Two Plays (Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard) by Anton Chekhov (1966/1966* [NY/Conn]))
Sandglass Number: None (weird…a Connecticut-era omission, mayhaps?)
Artwork – Illustrated by Lajos Szalay
Translated by Constance Garnett, Introduced by John Gielgud
Reprint of LEC #385/34th Series V. 11 in 1966
Click images to see a larger view.
Front Binding – Ah, now I can update this post for some comparisons! The Connecticut binding (on the right) is a fairly sterile binding job, although the three cherries is a clever homage to the two Anton Chekhov plays it contains – The Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard. The New York printing is with a maroon cloth, with a nice centerpiece of Chekhov’s initials. Bert Clarke of Clarke and Way (aka The Thistle Press) handled the design duties of the original book – I’m not sure if Cardevon recruited him to do the Connecticut binding as well.
As for Chekhov, he got recognition from the Limited Editions Club rather late in its history – this was the first collection of his work, in this case, his two great dramas, and in 1973 Cardevon would put out a compilation of his short stories. Apparently Macy didn’t think much of Chekhov during his tenure, or merely forgot to include him alongside the other Russian legends like Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev and Pushkin that did receive lovely editions in the heyday of the LEC.
Title Page – Sir John Gielgud, very well known for his Shakespearean performances, provides an Introduction to Chekhov’s dramas, and Lajos Szalay is its illustrator. I must admit, Szalay’s art style isn’t really to my taste. However, it was to Cardevon, who hired him to perform artistic embellishment to the Stories of Chekhov I mentioned above as well as Turgenev’s The Torrents of Spring in 1976. Perhaps you will see something that pleases you in my examples. The color pieces are tempura paintings.
Clarke utilized 12 point English Monotype Garamond for its text, but that’s all the Sandglass lets out of its production notes. It instead goes for a near page on Gielgud’s storied career, which is all well and good, but makes it hard to document books on this blog!
Page 6 – One of Szalay’s tempura paintings. I think the linework is what distracts me from enjoyment – it’s almost a little too rough for me. Anyway, the printings seem fairly comparable – the Connecticut print is a little fuzzier, but I may have zoomed in a bit closer and it wasn’t quite as focused.
Personal Notes – I bought this copy at my current book employment years before I was employed there. I didn’t realize the Connecticut/New York distinction at the time, which I have now fully comprehended and rarely buy Connecticut titles these days. I sold that one off to get some other HP titles in 2011. I was given a copy of the New York edition in January 2012 by my good friend John. It was incomplete, but in very good shape. The Connecticut slipcase doesn’t quite squeeze around it as nicely as it did for its original host, but it’s better than nothing!
* -A strong piece of evidence that Cardevon rarely changed the dates of the Macy’s initial printings to reflect their reprint.