July 25, 2012 Comments Off on Heritage Press – Journal of a Plague Year by Daniel Defoe (1968)
Journal of a Plague Year by Daniel Defoe (1968)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Domenico Gnoli
Introduced by James Sutherland
Reprint of LEC #401, 36th Series, V. 3 in 1968.
Click images for a larger view.
Front Binding – Ah, it’s been a long time since we’ve been graced with a work from Daniel Defoe. Last time we saw him as the beautiful Moll Flanders LEC in January of 2011! This one is a little more grotesque in nature than the “biography” of a prostitute, but we’ll get to that in a second. I failed to detail Defoe’s publishing history with the George Macy Company before, and I’d like to remedy that now. Defoe’s most famous and enduring work was Robinson Crusoe, and Macy selected it to be one of the first twelve books in the First Series way back in 1930! Edward A. Wilson served as its illustrator. An incredibly long gap would follow, with the Reginald Marsh illustrated Moll Flanders seeing release as a Heritage exclusive in 1942. That would be dolled up into a LEC in 1954. Helen Macy would commission this particular book, which came out in 1968. Last would come Roxana, which was shipped out a bit late in Cardevon’s ownership of the Club in 1976. Bernd Kroeber was tapped as its artist.
Signor Domenico Gnoli would be summoned to serve as this book’s principle visualist, and did he rise to the challenge. Gnoli’s style matches the artistic style used in the work’s setting, and his morbid touch would make the plague described by Defoe spring back to life in all its disgusting glory. There’s a lot of disturbing imagery in this book, and while I’ve selected some pieces that aren’t too ghastly, this book’s art is probably not for the squeamish. This would be the sole contribution he would give to the LEC, but it’s definitely one of the more striking I can think of.
I have no Sandglass for this book, so I can’t detail its particulars. I can, however, give some minor background notes from the LEC newsletter. Richard Ellis designed the original edition. Gnoli produced eight paintings and thirty-three drawings to accompany Defoe’s narrative. Granjon is the font of choice, with Cloister Black and Janson providing additional texts throughout the work. That’s about all I can tell you for now, but I will update this post when I get a hold of a Sandglass.
This is one of my favorite Heritage bindings. I bought it because it was incredibly unique. It looks and feels like snakeskin! Really memorable stuff. The Connecticut reprint is less impressive, as it uses a blue cloth with a tan colored coffin dead center, with 1665 printed on the coffin. To the point, I guess, but not as snazzy.
Title Page – I like this title page, and it’s one of the better ones that are lacking an illustration. It has a nice ye olde feel to it. James Sutherland provides an Introduction.
Page 13 – An example of Gnoli’s linework.
Page 34 – The art is this book is not exactly uplifting. It is most certainly excellent, though.
Page 62 – Man, this one gives me goosebumps. The emotion is intense.
Personal Notes – I snagged this at my favorite book shop in Monterey a couple years back, and I’m a big fan of its binding and artwork. I suppose I should see if I would like its textual contents!
July 25, 2012 § 1 Comment
Penguin Island by Anatole France (1938)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations in water-colors by Sylvain Sauvage
Translated by A.W. Evans
Heritage Press Exclusive
Click images for a larger view.
Binding and Spine – Anatole France received quite a smattering of attention from the George Macy Company, way more than he receives today (a shame!). Penguin Island was the one work of France’s that Macy produced twice. I discuss France’s LEC and Heritage editions in my earlier Revolt of the Angels post.
Thanks to Django6924, I am able to share with you the original Heritage exclusive that predates the later LEC release. In 1938 Macy recruited Sylvain Sauvage [no stranger to the books of France, as he did two LEC’s of his before this one, At the Sign of the Queen Pedauque (1933) and The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard (1937)] to produce this lovely edition of what is probably France’s best known work. Sauvage has popped up here before for his amazing work on Zadig, and I’m happy to have him make a second appearance. I covered his career in the aforementioned post, so we’ll just jump into this book’s specifics. Early Heritage books tended to have production details, and this one is such a book, so I’ll plop that down for some minimal design details:
Since I initially wrote this post, fellow George Macy Devotee featherwate submitted to me information from Michael Bussacco’s book on the Heritage Press, which I will paste below:
I don’t have a Sandglass with my copy of the HP Penguin Island, but here are some of the technical details taken from Bussacco’s Sandglass Companion:
Type: Granjon was chosen for being both dignified and unobtrusive – (Sandglass: “dignity is required in the setting of a satiric novel”) – and its size is 14 pt. The paper, made by the Worthy Paper Company, resembles the paper used for the HP Romeo and Juliet and is guaranteed to last for at least two centuries!
