Heritage Press – The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1955)

July 29, 2013 § 2 Comments

The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1955)
Sandglass Number I:20
Artwork: Illustrations by William Sharp
Translated by Anonymous, Revised, Edited and Introduced by A.S.B. Glover
Reprint of LEC #253, 23rd Series, V. 9 in 1955

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Our second William Sharp request follows the first (and is the last of this summer’s requests; thanks to everyone at the Devotees for their interest!), and this particular commission follows the standards of Samuel Pepys’ Diary. There are lots of smaller, intricate line drawings printed in brown ink throughout the text. I must admit, Sharp is quite good at this, but I prefer the work he performed for the Poe collection to these. The Sandglass noted that Sharp was requested by Macy for the Pepys set to follow Adolph von Menzel’s approach for The Memoirs of Frederick the Great (which Macy earlier issued under the Reader’s Club banner in Bruno Frank’s novel on that king, The Days of the King), and that his successful venture at that commission made him the clear choice for the LEC Rousseau.

As for Msr. Rousseau, this is his sole outing for the George Macy Companies. Of all the things to choose from of his repertoire, this is clearly the most well-known! His candid autobiography solidified him in literature’s hall-of-fame, published in full three years after his death. Macy (I believe he was still well enough in 1955 to record his opinions via LEC letters and Sandglasses) notes that he is following the Nonesuch Press in his choice to utilize an anonymous translation from 1783 and 1790 for his issuing, recruiting A.S.G. Glover to restore exorcised passages that the original translator deemed prudish. Thus, we have here a complete English edition of Rousseau’s exploits.

Design Notes: Peter Beilenson served as designer for this edition (and the LEC original). The Riverside Press (see Robert’s comment below for a nice condensed history of the press) handled the printing of the HP volume, using Waverly as the primary font. It is based on the Walbaum font (the Curwen Press used it a lot, apparently), which was not available as a monotype in 12 points according to the Sandglass. The Intertype Corporation made a linotype, modernizing Walbaum and redubbed it Waverly. Frank Fortney bound the book, as is common. The linen for the boards is from Holland, with brown leaf stamped into the boards for the spine’s title and Sharp’s portrait of Rousseau on the front. The paper is “unusual”; a velvety, thin and crisp stock with deep tones.

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Slipcase

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Title Page – As mentioned above, A.S.B. Glover handled the editorial work here, taking the anonymous translation of the late 1700’s and giving it the finishing touches it needed. He also introduces the book.

Examples of the Illustrations by Sharp (right click and open in new tab for full size):

Personal Notes – I bought this at Second Time Around Used Books in Merced for $15. It’s been read before (there’s some penciled markings on key passages inside), but the condition was remarkably solid otherwise, so I figured why not.

Sandglass (right click and select Open in New Tab to see full size):

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Heritage Press – Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe (1941)

July 22, 2013 Comments Off on Heritage Press – Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe (1941)

Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe (1941)
Sandglass Number III:23
Artwork: Aquatints by William Sharp
Introduced by Vincent Starrett
Reprint of LEC #125, 12th Series, V. 7 in 1941

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Two previously featured icons return to the Macy blog today: the author, Edgar Allan Poe, and the artist, William Sharp. We last saw Poe in the exquisite Hugo Steiner-Prag illustrated Poems; I detail out his LEC/HP career in that particular post. Here we have what many would consider his most enduring legacy to literature; his horror-fueled short stories. Many of the classics are included here: “The Fall of the House of Usher”, “The Black Cat”, “The Gold-Bug”, “The Pit and the Pendulum”, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, “The Masque of the Red Death”, and plenty more. The marbled boards are perfect too; the coloring is ghastly!

William Sharp, last spotted doing the set of Samuel Pepys’ Diary, gleefully made his debut for the George Macy Company rendering these chilling tales in 1941. He definitely shows some versatility in his style; his later, more restrained pen drawings for Pepys and Rousseau’s Confessions greatly contrast against these more grisly interpretations of Poe’s imaginative narratives. Sharp provided the LEC edition of the book aquatint illustrations, which the Sandglass goes into great detail about. To summarize, the original artwork was done via engraving on a specifically prepared copper plate, and is then dipped in nitric acid to create the print in a watercolor-esque fashion. Photogravures of the originals were utilized for the Heritage edition.

