Heritage Press – Three Plays by Henrik Ibsen (1965)
August 11, 2011 § 2 Comments
Three Plays of Henrik Ibsen – An Enemy of the People, The Wild Duck and Hedda Gabler (1942)
Sandglass Number XV:29
Artwork – Engravings by Frederik Matheson
Translated by Eleanor Marx-Aveling (Enemy), Florence Elizabeth Archer (Wild Duck) and Edmond Gosse and William Archer (Hedda Gabler), edited by William Archer and introduced by John Gassner
Reprint of LEC #364/33rd Series V. 2 in 1964
Click images for larger views.
Front Binding – Unfortunately, the first thing that probably leaps to the eye is the staining the bottom of the binding features – I’m not sure if it’s urine, coffee or some other tannish liquid, but considering I got this book for free, I’m not complaining too much. However, a recent mishap splashed water over several of my incomplete tomes, and this received additional damage while I attempted to dry it off. So, before I sell it off with several other incomplete books in the hopes of acquiring a few in return, I wanted to document it for you all, as it is a nice book despite the post-publishing boo-boos. The Russell-Rutter Company performed bindery duties, and George Macy newcomer Fredrik Matheson was responsible for the design along with Arnstein and Agnar Kirste, owners of the Kirste Boktrykkeri (aka bookprintery, as the Sandglass puts it) of Oslo, Norway. The boards have a pattern paper meant to resemble a curtain, appropriate for Henrik Ibsen, one of the modern legends of theater. This set features three of his biggest works – the biggies Hedda Gabler and The Wild Duck leap to the forefront, although An Enemy of the People is also a classic. The Limited Editions Club also did Peer Gynt in 1955.
Title Page – The title page fails to mention the translators/editor of this set. An Enemy of the People was rendered into English by Eleanor Marx-Aveling, the daughter of Communist Manifesto author Karl Marx. William Archer, the editor of this book, collaborated on Hedda Gabler’s translation with Edmond Gosse, and Archer’s wife Florence Elizabeth Archer did the honors for The Wild Duck. John Gassner, who is credited here, offers up an Introduction. Let’s wrap up with the production – the text is Garamond, printed by Kellogg and Bulkeley in Hartford, Connecticut (I’d imagine the LEC was printed by Kirste Boktrykkeri, as they were a high-end publisher) on paper from the Cumberland Mills of Maine, which are owned by the S.D. Warren Company of Boston.
Page 7 – I really like Matheson’s artwork – his larger prints are full color wood engravings (with each color being a different block, which blows the mind if you begin to think about the craft of such precision on multiple blocks), while the smaller ones are mere monochrome (but still special!). The Sandglass gets deep into his art career on Page 4. This would be his sole work for the George Macy Company, but he certainly left his mark.
Personal Notes – I’m sad to see this one go – I quite like the book, and will be on the prowl for a replacement. I got this as a gift from my anthropology instructor, who salvaged it from somewhere.