Illustrations: Ten full-page water-colour pictures, reproduced to the exact size of Sauvage’s original paintings by Ralph M. Duenewald of New York, who was also responsible for printing Sauvage’s illustrations for the LEC Cyrano and Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard. BTW, “The navigation of Saint Mael” is on page 34, and “Then she went away…” on page 60.
One of the most interesting features of the book is its binding. First the bad news: it’s not leather. In the words of the Sandglass, the sheets are encased in “heavy boards over which the binder has worked a material from the factories of E.I Du Pont de Nemours Company. It is a material of which the surface is treated with pyroxolin. It will last longer than most book cloths, far longer than most cheap leathers, not quite so long as expensive leathers that are used in the binding of a hundred dollar books.
The material is dyed black. Its surface is treated with leather graining. This is just rank imitation. We would much prefer to use the original goatskin which this graining imitates!”. (Would have been too expensive.)
Not mentioned in the Sandglass is the origin of pyroxolin (or more properly, I think, pyroxylin, though there was a New Zealand racehorse called Pyroxolin in the 1890s). It has been around since 1868, when Albany printer and inventor John Wesley Hyatt gave the name to a blend of nitrocellulose and the plasticiser camphor (sap from the laurel tree) which produced a durable, colourful, and mouldable thermoplastic. It is still used today by specialist bookbinders and conservators. Riley, Dunn & Wilson, for example, make solander boxes with a covering of pyroxolin[sic]-impregnated light-fast, moisture- and vermin-resistant library buckram. As a non-scientist I find it slightly worrying that pyroxylin appears to be essentially the same thing as gun-cotton and the notoriously inflammable nitrate base used for early film stock. Not much point in having a 200 year guarantee for the paper if the binding is liable to sudden spontaneous combustion! Another reason to keep one’s books out of direct sunlight…
So, the book is bound in a material similar to gun cotton? That’s fascinating…and scary! Definitely keep it out of the sun or away from any other heat source! Anyway, the book’s front binding has a lovely embossing:
That’s all I can give you for now, but I’ll refresh this post when I find out more.
Title Page – A.W. Evans was the translator for Penguin Island, and there is no introduction whatsoever. Sauvage’s art is a great fit from what I can tell.
Chapter IV – As I do not own this, I do not know the specific page numbers. I’ll update this once I know. This is incredible art, that it is.
Example Illustration – More mastery. I think I need this.
Extra special thanks to Django6924 for the images and featherwate for the info from Bussacco!
Penguin Island by Anatole France (1947)
Sandglass Number 15K
Artwork: Drawings by Malcolm Cameron
Translated by A.W. Evans, Introduced by Carl Van Doren
Reprint of LEC #181, 17th Series, V. 7 in 1947.
Front Binding – For the second Heritage issuing of France’s seminal work, the Club reissued the later LEC Penguin Island. This was one of the winning entries for the LEC’s “Third Competition in Book Illustration”, which the Sandglass gets into the minor details of on Page 2 (Macy says he doesn’t want to bore people with it yet again, and then explains it all anyway :p ). Malcolm Cameron’s drawings won over the judges and netted him one of the five first prizes, and thus the LEC had its own Penguin Island to crow about. Cameron would do one other book for the George Macy Company, Jack and the Beanstalk, which was released in a set of Evergreen Tales in 1952. Cameron was actually an architect by trade, dabbling with his artwork as a side project. Upon winning, he gave up his old career (the Sandglass wondered if his netting the prize had anything to do with it) and committed to being an illustrator full time. Blog commenter Tom Lessup dug up some personal info on Cameron:
Malcom Cameron, printmaker, illustrator and architect
Born in Redlands, CA on Sept. 2, 1902, Attended the California Institute of Technology and Cornell University. He apprenticed in an architectural office in NYC in 1927-28 and then moved to Los Angeles. In 1945 he settled in Bonsall, CA and lived there until moving to Shaw Island, WA in 1962. He died there in March 8, 1975. Illustrated books such as “Penguin Island” by Anatole France and “Notre Dame de Paris” by Victor Hugo.
Exhibitions: Oakland Art Gallery, 1939; GGIE*, 1940. In: Library of Congress.
