Limited Editions Club: The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1946)

January 22, 2011 § 3 Comments

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1946)
Seventeenth Series, Book #185 (1st in this series)
Artwork: Miniatures by Arthur Szyk
Translated by Frank Ernest Hill, who revised his earlier translation for the LEC in 1934 for this edition.  Hill also provides an Introduction.
#1122 out of 1500.

Click images to see a larger view.

Note – This is a special post, as I get to compare the Limited Editions Club original to the Heritage Press reprint.  I’ve taken shots of both books on the same pages and topics, and will put the LEC shots on the top and the Heritage ones on the bottom to make it easy to look at both.  This will be a continuing feature that will continue to occur as I manage to procure the LEC and Heritage copies of books to document.

Also, I have been fortunate enough to be gifted a Limited Editions Club newsletter with my LEC copy, which I have scanned and provided below underneath the book’s images.  I may do this with my own books in the future, but considering how hard these things are to find, and I stumbled on one at a library, I felt compelled to share this particular one with you.  If it goes over well, I’ll definitely ponder putting up mine.  Enjoy!

Front Bindings

The two utilize the same idea – a looping illustration done by Arthur Szyk in miniature that features Chaucer in the middle of one pattern.  The LEC has a leather spine, while the design continues onto the Heritage edition, which you can see below.  George Macy was responsible for the LEC design, and I imagine he carried that title over to the Heritage edition as well.  Here’s the details of the book’s creation, straight from the Club themselves:

That simplifies things a little. :p


Title Page – The LEC edition went with a nice blue ink for its title page, while the Heritage ran with standard black.  Otherwise, they’re about the same.

Introduction – The LEC continues to spice up its pages with color – blue and red are used throughout the text, while the Heritage reprint sticks it out with their black.  The LEC also has the added bonus of “feeling” the text with your hands (and by that, I mean that the ink rises above the page slightly, and you can notice the difference brushing the page with your hand), which is just incredible.

Signature Page – Oh, how I wish you were mine.  Alas, it is UC Merced’s, and is #1122 of 1500.  Szyk has a very nice signature, I must say.

Title Illustration – Flip the title page and you’ll see this decadent piece that Szyk did of the entire cast of the Canterbury Tales.  The LEC original is much more vibrant with its colors and detail, which isn’t much of a surprise.  It’s a bit hard to tell in these shots, but the LEC artwork has a nice border around it that’s a light tannish color, and the text on the right or left of the portrait shares that attribute, as you’ll see below.

The Host

The Wife of Bath

Personal Notes – I…don’t own either of these books, so I can’t get too deep into their histories.  One came from the Mariposa Library (the Heritage), and luck gifted me the LEC at UC Merced’s library.  I wouldn’t mind owning this, I’ll say that much. :p

LEC Newsletter


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