A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain (1948)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Honore Guilbeau
Introduced by Carl Van Doren
Reprint of LEC #196/18th Series V. 11 in 1949
Click the images for larger views.
Front Binding – A pleasant enough looking book, with a smiling lad in armor waving at you! The linework of Honore Guilbeau, last seen inside of The Shaving of Shagpat, is strikingly different in style from the later book. Personally, I’m inclined to believe that this may be her finest art inside of a Macy tome. The aforementioned Shagpat chronicles her George Macy Company career. Back to the boards: blue cloth boards and a yellow cloth spine, with red text for the spine.
Mark Twain has one of the more prestigious and extended printing histories in the George Macy Company. I’ve yet to fully give a full bibliography of the LEC output for Twain, so why not now? A whopping twelve LEC’s were issued with Twain’s words inside, beginning in 1933 with the first publication of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Original illustrator E.W. Kemble was resurrected to provide that edition some artistic flair, and Carl Purrington Rollins took on the design. Slovenly Peter, Twain’s translation of the German children’s story Struwwelpeter, was next in 1935. His daughter Clara Clemens gave an introduction on that, and Fritz Kredel would do his first rendering of Twain. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer came out in 1939 starring Thomas Hart Benton’s paintings. Benton and Twain would reunite in 1942 to redo Huck Finn, and again in 1944 for Life on the Mississippi. The book this post is discussing was originally released in 1949 (curious why the Heritage gives a copyright of 1948). Twain would take a small vacation through the 1950’s, but Helen Macy remembered that there was a slew of Twain left to publish, and began with The Innocents Abroad in 1962. Kredel returns to the world of Twain to illustrate that one. 1964 saw The Prince and the Pauper come out, and Clarke Hutton stepped in to provide his art for that. A Tramp Abroad followed in 1966, and David Knight handled illustration duties (with a dozen doodles by Twain included). When Cardevon took over the LEC, they kept on publishing Twain, with 1970’s The Notorious Jumping Frog and Other Stories; Joseph Low doodled for that one. Roughing It was 1972’s offering of Twain, with Noel Sickles doing some art for that, and we finally wind down to 1974’s printing of Pudd’nhead Wilson. John Groth did some painting and drawings for that. *whew*
Wish I could say I was done, but no, there’s a bit more in terms of Heritage exclusives to cover! Norman Rockwell was recruited to do editions of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. Lastly, Warren Chappel was called in to do his own version of this particular book. Huh, I’ll need to find that one.
I now have the Sandglass for this, so I’ll get around to scanning it in the near future.
Title Page – Guilbeau’s design chops are highlighted in this book, as her leafy embellishments add a lot to this eye-catching title page. I LOVE the font used here. Carl Van Doren provides some introductory comments to Twain’s fantasy/humor novel.
Page 8 – Man, I love the layouts of the chapter beginnings. The red lines are a delightful contrast to the black text, and I think this may be one of my favorite interiors in any book.
Personal Notes – When I first wrote up this post, I used a library copy. Now I do own it, and I’m pleased as punch. I really like this book.
Updated 8/27/2013 – JF