Source: Edan Hughes, “Artists in California, 1786-1940″
*Golden Gate International Exposition
Sometimes confused with Australian painter/printmaker of the same name, born 1934
Massive thanks for elaborating on Mr. Cameron’s career for us, Mr. Lessup. :)
Some production details, then. France’s text and Cameron’s drawings were reproduced through electroplates and photographs, respectively. The Photogravure and Color Company handled Cameron’s side of the equation. Joseph Blumenthal was the designer of this edition, who also had personally designed the font chosen for the work, Emerson. It is called that due to Blumenthal’s choice to use it to print Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essay on Nature. Designer buffs will want to peruse this Sandglass, as it goes into Mr. Blumenthal’s career in very extensive depth. The Stratford Press handled the printing of the text. The bindery is suspiciously absent.
Title Page – A.W. Evans’ translation made the leap from the Sauvage edition. Carl Van Doren supplies this printing with an Introduction. A lovely title page, this one. I like it more than the Sauvage edition.
Book 1: The Beginnings
Page 30 – Cameron’s linework is exquisite. France is doubly lucky to have two fine illustrators render his work so delightfully for one publishing house.
Personal Notes – I got this at Bookbuyers in Monterey as part of a trade-in, and I’m really happy to have it. I adored Revolt of the Angels, and I hope I will enjoy this as well. I’d like to own Sauvage’s edition as well, which would give me three versions of this work (I also have an early Dodd, Mead edition with Frank C. Pape’s artwork, and that is also exquisite!).
July 24, 2012 Comments Off on Heritage Press – Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust (1954)
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust (1954)
Sandglass Number XII:18
Artwork: Illustrations by Bernard Lamotte
Translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff, Introduced by Justin O’Brien
Reprint of LEC #244, 22nd Series, V. 12 in 1954.
Click images for a larger view.
Front Binding – This book is a bit curious in that it in nearly all respects mimics its LEC original to a fault. The board design is identical to the LEC, as you can see here:
I’m sure the LEC fabric is more luxurious, but it’s a little weird to see a Heritage edition mirror its LEC parent so closely.
Anyway! Swann’s Way is the sole work of Marcel Proust published by either the Limited Editions Club or the Heritage Press. Proust is a rather interesting figure of French literature, but I’ll reserve that story for Wikipedia to tell. Swann’s Way was his first novel in his series of several works of fiction entitled “Remembrances of Things Past”, first published in France in 1913. In 1954 George Macy slotted the work into his 22nd series of the LEC.
The Sandglass raves and raves about the illustrator recruited to render Proust’s novel into visual art, the painter Bernard Lamotte. I have to admit that I am not at all attached to Lamotte’s style, and only have this book to discover Proust. Lamotte’s accomplished and his skills are superb, I do not question that. There’s just something …lifeless to his work that I don’t care for. However, as your faithful curator it is my job to not merely complain about an artist I don’t like, but to instead inform. So, I’ll save rambling on and on about my grievances. Lamotte began working with Macy in 1948, rendering Emile Zola’s Nana for the LEC. He would stick with French-related commissions for the rest of his career (fitting, as he was French). Here’s the rest of his career with the LEC:
France, Anatole, Crainquebille, 1949.
Proust, Marcel, Swann’s Way, 1954.
Hugo, Victor, Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), 1955.
Dumas, fils, Alexandre, Camille (La Dame Aux Camelias), 1955.
Carlyle, Thomas, The French Revolution, 1956.
Maupassant, Guy de, Bel-Ami, 1968.
All prominent French works save Carlyle, but his certainly relates to the French! Lamotte passed away in 1983, which makes his sudden lapse of involvement following Bel-Ami a little odd.
Anyway, the cloth boards were inspired by a photograph of Proust’s quarters Lamotte had taken in order to enrich himself in the world of Swann’s Way. A wall covering in the room looks just like the fabric utilized here, which Lamotte was asked to recreate by Macy after a panicked cable. Lamotte did one better, and actually took a piece of that covering to have it duplicated for both the LEC and the Heritage editions. Apparently it left a strong impression on Macy to have it cover both books! The Garamond Press handled the printing duties, taking the Bodoci Monotype font selected for the text and applying it to Crocker-Burbank paper. Russell-Rutter unsurprisingly was the bindery for the Heritage edition. It’s more of a shock when they’re not involved with a Heritage book! The illustrations were printed in Paris. The Sandglass describes the detail of how Lamotte’s work needed six separate printings of color to be properly reproduced, but I will let it tell the tale. Derberny et Peignot handled the plates, while Delaporte did the actual printing of the paintings. Don Floyd was kind enough to contribute some key information, namely the designer! Macy himself was responsible for this book’s design, making it one of the last books he had such involvement with before his death. Here’s what he has to say about the LEC:
Swann’s Way was designed by Macy and since it was published in 1954, it must have been one of the last books designed by Macy…The LEC binding is in full natural linen printed with a lavendar pattern and stamped in black.
