Heritage Press: The Short Stories of Oscar Wilde (1968)

February 22, 2011 § 6 Comments

The Short Stories of Oscar Wilde (1968)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Paintings by James Hill

Introduced by Robert Gorham Davis
Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #406/36th Series V. 8 in 1968

Click images for larger views.

Front Binding – A pink fabric covers this book, but lacks any additional embellishing.  I did perform a bit of Photoshop to remove a library sticker from the top right corner.  I know nothing else about this book’s design.

Title Page – James Hill provides the visual materials for Wilde’s short stories, and his work is very…retro ’60’s, for lack of a better word.  I think it works, but it’s definitely trapped in a particular era.  Robert Gorham Davis offers an introduction.

Page 252 – One bizarre “boy within a frog” motif, here.  I do like Hill’s paintings – they are certainly a trip.

Pages 237-238 – Just some cool stuff.  I’d love to own this book.  Shame Hill only worked on this one book for the LEC.

Personal Notes – This is the third Oscar Wilde title I’ve covered on the blog, and amazingly, it’s another stunner.  Seems that the George Macy Companies knew who to best pair Wilde up with.  We’ll see if that streak continues!  Anyway, I got this from the Mariposa library on loan.

If you have any insights into the creation of this book, LEC or Heritage, please let me know through the comments here or at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  Thanks!


Heritage Press: The Poems of Robert Burns (1965)

February 9, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press: The Poems of Robert Burns (1965)

Poems of  Robert Burns (1965)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Wood Engravings by Joan Hassall
Selected and introduced by DeLancey Ferguson
Part of the Heritage Press’ British Poet Master series (my designation)
Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #368/33rd Series V. 6 in 1965

Click images for a larger view.

Front Binding – This is the third British (Isles) Poet Master we’ve seen from the Heritage Press on the blog thus far – Ireland’s W.B. Yates and England’s Shakespeare predated the Scottish legend Burns, and there’s more to go!  For this volume, the Club hired wood engraver Joan Hassall to decorate the book’s poems, and she’s a great choice, as we’ll soon see.  Here we again see the repeating board motif the other two featured.  I’d wager the same designer was responsible for this, but I’ll refrain from stating that until I know for sure.

Spine – The similar spine design for these books continues on.

Title Page – DeLancey Ferguson was this book’s editor, who also wrote an introduction.  Hassall only did this one book for the Company – a shame, as she did a most astounding job, if I may say so.

Page 1 (close-up of the engraving) – As you may gather from “The Twa Dogs”, Burns utilized Scottish pronunciation in his poetical works, making them a little tough to read if you don’t have that accent flowing in your mind.

Page 168 – A taste of the page layout.  Hassall did not provide any full-page illustrations – all are nicely mixed in with the lines of poetry.

Personal Notes – I like this series, yet have rarely seen any in great condition.  I’ll be on the lookout for them, though.  As for Burns, he’s an interesting poet, but I think if I do read him it’ll be done aloud, else my brain will likely not want to work at piecing out what he wrote.

Any help or insights into the creation of this book would be lovely.  Please let me know through the comments here or at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  Thanks!

Heritage Press: The Bhagavad Gita – The Song Celestial (1965)

February 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

The Bhagavad Gita, or the Song Celestial (1965)
Sandglass Number unknown
Artwork: Paintings by Y.G. Srimati
Translated from the Sanskrit by Sir Edwin Arnold into English Verse, Introduced by Shri Sri Prakasa
Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #369/33th Series V. 7 in 1965

Click images for a larger view.

Front Binding – A pretty Indian pattern decorates the top and bottom of both boards and the spine on a bright yellow cloth.  I could use some help on designer credit!

Title Page – Sir Edwin Arnold performed translation duties, converting the Sanskrit original into English verse.  This edition reprints the Sanskrit text on the left, and the translation on the right.  Shri Sri Prakasa provides an introduction.  Y.G. Srimati did 15 paintings for this book, which fit in quite nicely.  She would also contribute to the LEC/Heritage Panchatantra that was issued in 1972.

Page 5 – Srimati’s style is perfect for this important Hindu text, and she gave notes on each of her paintings in the back of the book.  I’ll provide those for the three illustrations I’m highlighting.

Arjuna’s Grief

Confronted with the prospect of slaying his own kith and kin, his own preceptors and elders, and his own mates and companions, Arjuna is overcome by feelings of horror and revulsion.  As he slips down to the floor of the chariot, and the bow and arrow fall from his trembling hands, he cries out to Krishna that it is impossible for him to wage this war against his own folk. The storm clouds gathering in the sky are symbolic of the storm raging in Arjuna’s breast.  The cloud-hued Krishna looks on with kindly amusement.

Page 13

Krishna’s Counsel to Arjuna

The Lord in His supreme wisdom and understanding comforts Arjuna by illuminating his disturbed mind with words of advice, enjoining the path of action in accordance with the duty expected of him – hence the transcendental expression on Krishna’s face and the complete surrender in Arjuna’s attitude.  Intentionally the picture shows only the two protagonists of The Song Celestial, Nara (Arjuna) and Narayana (Vishnu, or Krishna), for in the sublimity of this concourse all else is of little account.  In the border may be noted the ॐ (OM) symbolising the Lord in the form of a sound, the white lotus symbolising the idea of learning, purity, creativity, and blossoming, and the rising sun which suggests the awakening of wisdom and the understanding of reality in the mind of Arjuna.

