Limited Editions Club – Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas (1958)

Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas (1958)
LEC #283/26th Series V. 4 in 1958
Artwork – Hand-colored illustrations by Edy Legrand
Introduced by Ben Ray Redman
LEC #144 of 1500

Click images to see larger views.

Front Binding – Hello, everyone! Let’s begin today right with a LEC post. We all love those, right?

Twenty Years Later is the middle of Alexandre Dumas’ Three Musketeers trilogy, which is among the greatest works in French literature. Dumas received more than a few LEC editions, with The Three Musketeers seeing two releases, one in 1932 with Pierre Faulk’s illustrations as a 2 volume set, and a later 1953 edition with Edy Legrand’s art. The Count of Monte Cristo followed in 1941 in a massive four-volume set with Lynd Ward supplying his artistic touch. The lesser-known The Black Tulip came out in 1951 featuring the design of Jan van Krimpen and the art of Frans Lammers (both signed the books). Three more books featuring Legrand came next, all within the Three Musketeer canon: Twenty Years Later came out in 1958, The Man in the Iron Mask was sent out in 1965, and the last, Marguerite De Valois, was released in 1969. The last book of Dumas’ to see release was 1973’s The Queen’s Necklace, with Cyril Arnstram providing art for it. His son, Alexandre Dumas, fils had his major work Camille performed twice as well, making this father-son duo one of the few (if there are any others!) to have two LEC’s done for one of their respective works. French painter Marie Laurencin handled a 1937 edition, while Bernard Lamotte illustrated a later 1955 version.

I am pleased to share with you another whimsical collection of Edy Legrand’s artwork. I quite like his work, that I do, and it’s nice to have fully colored examples to showcase for you this time. I cover his career with George Macy in The Nibelungenlied post.

Here’s the announcement page with the publication details:

The boards are a lovely red with three fleursdelis stamped in gold on the front. I believe this is common to all of the Legrand Dumas, with varying colors for the boards of each book.

Spine – The book was still in its wrappings when I bought it, thus the radiant red spine. Definitely one of the overall nicest exteriors of any LEC I own.


Title Page – For some reason, the translator of this and the other works of Dumas done by Legrand is notably lacking. Dumas wrote in French, so there was some translation work done here! The Monthly Letter also curiously omits this detail. We do know Ben Ray Redman introduces the book, but it’s a little weird that the George Macy Company doesn’t cite their translation source.

Signature Page – This is #144 of 1500, signed by Legrand. Legrand didn’t always sign his works; Don Quixote, Travels in Arabia Deserta and The Three Musketeers were all issued unsigned.

Page 46 – Such intensity. I haven’t read this yet, but I’m intrigued! I did have a rather unfortunate mishap with this book, though regarding this page. Apparently some glue had gotten stuck on the page following this illustration, and I had to rip them apart, to the detriment of some of the text. The pages weren’t torn in the process, but it was a little disheartening to somewhat assault such a lovely book.

Page 130

Personal Notes – I bought this with store credit at Carpe Diem Rare Books in Monterey, CA, for $50 (i.e. two books I sold in). Nice shop, nice owners, worth a look if you’re in the area. It’s where I also got my Zadig, and hey, it’s got the same number. :) I’m also happy to have a signed Legrand!

LEC Newsletter

Updated 7/6/2012 – JF

2 thoughts on “Limited Editions Club – Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas (1958)”

  1. This LEC is getting harder and harder to get in a Fine copy. Fortunately, I have all the Dumas pere books in Fine condition plus the Dumas fils Camille in both editions, one illustrated by Marie Laurencin, the most expensive, and the later one (Pierre Brissaud?).

    About the translators: when Dumas was first published in the United States, all of his so called Romances were published by Little-Brown which is still in existence. They were published in 48 volumes with a cloth edition going for $48 in cloth and half-crushed Morocco priced at $132. I have the tattered flyer issued by Little-Brown. Imagine buying 48 volumes in Morocco.

    These books were either translated by an English publisher or by Little Brown. I mean the publisher had them translated, and in either case the translator is uknown. The translator has been the same one for more than 100 years. Macy used this uknown translator when he published Dumas pere’s novels. I doubt if any one at this date knows who the tranlator originally was. The translator is not recognized in any of the Little-Brown books.

    The stand alone Dumas Romances were The Count of Monte Cristo and the Black Tulip.

    The LEC D’artagnan Romances were The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and a portion of the Viscomte de Bragellone titled The Man in the Iron Mask.

    Only one of the three Valois Romances was published by the LEC: Marguerite de Valois or Queen Margot.

    Only one of the Marie Antoinette Romances was published by the LEC. There were a total of six with The Queen’s Necklace being the only LEC.

    I have read about half of the Dumas Romances, and whoever translated them did a good job. They are enjoyable to read and depict some exciting moments in French history. In Twenty Years After, three of the four musketeers are beneath the scaffold in a futile attempt to save Charles I from execution. The scaffold was built right outside the dining room at Whitehall. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Don,

      Thanks for the additional fleshing out of the Dumas novels. Shame the translator has been lost to time, especially if they produced solid work!

      The 1955 Camille was illustrated by Bernard Lamotte.

      Thanks for commenting! :)

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