Limited Editions Club – Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1938/1948)

August 29, 2011 Comments Off on Limited Editions Club – Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1938/1948)

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1938 Heritage/1948 LEC)
Sandglass Number 6BR
Artwork – Wood Engravings by Fritz Eichenberg
Translated by Constance Garrett, introduced by Lawrence Irving
Heritage Press original, reprinted as LEC #189/18th Series V. 4 in 1948
LEC #1500 of 1500

Note – I have added the Monthly Letter from the LEC edition to the post, but have not put in those details into the post yet. It will happen in time.

Click the images for larger views.  Heritage will be on top, LEC on bottom.

Front Bindings – Crime and Punishment is Fyodor Dostoevsky’s most legendary work, and it has been ravishingly designed for both its Heritage and LEC editions.  Occasionally the Heritage Press would have their edition come out first, with a LEC two-volume reprint following that – this is another example of this (Moll Flanders and Beowulf are two others I know of).  Both went with a striking red for its boards, with a black block inlay of a cross and axe done by the book’s illustrator Fritz Eichenberg.  This was, to my knowledge, Eichenberg’s very first commission for the George Macy Company, and it wouldn’t be his last.  In fact, he would illustrate books for the LEC until 1986, when his last work, The Diary of a Country Priest, would be released by Sidney Shiff’s Limited Editions Club.  Almost 50 years of illustrating magic!  As of right now, I’ve got two other books up with Eichenberg’s work for those curious to see more – the LEC House of the Dead, also by Dostoevsky, and the Heritage Eugene Onegin by Pushkin.

The Heritage original was designed by Carl Purington Rollins, the printer at Yale University in 1938.  kdweber at Librarything was nice enough to pass along the LEC design info:

The LEC Crime and Punishment was designed by George Macy himself. Printed by E. L. Hildreth and Company; set in linotype Original Old Style, Worthy special paper; bound by Russell-Rutter Company.

Russell-Rutter did the binding for the Heritage as well.

Slipcase – The Heritage went black, the LEC went red.  Oddly, there’s no label or printing on the LEC slipcase indicating what it is, which is a little weird.  Maybe I’m missing a interior case.

Title Page – The Heritage and LEC title pages are radically different in structure, and I musy admit a preference to the LEC in this case – the use of color makes it pop more, and I like Eichenberg’s cross by the title.  Goudy Modern is the font chosen by Rollins for the Heritage, while the LEC was “set in linotype Original Old Style”, to quote kdweber.  To wrap up the Heritage printing information, Ferris Printing did the etching/text printing honors on Crocker-Burbank Co. paper made especially for the Heritage original.  George Macy went with the popular Constance Garrett translation, and Laurence Irving provides an introduction to both volumes (the Heritage omits mentioning him for some reason).

Signature Page – I must admit to being a little tickled at having #1500 for this book.  Eichenberg’s signature is nice, too, as I adore his work.  Eichenberg’s wood blocks were reused for the LEC edition by George Macy’s own printers, which is pretty neat.

Page 1/Part One Introduction – More stylistic diversions here, as the Heritage begins Part 1 with the first Chapter on the same page, but the LEC makes a special introductory page for Part 1, and then starts Chapter 1 on the next page.

Page 18/Page 17 – Eichenberg, you don’t fail to astound me.

Personal Notes – I bought the Heritage first at a library book sale in Oakhurst in 2009 or so, with a bevy of other books in what was my best haul at the time (I just topped it a couple weeks back).  I paid $3 – 4 for it, I think…may have been $2.  Not bad for a complete Heritage book.  I got the LEC this past May from my former anthropology instructor, who won it at a local auction and asked me if I wanted it.  That was a silly question.  I owe him $50 for it whenever I can get it to him.  I prefer the LEC, but both are excellent books!

Monthly Letter:

Sandglass

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