Page 37

The Yoga of Meditation

The yogi is one who with subdued mind practises concentration on the spirit.  He selects a secret, clean, secluded place on the banks of a sacred river, firmly fixes his wooden seat, neither too high or too low, spreads over it sacred grass, then a deer skin, and then a cloth, and, assuming the yogi pose, restrains his thoughts and senses to bring his mind to a point.  The metaphor of the yogi as a lamp in a place sheltered from the wind, so that it does not flicker, is depicted by the steady flame of the lamp in the niche of thje hermitage.  The yogi and the lamp also provide the border motif.

Personal Notes – I know very little about Hinduism and its classics, but I found this book to be an outstanding work.  Perhaps I’ll read it, if I can ever find it beyond my library. Religious texts are among the hardest Heritage Press books for me to uncover.

Any help or insights into the creation of this book would be lovely.  Please let me know through the comments here or at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  Thanks!

Heritage Press: The First Night by Gilbert and Sullivan (1958)

February 8, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press: The First Night by Gilbert and Sullivan (1958)

The First Night by Gilbert & Sullivan (1958)
Sandglass Number unknown
Artwork: A variety of contemporary illustrations from the time period
Foreword by Bridget D’Oyly Carte, and edited by Reginald Allen
Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #291/26th Series V. 12 in 1958

Click images for a larger view.

Front Binding – Green boards and a broad red spine make up this cover, with a nice embossed flower design by the border.  I’ll let Django2694 provide some info on the LEC original, and the Sandglass is at the end:

The Monthly Letter in my LEC Gilbert & Sullivan has the following information:

The LEC edition marked the first time all the G&S libretto’s were collected and printed in a single edition. It is also the first time an LEC book carried a dedication by its own editor, Reginald Allen–a touching one because it is dedicated to the editor’s mother and father; the father having founded the Savoy Company to do amateur theatrical presentations of the works of G&S, and the mother having been one of the young thesps, the two meeting during the course of the initial presentation. The father died young in WW I but the love of G&S was passed on to their offspring. Mr. Allen, after graduating from Harvard, was hired by Leopold Stokowski to write the programmes for the Philadelphia Orchestra, and after Stokowski left, became the orchestra’s manager until 1939 when he was hired to head the story department at Universal Pictures (this was during their heyday as purveyors of horror movies, including “The Phantom of the Opera,” (Claude Rains version). After service in WW II in the Pacific, Allen returned to Hollywood and worked for the J. Arthur Rank Organization, then from 1949 until 1958 was business manager of the Metropolitan Opera. At the time of editing the G&S book, he was serving as executive director of operations for the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

If all this weren’t sufficient to give the LEC edition some editorial authority, and rarely did any Monthly Letter give so much space to talking about the editor, Mr. Allen had a collaborator–Bridget D’Oyly Carte, granddaughter of the D’Oyly Carte who first brought G&S to the theater.

Eugene Ettenberg designed the book, chose Times Roman for the typeface, and John Stone of Brattleboro, VT did the composition. The titles are printed in reproductions of Victorian display types. The paper is Bethany, slightly grayish in tone and made by the Curtis Paper Company. The binding on the LEC is half red velvet on the spine with a leather title label with gold titles. The front and back covers are green linen. The slipcase is covered with gold paper and edged in green linen, courtesy of Russell-Rutter bindery. The slipcase also encloses a portfolio of the facsimiles of all the first-night programs. Truly one of the most spectacular LEC bindings. The Twelfth volume in the Twenty-sixth series.

Slipcase – This one is a little large so it can hold both the book and the box of program facsimiles together.

Title Page – For Gilbert & Sullivan fans, this is a treat.  The fourteen librettos are all here, and are all from the premiere performance, so you’ll be reading them the way they were originally performed!  The LEC and Heritage Press also included programs in facsimile form, which I’ve taken shots of the Heritage collection and added them below.  Reginald Allen was responsible for editing the book, and also provided insights to the operas in prologues to each opera.  Bridget D’Oyly Carte serves up a foreword.  For this volume, the two presses hunted down a heap of art from several sources that were published in Gilbert & Sullivan’s time regarding the operas, which gives the book a nice vintage feel.

Page 57 – Illustration Credit: Savoy Prog. (likely Savoy Theater Program)

Page 217 – Illustration Credit: Illustrated London News (Illus. Lon. News)

Page 261 – Illustration Credit: Harper’s Weekly

Box Containing Program Facsimiles


Personal Notes – I know very little about Gilbert and Sullivan, but found the book to be pretty interesting on inspection.  I’ve seen the LEC edition, which is also very nice.  However, since I merely checked it out from the Mariposa library, that’s about all I have to say.


