Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1952)*
Sandglass Number VII:36
Artwork: Lithographs by Barnett Freedman
Translated by Constance Garnett, translation revision by Bernard Guilbert Guerney, and the three omitted chapters translated, edited and revised by Gustavus Spett. Introduction by Lionel Trilling.
Reprint of LEC #213, 20th Series, V. 5 in 1951. Originally 2 volumes.
Click images for a larger view.
Front Binding – A remarkable post is what I present to you today, as we welcome a Russian master and a beloved illustrator into the echelon of our blog. Leo Tolstoy (as the book prints his name here…I’ve seen it many ways!) has written two of the biggest literary classics of all time, including War and Peace and our selected book for this post, Anna Karenina. War and Peace has two different Macy imprints interpreting it in their own unique ways. The LEC War was issued in 1938 in a six-volume set, with Barnett Freedman (the same artist responsible for this edition) rendering its world with his talents. The Heritage War is a fascinating experiment. It combines the drawings of Fritz Eichenberg (who is no stranger to Russian literature illustration as our blog will show) with the paintings of Vassily Verestchagin, with each doing one volume of the two volume set. Verestchagin passed away in 1904, so it’s one of those cases where Macy wanted to celebrate the art of the past with the Heritage Press, a trend he also performed for The Iliad and The Pilgrim’s Progress, for example. We’ll continue on that trail when we get to War and Peace in the near future. As for Anna, it was printed twice by the LEC. In 1933, wood engraver Nikolas Piskariov put his spin on the book, and it also utilized Garnett’s translation (I do not know if it had all of the editors and revisions this one does). Freedman’s take, reprinted here, was done in 1951 as a two volume set. Here’s Tolstoy’s entire LEC output:
Anna Karenina (1931) with wood engravings by Nikolas Piskariov
War and Peace (1938) with lithographs by Barnett Freedman
Anna Karenina (1951) with lithographs by Barnett Freedman
Resurrection (1963) with wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg
Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (1972) with wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg
I have Resurrection and the exclusive War and Peace Heritage editions, so you can expect those down the road.
Let’s talk about Barnett Freedman for a bit. He is well liked in the Devotees, although I will admit that his style is not usually my cup of tea. I do like his work for this, though. He did the two aforementioned works of Tolstoy for the LEC, along with George Barrow’s Lavengro in 1936 and Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part I in 1939. He also was responsible for the two Heritage Bronte publications, Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Emily’s Wuthering Heights. Lastly, he had a hand in the Heritage Dickens line, rendering Oliver Twist. A short but sweet ride. The Bronte works are similar in style to this, and they’re not really my thing (I have the Random House Eichenberg editions which are LOVELY). I suppose I have been spoiled. :p Anyway, those curious about the career of Freedman and how Macy discovered him will definitely want to examine the included Sandglass below closely. It lavishes so much of its space to Freedman that Tolstoy almost seems an afterthought. :p
Production details! The LEC’s text was set by the Cambridge University Press, which the Heritage reproduces. Brooke Crutchley oversaw the LEC edition’s production, following the typographic plans of John Dreyfus. I cannot tell if Cambridge actually printed out the Heritage reprint’s pages from the Sandglass. The Curwen Press of London however did redo Freedman’s lithographic prints. Russell-Rutter and William Fortney once again did the bindery honors. The font is Ehrhardt, with the larger letter-shapes being of the Fleischmann type.
Back Boards – A delightful rarity to have art on both sides! The Bronte books share this feature as well.
Title Page – A lot of hands were involved in this book. Constance Garnett’s translation was chosen as the best choice for this work, but two further assistants were added to further refine her work. The first is Gustavus Spett. He is a Russian expert and translated three chapters Garnett did not originally. The second is Bernard Guilbert Guerney, who edited and revised Garnett’s work. Although he is not mentioned here, Lionel Trilling supplies an introduction.
Front Endpapers – This is a massively illustrated work, that it is. I figured I’d give you more bang for your buck and include the endpapers over interior illustrations. Each color was its own stone in the lithographic process, so just imagine how much foresight and planning had to go into each illustration!
Personal Notes – This came with my huge library acquisition. I’m glad to have it, as I’ve been curious about the contents of the novel for some time.
* = The Sandglass specifically mentioned Freedman’s death in 1958, so this is clearly not the original publication date for my copy. I will respectfully keep the date as is due to the book stating it as such, but I wanted to let you know that this is not a 1952 printing.