So, there you go. Thanks, Don!
Slipcase – It’s actually black, as much as this photo insinuates it’s green.
Title Page – C.K. Scott Moncrieff was the translator for this work, and Justin O’Brien supplies an introduction.
Page 52 – I will admit that I do like this one, but that’s an unfortunate anomaly for my brain. Lamotte just doesn’t cut it for me, alas.
Personal Notes – This was received as part of a trade-in at Bookbuyers in Monterey. I got it primarily to read Proust, and it is a lovely book on the outside. Lamotte had no bearing on my purchase, as I’ve probably made clear by now. :p
July 23, 2012 § 2 Comments
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1938, two volumes)
Sandglass Number III & IV: 25
Artwork: Illustrations by Lynd Ward
Translated by Lascelles Wraxall, Introduced by Andre Maurois
Reprint of LEC #108, 10th Series, V. 2 in 1938 in five volumes.
Click images for a larger view.
Front Bindings – Les Miserables is arguably Victor Hugo’s most enduring work. In his native France he was celebrated for his dramas and poetry on top of his literature output, even considered France’s grandest poet! However, outside of France his novels are what he is remembered for. Along with The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Les Miserables made Hugo an international literary icon. George Macy seemed to think highly of Hugo, as these two seminal works were printed rather early on in the LEC timeline. Hunchback was actually printed twice before Macy’s passing in 1956, both times as Notre-Dame de Paris. The first was in 1930, the first book in the second series, with Frans Masereel doing the artistic honors. This book is sort of infamous in the Macy canon, as Bill Majure explains:
Originally issued European style, bound in paper wraps. But when many subscribers complained about the paper bindings, the publisher rebound most copies in hardcover.
The second was less notorious when it was released in 1955, and Bernard Lamotte did the artistic honors. Les Miserables was a five volume LEC in 1938, and I’ll be sharing the two volume Heritage reprint with you shortly. After Macy’s death, Helen Macy commissioned The Toilers of the Sea in 1960, with Tranquillo Marangoni doing the artwork. Cardevon would revisit Les Miserables in 1977, plucking The Battle of Waterloo from its pages for a standalone title with Edouard Detaille’s art. Not many people had two major works done twice in the LEC, so Hugo is a bit special in that regard.
Les Miserables was rendered artistically by Lynd Ward, one of the more productive contributors to the Limited Editions Club and the Heritage Press. His LEC output is as follows:
Reade, Charles, The Cloister and the Hearth, 1932.
Hugo, Victor, Les Miserables, 1938.
Dumas, Alexandre, The Count of Monte Cristo, 1941.
Hemingway, Ernest, For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1942.
Erasmus, Desiderius, In Praise of Folly, 1943.
Hughes, Richard, The Innocent Voyage, 1944.
Tennyson, Alfred Lord, Idylls of the King, 1952.
Conrad, Joseph, Lord Jim, 1959.
Paine, Thomas, Rights of Man, 1961.
Stevenson, Robert Louis, The Master of Ballantrae, 1965.
Jefferson, Thomas, Writings of, 1967.
Burke, Edmund, On Conciliation with America and Other Papers on the American Revolution, 1975.
He also did Gargantua and Pantagruel (1942) and Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend (1957) for the Heritage Press. For this particular book, he did over 500 individual illustrations! Most of them are rather small, but I’ve included some of the larger ones to marvel over. The book was designed by Peter Beilenson (Django6924 confirms Beilenson also handled the LEC. He was the designer/owner of the Peter Pauper Press, for those curious about such things. Thanks Robert!). Granjon is the font of choice here. There’s a good chunk of the third page in the Sandglass devoted to the history of Garamond, a related font to the one chosen. Duenewald Printing Corporation handled the printing duties, putting their ink upon specially made paper supplied by Crocker-Burbank. Arnold Bank was responsible for the binding design of the spines (or backstrip, as the Sandglass refers to them). Russell-Rutter was the bindery.