Production details: the designer is unstated. Original Old Style serves as the main text, with English Caslon embellishments and Sylvan decorations. The red ink scattered throughout is called English vermillion. Printing was done by the Riverside Press on Crocker-Burbank Company paper (dubbed “Saturn” paper here). The stunning boards are of the Putois marbled paper family. The spine is gold-stamped.

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Slipcase

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Title Page – Vincent Starrett is the Introductory man for this set of stories. The use of red ink throughout the text is quite lovely.

Examples of the Illustrations by Sharp (right click and open in new tab for full size):

Personal Notes – This book came from Carpe Diem Rare Books on my first visit there a few years ago. I paid $15 for it, which is a little more than I usually pay for Heritage titles, but it’s Edgar Allan Poe’s brilliant tales! My wife is a big fan of his work, and I wanted to get a nicer edition of the tales than she previously had (which this fits the bill quite nicely). The next book on my Non-Macy tab is the Fritz Eichenberg illustrated Tales; look forward to that!

Sandglass (right click and select Open in New Tab to see full size):

Of Interest: LEC Posts by other Macy Devotees

July 15, 2013 Comments Off on Of Interest: LEC Posts by other Macy Devotees

I’m foreseeing a busy week in front of me, so I’m not sure if I can crank out any more elaborate posts until this weekend. In the meantime, several of the other Devotees at LibraryThing have been spotlighting LEC editions lately, and I thought I’d spotlight their work in replacement for a lack of activity here.

1) tag83, aka Tony Geer, has a great post on the LEC Treasure Island illustrated by longtime Macy alum Edward A. Wilson (who I’ll get around to soon!) at The Book Blog.

2) At The Whole Book Experience, J. Davis details out the lovely LEC edition of Jurgen, featuring the artistic chops of Virgil Burnett.

3) Lastly, Nick Long at his blog Ephemeral Pursuits goes after Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire‘s LEC printing, featuring etchings by Gian Battista Piranesi.

Enjoy all of these excellent, thorough reports on some lovely books!

Heritage Press – The Gods are A-Thrist by Anatole France (1942)

July 14, 2013 § 1 Comment

The Gods are A-Thrist by Anatole France (1942)
Sandglass Number VI:21
Artwork: Illustrations by Jean Oberlé
Introduced by André Maurois, translated by Alfred Allinson
Heritage Press exclusive; part of the Nonesuch Press/Heritage Press Great French Writers collaboration.

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Sooner or later I was bound to run into this series; today’s a good a day as any! This book is a part of a greater series on the Great French writers, done in collaboration with the Nonesuch Press (for lavish details on the Nonesuch side of things, I point you to Nick Long’s splendid post on their edition of this very book at his blog). As I have mentioned in The Shaving of Shagpat, the Nonesuch Press was run by Sir Francis Meredith Meynell, who designed this particular edition (according to Long, George Macy designed eight of the ten books, and this one was one of the exceptions). Since this is the first time we’ve seen a book in this line, let me do my best to properly detail out each one below:

A Woman’s Life by Guy de Maupassant/Edy Legrand (1942 Heritage printing, 1952 LEC edition available)
Old Goriot by Honore de Balzac/René ben Sussan (1948, LEC edition available)
Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert/Pierre Brissaud (1950, LEC edition available)
Germinal by Emile Zola/Berthold Mahn (1942, Heritage exclusive)
Mademoiselle de Maupin by Theodore Gautier/Andre Dugo (1943, LEC edition available)
The Gods are A-Thirst by Anatole France/Jean Oberlé (1942, Heritage exclusive)
Candide by Voltaire/Sylvain Sauvage (1939, Heritage exclusive)
Dangerous Acquaintances by Choderlos De Laclos/Chas Laborde (1940, Heritage exclusive)
The Princess of Cleves by Madame de Lafayette/Hermine David (1943, Heritage exclusive)
The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal/Rafaello Busoni (1955, LEC edition available)

There is a splendid story behind this series, which I’ve recently separated out into its own post here.

