Heritage Press – Prometheus Bound and Prometheus Unbound by Aeschylus/Percy Bysshe Shelley (1966)
February 19, 2012 § 2 Comments
Prometheus Bound and Prometheus Unbound by Aeschylus/Percy Bysshe Shelley (1966)
Sandglass Number XI:30
Artwork: Drawings by John Farleigh
Prometheus Bound translated by Rex Warner, who also provides a Preface
Reprint of LEC #367/33rd Series V. 5 in 1965
Click images to see a larger view.
Front Binding – The sun was a little abusive to this shot, but I think you can still get the gist of what it looks like. Both front and back boards, colored black , have this neat gold-stamped “flame” column that runs from top to bottom. Russell-Rutter bound this edition, which was (as its LEC forebear) designed by Jan Van Krimpen’s assistant Hendrik Clewits (Van Krimpen passed away in 1958). Clewits mimicked his old ally in terms of his design choices, utilizing Van Krimpen’s Spectrum font, which was set at Van Krimpen’s old studio Joh. Enschede en Zonen. I’m sure they printed the LEC edition, but the Heritage Press went with Michael Pagliaro’s printing press, the Holyoke Lithograph Company, in Holyoke, Massachusetts for their edition. They also reprinted John Farleigh’s incredible illustrations. Mohawk Paper Company provided the paper.
Aeschylus, one of the legendary Greek dramatists, got a fairly late induction into the George Macy canon, with his classic trilogy The Oresteia debuting in 1961, followed by this book in 1965 for the LEC. While it took some time, at least both of them are quite lovely and highlight the majority of Aeschylus’ important works. Percy Bysshe Shelley also had a post-George Macy introduction, with this being his first production by the Club, as well as the last under the Macy family. Cardevon produced a book with his poetry in 1971 that tied into the British Poet line that Helen Macy began. His wife Mary, known for Frankenstein of course, had a significantly earlier appearance with that particular novel being produced in 1934 for the LEC (which the Heritage Press reprinted in the ’60’s).
John Farleigh was a master in woodcuts, and I go into his career with the Club fairly extensively in my post on The Histories of Shakespeare. This was his concluding work for the Company, passing away before he could sign any of the LEC editions. As of present, this is his masterwork for the George Macy books he produced that I’ve seen. Wondrous stuff within these pages.
Title Page – Man, I adore Farleigh’s work here. It’s very fantastical. The Sandglass reports that Farleigh mixed line and wash techniques to create “tones and subtleties that we don’t often see in this medium”. They are most exquisite.
Rex Warner handled translation duties on Aeschylus’ half of this puzzle, and also provided a preface to the overall work. Warner also introduced The Oresteia, making him the Macy expert on this author it would seem. Now, I don’t believe that this combination of two separate authors happened all too often in the LEC or Heritage Press, so this has a uniqueness to it.
Cast Page of Prometheus Bound – Astounding. What more can I say?
Personal Notes – This is a curious book in my collection. When I acquired it I was employed at a bookshop in my hometown. Owners of another book store in Monterey, California frequently came up to Yosemite and established a rapport with my boss. On a visit to Monterey, I visited their shop and let them know I worked for their acquittance by Yosemite. Well, I had this book in my hand and it was unpriced, so I asked the clerk how much they wanted for it. They gave it to me. I was a little stunned, and thanked the clerk profusely. Alas, a few years later when I revisited the shop, the same person had forgotten me (and apparently my former boss), and was bitter about the shop’s decline in sales. It was not a super pleasant shopping experience, so I don’t know if I’ll ever return there. I’ll keep the name of the store off the record – I’m not here to slander. But I am thankful to have this lovely book regardless of changing attitudes.