My edition of the work has seen some sun strip away the first volume’s red blaze, rendering it into more of a dull pink. The blue on Volume 2 is still strong, though. You’ll see the sad state of my Volume 1 below.
Slipcase – Both books are in black slipcases.
Title Page – Lascelles Wraxall (not the most common name) did the honors of translation, which his friend Hugo readily ratified. Andre Maurois, well-known biographer of the time (probably best known for Disraeli), supplies a new introduction.
Fantine – Ward’s smaller sketches are nice and all, but these book dividers are among his finest work. It’s easy to see why he was commissioned so often.
Personal Notes – This was part of my early haul from the Oakhurst Library in 2008 or so. I paid $2 per book! Ah, I love that library. Half if not more of my collection has come from there, and I’ve gotten some insane deals. :)
July 7, 2012 Comments Off on Of Interest: Fritz Eichenberg’s Conceptual Work
Fritz Eichenberg is one of my favorite illustrators, and today I wanted to share with you some of his “behind-the-scenes” material included in his marvelous collection of woodcuts and lithographs, The Wood and the Graver. This is a must for fans of Eichenberg, as it includes personal recollections of most of his LEC and Heritage Press output, plus a generous smattering of his exquisite art from the George Macy Company and beyond. I’ll share some of his memories with you at a later date, but for now, enjoy the pictures. :)
This shot may look familiar to anyone who has seen Eichenberg’s Crime and Punishment Heritage or LEC. This is a posed shot Eichenberg did of himself in order to aid capturing the tense moment seen on the title page in both books. Here’s the finished product:
While we’re talking about this engraving, here’s a glimpse into the carving process:
This gives you the briefest understanding of the time and dedication it takes to be a wood engraver. The text expands upon that significantly. How about some sketchwork? Since we’ve been discussing Crime and Punishment, we’ll begin there:
The final woodcut appears on page 250 of the Heritage and Page 323 in the LEC.
This comes from The Idiot, but I do not know the page number right off hand. It’s like the one Dostoevsky I don’t have. XD
This too is from The Idiot.
The last sketch I have for you now is from the Heritage Gulliver’s Travels. Alas, I can’t aid you with a page number here, either.
The last two pieces are not conceptual, but are actually variants of art seen in The Brothers Karamazov. At the same time, Eichenberg had a commission for another Dostoevsky work for an alternate publisher, The Grand Inquisitor. Unlike Karamazov, which used stone lithographs, he did Inquisitor with wood engravings. I can do a comparison of one of them at the moment, and I’ll see about eventually refreshing the post with the final version of all of these sketches once I have The Idiot and Gulliver’s Travels in my possession. (There is a Dostoevsky pun there). Anyway!
And the other:
Hope you enjoyed this peek into Eichenberg’s creation process!
July 6, 2012 Comments Off on Of Interest: ABEBooks Spotlights the Limited Editions Club
A nice little clip detailing out a slew of pictures of many LEC’s, plus mostly accurate information from ABEBooks’ Richard Davies. Funny story: I had to talk to Davies once to find out their customer service number for my first bookstore gig, which he was kind enough to give yet was a bit annoyed that he had to do it (he asked me not to call that number again :p ). Having irate bosses makes time of the essence, so I apologize for bothering you. Anyway, check it out if you want to see a nice scope of LEC’s under two minutes. Tip to featherwate at the George Macy Devotees.
July 6, 2012 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Singular Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Rudolph Raspe and others (1952)
The Singular Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Rudolph Raspe and others (1952)
Sandglass Number IV:17
Artwork: Illustrations by Fritz Kredel
Edited and Introduced by John Carswell, proclaimed the “Definitive” text
Reprint of LEC #221, 21st Series, V. 1 in 1952.
Click images for a larger view.
Front Binding – New York is on top, Connecticut bottom.
The Singular Adventures of Baron Munchausen, printed twice by the George Macy Company, is a collection of crazy tales of a fictional Baron Munchausen, who came up with some whoppers to tell his distinguished colleagues. Of course, the Baron insists that they were all true. ;) The first printing of the tales was the third book the Limited Editions Club published in 1929, with engravings by John Held Jr. and an introduction by Carl Van Doren. That edition was never reprinted as a Heritage. However, in 1952 the Baron’s whimsical stories were revisited by the LEC, and that particular rendition did get a Heritage edition, the one you now see before you. Fritz Kredel, who is no stranger to this blog, with The Warden, Andersen’s Fairy Tales, The Life of Benvenuto Cellini, Barchester Towers, The Book of Ballads and Four Plays of Marlowe featuring his talents in some fashion.