As stated above, the books all share a similar motif for the boards like above; a Fleur-de-lis pattern on both sides, with a gold-stamped spine highlighting the title in a rather fancy font.

Anatole France once again makes an appearance here; we’re running out of books to spotlight! I’ve covered the two editions of Penguin Island and the Heritage Revolt of the Angels already, and, for those who stumble upon this on the main page of the blog, will see that I just shared a heap of illustrations and info from the Dodd, Mead & Co. illustrated editions of those two works right below this one (or for those just glancing at this one post, here’s the link!). All that’s left is for me to track down the LEC copies of At the Sign of the Queen Pedauque and The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard , as well as a LEC or Heritage copy of his shorter novel Crainquebille…not to mention the Sauvage Penguin Island from the Heritage Press! I adore this man’s work, that I most certainly do, and he’s very high, if not the highest, on my “need to own all of the works done by Macy of this author” list. Luckily, his relative obscurity in today’s literary circles will make that not too horrid an expenditure.

Jean Oberlé makes his sole appearance in the George Macy Company canon here. I’m a little torn by the work, personally; it’s colored well and Oberlé has a knack for bringing out the humorous aspects in his illustrations, but the overall look and layout doesn’t excite me. Such is life, I suppose; I can’t be wooed by everyone!

Production details: the font is Cochin, with headings in Sylvan (hmm, almost a nod to Sylvain Sauvage!). The title on the title page and ornamental letters are all done by hand. Riverside Press printed the text, while the Photogravure and Color Comoany of New York produced the illustrations. The Arrow Press colored the art via pochoir, which the Sandglass gleefully explains on Page 4. No bindery info this time!

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Slipcase

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Title Page – André Maurois, well-known biographer and writer, steps in to introduce this story. Alfred Allinson was one of France’s official translators, and Macy snatched up his localization to use for his edition. Now, an interesting development occurred with the various issuing of this book via Heritage and Nonesuch. Nick points this out, utilizing my photo to contrast against his Nonesuch copy (which I hope he doesn’t mind my using of it, much like he was concerned about his use of my picture!):

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The interpretation of Oberlé’s artwork is radically different in the two works! The Nonesuch was hand-colored, as Nick points out, compared to the rubber-stamped prints done for the Heritage printing. Fascinating stuff, and it makes me wonder if other books shared between the two printing houses did the same sort of treatment. Kudos again, Nick!

Examples of the Illustrations by Oberlé (right click and open in new tab for full size):

Personal Notes – I bought this from Old Capitol Books in Monterey the first time I visited the rechristened Bookhaven. It’s not the first printing, but I’m happy to have another France tome in my collection. It’s in really good shape.

Sandglass (right click and select Open in New Tab to see full size):

Updated 7/17/2013 by JF

Of Interest: Anatole France’s The Revolt of the Angels and Penguin Island, as published by Dodd, Mead & Co.

July 10, 2013 Comments Off on Of Interest: Anatole France’s The Revolt of the Angels and Penguin Island, as published by Dodd, Mead & Co.

Welcome to the very first non-Macy book post here at the George Macy Imagery. Today’s post will focus on the lovely editions of The Revolt of the Angels and Penguin Island Dodd, Mead and Company put out in the early 1900’s. I’ve ordered a slew of other titles in the line from my local library system for examination, as I do adore these two volumes immensely. What really makes them remarkable is the artwork done by Frank C. Papé; best known perhaps for his work on James Branch Cabell’s works like Jurgen. He didn’t handle all of Dodd, Mead’s France collection, but he probably should of, given how amazing these two are. I’m abandoning the usual format for these special posts, but I’ll inform you on what I do know in the paragraphs.