Updated 10/16/2011

Heritage Press: The Red and the Black by Stendhal (1947)

February 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

The Red and the Black by Stendhal (aka Marie-Henri Beyle, 1947)
Sandglass Number unknown
Artwork: Drawings by Rafaello Busoni
Introduced by Hamilton Basso, translated by C.K. Scott-Moncrieff
Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #180/17th Series V. 6 in 1947

Click images for a larger view.

Front Binding – Black boards with a red spine (apropos, yes?), with the title page illustration by Rafaello Busoni embossed into the front board in red.  Busoni may be familiar to you, as we covered his work earlier with the Heritage William Tell.  Unlike that particular book, Busoni was the illustrator for both the LEC and Heritage edition.  Django2694 has this to add about the LEC version:

The designer of the book is frequent Macy contributor Richard Ellis, who also did Two Years Before the Mast this same year. The color lithographs were pulled by the dean of American lithographers, George C. Miller. The Aldus Printers did the press work. No mention of who the binder was, but the LEC version looks exactly like the Heritage edition except the half-binding is red levant sheepskin with the title stamped in gold, as is the design by Mr. Busoni on on the front board, the front and back boards bound in black linen.

Title Page – This is the first work of Stendhal’s the LEC published – they followed with The Charterhouse of Parma, which was also illustrated by Busoni.  Busoni utilized red and black tones in this particular volume, continuing the clever play on the book’s title.  Hamilton Basso provides an introduction, and C.K. Scott-Moncrieff does the translation honors.

Page 3 – A landscape shot…

Page 201 – And a shot of principle characters.  Busoni does a phenomenal job with the art in this book – this may be my favorite of his I’ve seen.

Personal Notes – Another checked out from my library in Mariposa.  I’d like to own this one.

Any help or insights into the creation of this book would be lovely.  Please let me know through the comments here or at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  Thanks!

Heritage Press: The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (1963)

February 7, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press: The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (1963)

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (1963)
Sandglass Number unknown
Artwork: Paintings by Wray Manning
Introduced by David Daiches
Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #345/31st Series V. 6 in 1963

Click images for a larger view.

Binding – A reddish cloth with a cottage inlaid into the front boards with what seems to be gold.  This is a library copy, so it’s a bit banged up.  Django2694 had this to share about the book’s LEC edition, as well as some insights into the artist, Wray Manning:

Here is some information from my LEC Monthly Letter for The Mill on the Floss; it is uncharacteristically reticent about the details of the book’s design, spending three pages on the story of George Eliot and her publisher, so I will limit this to the details of the edition itself:

The type is 11 point Baskerville on a 13 point body; the title page, the part divisions, and the chapter initials are set in a type called Sylvan in English (and Champlevé in French). The paper is a special laid paper made by Curtis, the typesetting and printing was done at Mount Vernon under the supervision of Edna Beilenson, the widow of Peter Beilenson of Peter Pauper Press, who, like her husband before her, had been responsible for many Macy books. Frank Fortney did the binding, which is a very attractive rough green tweedlike fabric, and the title on the shelf label is stamped in gold on a leather disk (as the Letter says, “like a millstone.”)

Though there is no specific mention of designer–either in the Monthly Letter or in my LEC bibliography–one suspects that it was a project initially started by Peter Beilenson, interrupted before completion by his death, and perhaps finished by Helen or Jonathan Macy and Edna Beilenson. This is the purest conjecture on my part, but since the designer is always credited (unless it were George Macy himself, who was, of course, deceased by this time), I suspect no single living person was primarily responsible.

The artist, Wray Manning, was born and educated in the Midwest, served as a machine gunner in WW I (which would have put him into his mid-60s or older when he did this assignment), and was by his own admission heavily influenced by the work of John Sloan (who did the illustrations for the LEC’s Of Human Bondage), and George Bellows (famous for his paintings of boxing, such as “Stag at Sharkey’s.” He did 24 oil paintings for The Mill on the Floss and for the LEC they were reproduced by color lithography in the studios of Michael Pagliaro in Holyoke, MA.

I personally like the illustrations very much, though I understand WildcatJF’s lack of enthusiasm for them if he has not read the novel. They are constrained–the groupings of the characters are frozen in the manner of old daguerrotypes, and I think that fits in well with the tone of the story itself. The most successful of all are the portraits of Tom and Maggie Tulliver, which I wish had been the illustrations chosen for the site. Portraiture was Manning’s forte, and he really nailed these characters. Incidentally, this was his only LEC but not his only Heritage: he did the illustrations for the Heritage Dickens Martin Chuzzlewit and they are my favorite of all the Heritage Dickens, and his portrait of Seth Pecksniff is my alltime favorite Dickens illustration by any artist who illustrated Dickens.

Title Page – Here’s Manning’s first piece, which as Django notes, work like dagurerrotypes of the main cast.  They don’t do much for me, personally, but I do like the rich colors Manning used.

Page 31 – Some sad kids, there.

Page 270

Personal Notes – Checked out from my local library.  I haven’t read Eliot, but I’d like to at some point.

If you know who designed the Heritage edition of The Mill on the Floss or its Sandglass number, please let me know through the comments here or at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  Thanks!

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