I commented in Cellini that I would do his full LEC/Heritage commission list in an earlier post, but that was lazy of me to think that I would do that. XD So, I’ll do it now. Fritz Kredel is among the high end of Macy’s contributor list, with an incredible twenty individual jobs for the Limited Editions Club over a forty one year span. That’s a book every two years, and he wasn’t slouching in illustrating for other publishers, either. Busy man! Since this is a massive undertaking, I’m just going to list them:
Grimm’s Fairy Tales (1931)
Slovenly Peter by Mark Twain (1935)
The Life of Benvenuto Cellini (1937)
The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio (1940, Heritage original, only 530 LEC editions issued)
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (1939/1940, part of the LEC Shakespeare)
Andersen’s Fairy Tales (1942)
The Rose and the Ring by William Makepeace Thackeray (1942)
The Republic by Plato (1944)
Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamb (Evergreen Tales, 1948)
The Complete Andersen’s Fairy Tales (1949)
King Henry V by William Shakespeare (1951)
The Singular Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Rudolph Raspe (1952)
The Warden by Anthony Trollope (1955)
Poems of Heinrich Heine (1957)
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope (1958)
The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain (1962)
Emma by Jane Austen (1964)
Four Plays of Christopher Marlowe (1966, with Albert Decaris)
The Book of Ballads (1967)
The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin (1971)
The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce (1972)
A fairly diverse list of authors, huh? Kredel passed away in 1973, but he left his impression on the LEC, no question.
The New York edition of the Heritage reprint was designed by both Kredel and George Salter. Salter handled the text, Kredel the illustrations. Salter went with Bell Monotype for the font, and there’s a slew of information on it in the Sandglass below. Kredel’s work in here is drawings colored with water-color inks, created by using hand-cut rubber plates. The Arrow Press was responsible for the illustrations, while The Ferris Printing Company printed up the text. Frank Fortney of Russell-Rutter fame was the binder. The marbled paper covering the boards were specially made by Jean-Pierre Putois of Paris, with the boards themselves made of English buckram. I know nothing of the Connecticut printing.
Django6924 chips in some additional info:
The Kredel-illustrated Munchausen is a lovely book, and the technique of using hand-cut rubber plates to apply water-color inks is a technique that Macy often employed for the Heritage Press reprints of LEC books which were hand-colored with stencils. I mentioned in an earlier post somewhere that this technique provides beautiful color, and is only inferior to the hand-colored version in that it is a too-perfect application of color–no variations in color value or thickness of application. I prefer it to the half-tone process that many other publishers used for color reproduction–which can produce color variations, but at the cost of the dot-screen “noise.”
Macy was never quite pleased, it seems, with the first LEC Munchausen–principally because he believed the illustrator, John Held, Jr., did not take his job seriously. Actually, it was a bold choice to use Held, who was famous for his comical portraits of flappers and 20s jazz babies and his New Yorker magazine covers to illustrate this piece of Germanic frivolity, and Macy probably thought the chance to do something of more than ephemeral interest would spur Held to create something extraordinary. That he did not is probably true, but what is also true is that viewed today, the illustrations have a good deal of charm and pungency, and their unusual color scheme I find most interesting. Although some have not found the binding to their taste, it is one of my dozen or so favorites of all the LEC bindings–just love those big fish and the marbled paper sides.
Title Page – This is declared the “definitive” edition of Munchausen, a claim the earlier LEC did not make. John Carswell poured through the lore of the good Baron, and compiled everything original author Rudolph Raspe and a few copycats composed into this edition, making this the first time all of Munchausen’s tales were fully assembled in one place. He also wrote the Introduction for the work. You can learn much about Carswell in the Sandglass.
Page 4 – I imagine the LEC features full-color illustrations, but Kredel’s charm still radiates from these illustrations. A good fit.
Personal Notes – I got this at Monterey’s BookBuyers, another part of the trade-in deal I got from them. It’s in very good shape, although that lovely marbled paper is not completely attached to the boards any more. I’ve read all of Raspe’s work in here, and it’s whimsical and entertaining. However, I found the first of the imitators to be lacking, so I’veput it aside. Too many other things to read!