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Front Binding – Let’s start with Penguin Island. This edition was published in 1926 by William Clowes and Sons, Limited, located in London. A.W. Evans is the translator; the very same as the LEC/HP Cameron and HP Sauvage editions. This series was edited by Frederic Chapman and James Lewis May, featured 31 volumes, and were issued in Great Britain by The Bodley Head. That’s all the production details I can share. The bindings are striking; I’ve seen a couple of the volumes are red cloth over black, but I’ll update this when I get a hold of the library copies of the other works. This one ended up in my hands courtesy of Carpe Diem Rare Books in Monterey for $15. It’s in fairly good shape considering that it’s close to 90 years old!

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Title Page – Here’s Papé’s whimsical artwork on full display. He was a master, no question, and his work is perfectly suited for both this book and Revolt.

Examples from Penguin Island (right click to enlarge):

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Front Binding – Revolt features the translation work of Mrs. Wilfrid Jackson, just like Macy’s LEC/HP edition. This one was issued in 1928, printed by Richard Clay and Sons, Limited, in Bungay, Suffolk. Bernard Miall joined the editorial board by this point. My wife bought me this book for Christmas in 2012, and it’s awesome. I adore both of these works by France, and this one is just…wow. Seriously. The cover has a little bit of discoloration to the gold leaf on the big wing of the sphinx, but otherwise it’s in very good shape.

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Title Page – More good stuff from Papé.

Examples from Revolt of the Angels (right click to enlarge):

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Spines for Both Books

All and all, wonderful printings of a too-little-read author nowadays. If you like France’s work, consider adding these lovely books to your collection. If you haven’t read France, these are both fantastic stories!

Limited Editions Club – The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (1967)

July 5, 2013 Comments Off on Limited Editions Club – The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (1967)

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (1967)
LEC #391/35th Series V. 5 in 1967
Artwork – Illustrations by Colleen Browning
Introduced by R.W. Stallman
LEC #403 of 1500

Click images to see larger views.

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Front Binding – Henry James makes his debut on the blog today, and he has some curiosities in his Heritage portfolio I’d like to address (in a moment). For now, let’s get the production details out of the way:

portrait-annoucement

James was apparently not too high on George Macy’s list of authors; in his lifetime, he only printed The Turn of the Screw in 1949, often considered among the Devotees as the finest of the bunch. Mariette Lydis did a spectacular job with the art on that one; eventually I hope to be able to share it with you. After George Macy passed away, James sort of exploded in printing popularity. The Ambassadors came next in 1963, featuring Leslie Saalburg’s artwork. This was followed by this particular volume in 1967. Daisy Miller proceeded in 1969, starring Gustave Nebel as artist. Last was Washington Square in 1971 with Lawrence Beall Smith’s illustrations. That’s all of the LEC’s, and I believe all of them have Heritage editions. However! The Easton Press oddly resurrected the Heritage Press in the 1990’s to issue two more works of James with the artistic merits of an Alan Phillips; The Europeans and The Bostonians. These can also be found as Easton editions, so I’m not sure why exactly MBI Inc. decided to dust off the Heritage Press label for them.

Colleen Browning has a lengthy bio in the Monthly Letter, but all that verbiage was spent on this sole contribution to the Macy publishing houses. Her pastels work fairly well in the context of a James novel, but I will admit that this particular book is not my favorite set of illustrations. Nice, but not awe-inspiring.

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Spine

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Slipcase

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Title Page – The book continues the title page’s “blue decoration box” motif for its chapter openers. Robert W. Stallman issues the introduction.

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Signature Page – Another #403 for my collection! Browning provides her signature.

Examples of the Illustrations by Browning (right click and open in new tab for full size):

Personal Notes – I picked this up at Old Capitol Books in Monterey, CA last time I visited. It was around $40 or so, but I traded in some stuff to make it technically a freebie. I am pleased to report that, following the change-over from Bookhaven, Old Capitol is doing swimmingly. I wish them the best, and will continue to shop there on my subsequent visits to Monterey.

