that.
ETA And since then Man and Superman at the post-Hytner National, with Ralph Fiennes.
I've never replaced my HP version of this work, which I'm sure is not as super-deluxe as the LEC, but I'm in love with the chartreuse marbled paper sides on the HP. Being an aficionado of marbled paper, I am tempted by the feather pattern paper sides of the LEC, but it just doesn't seem as apropos as the yellow-green clouds on the HP. Of course the price is a factor....
I'm in agreement with MobyRichard that Ms. Gay's illustrations are a shade too intense here; she was much better utilized in The Ballad of Reading Gaol.
En route I have Anthony Adverse and Peer Gynt. In Canada so will take a couple of weeks.
The 1985 edition of The Secret Sharer may be my absolute favorite LEC -- it's absolutely perfect, in format, paper, typography, printing, illustrations, binding and box. I can't think of another that gets everything just right.
The (1981) Odyssey
The 37 Shakespeare plays (and later on a VG copy of the poems in a slipcase in pieces)
Alice in Wonderland
Toilers of the Sea
Les Misérables (sans slipcase and barely VG but very inexpensive)
Ivanhoe (the chainmail-y one)
The Peloponnesian War
And honourable mention to three (3!) copies of the HP (Valentino) Sonnets of William Shakespeare, two for gifts.
Thankfully I'll be working very hard next year and intend to (try to) prioritise reading books over buying them. Though buying books is a sort of vicarious reading, right?
Warm thanks to the many contributors here who helped me work out which LECs are right for me!
The only other Grabhorn Press book we own is one of the Grove Plays they produced for the Bohemian Club, not exactly an exciting item, but it does serve as an inexpensive example of their work.
The Grabhorn Pearl is on my wishlist, as my 1966 school copy published by Cooper Square, while having the definitive Middle English text, and superb critical apparatus, is far from being a fine press edition.
My own favorite book printed by the Grabhorn's is Melville's The Encantadas--a must for Melville fans--which was made available to me by one of our own Devotee's (to whom I will be ever grateful!)
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