Monthly Letter (right click and select Open in New Tab to see full size):

Limited Editions Club – The Explorations of Captain James Cook in the Pacific (1957)

July 3, 2013 Comments Off on Limited Editions Club – The Explorations of Captain James Cook in the Pacific (1957)

The Explorations of Captain James Cook in the Pacific (1957)
LEC #279/25th Series V. 12 in 1957
Artwork – Illustrations by Geoffrey C. Ingleton
Edited by A. Grenfell Price
LEC #248 of 1500

Click images to see larger views.

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Front Binding – Ah, I love doing Limited Editions Club posts…especially when the books are mine! Removes the envy aspect of the equation.

Anyway, this is an amazing book, I must say. Issued in 1957, this is a collection of various journals, diaries and narratives from the voyages of Captain James Cook and his crew doing the years 1768-1779. The material is a LEC-approved condensation of the greater work being done on the journals by the Hakluyt Society, which was prepping a four-volume set of Cook’s observations at the time this was published.

However, let’s stop for a moment so I can tell you all about the binding. This is one of the coolest, most culturally-tied boards I’ve stumbled upon in the LEC oeuvre. The book details the elaborate process on Page 295, which I will summarize for you. The cloth is called “tapa”; it is a very, VERY important component of the natives of Tonga. It was made by (at the time) contemporary women of those people for this edition, and it is a very long process to get it to look this nice. It comes from a specific plant only utilized for this purpose; the paper-mulberry tree (or “hiapo” to the Tonga) is the likely candidate for this book’s cloth. To the Tonga, the cloth is called “ngatu” and is often given out as gifts. Right before the purchase of this book I had a class that explained the significance of this cloth to its native population, and found its use here for Cook’s journals (especially since he was the one who brought it to the world at large) incredibly apropos. More on the cloth can be seen here for those curious.

The spine leather is kangaroo, and features Australian Aborginal decorations that symbolizes key aspects about their culture. The front shows the mythic Yarapi, the snake who created many of the rivers and waterways during his travels. Each horseshoe-esque design shows where Yarapi rested, which are still used today as camping and ritual sites. I’ll explain the others when we get to them.

Cook only saw this one release of his work; its illustrator, Geoffrey C. Ingleton, had one more work to his credit beyond this. He was called upon by Cardevon Press to do James Bligh’s A Voyage to the South Seas in 1975, which also reunited him with this book’s designer, Douglas A. Dunstan. This was printed in Australia, and it’s clear Dunstan knew how to best symbolize the ancestral heritage of his country just by the binding. Masterful. Production details follow via announcement letter:

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Back Binding – This side shows the the path of the creator of Australia, who planted waterholes over the deserts of Central to Northern Australia as he moved. The parallel lines reveal his route, and the boomerangs he carried are represented by the crescents. The short transverse lines represent his ribs. Awesome.

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Spine – Last but not least, the spine details the Arakuja’s mythology regarding women who formed the topography of the early world. Each circle served as a camping spot for the women, and is now a large hill, and the parallel lines, which were their path, now are waterways. The creation of all of these designs were originally engraved on oval stone slabs that are the epitome of sacredness to these people; women and uninitiated men are forbidden from seeing them. Like I said above, this book is a wondrous glimpse into the cultural roots of Australia and its neighboring islands.

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Slipcase

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Title Page – A. Grenfell Price is your guide to Cook’s exploits, with further help from the Hakluyt Society. There is no formal introduction to the work; Price provides background and context before every section.

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Signature Page – Ingleton and Dunstan both offer their penmanship here. My copy is #248 of 1500.

Examples of the Illustrations by Ingleton (right click and open in new tab for full size):

Personal Notes – This is LEC #21 for me, which I got for $100 in store credit at Carpe Diem Fine Books in Monterey. Nice shop, nice owners. This is a very special book, one I am happy to be its guardian. It does need to be demusked, though.

Monthly Letter (right click and select Open in New Tab to see full size):

Mine lacked the letter; thanks to the George Macy Devotees for their aid in furnishing one for this post! Speaking of letters, this one includes a four page essay by Price about Cook; see the final four pages for that.

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