Of Interest – Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, as issued by Random House (1943)

August 28, 2013 § 2 Comments

I’m quite pleased to be share what I think is one of the treasures of my non-Macy book collection today: the Random House issuing of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, released in 1943. The star of the show is Fritz Eichenberg, who once again produces masterpieces of wood engraving to grace the texts of Emily and Charlotte Bronte, respectively. Why George Macy never negotiated to release fancy LEC editions of these exquisite renditions is beyond me; I’m still stumped as to why the Bronte sisters never had LEC editions in the various Macy’s tenure (or under Cardevon Press’ eye, for that matter). Sid Shiff would resurrect Balthus’ Wuthering Heights illustrations for his own edition in 1993, giving at least one sister the literary credence she deserved; Chris over at Books & Vines has a thorough post on that edition. Perhaps Macy wasn’t too big on the Brontes. Personally, I’m sad that Anne Bronte tends to be forgotten in these special sets…but that’s neither here nor there.

The Heritage Press did issue these two books with art from Barrett Freedman, but in my humble opinion Freedman is outclassed handily by Eichenberg’s amazing artwork. I’ll try to check out the two HP titles for comparison some time. At any rate, these books were designed by Richard Ellis (who I just rambled about for The Ambassadors), using Monotype Bodoni for the font (with long descenders). Kingsport Press composed the text, and H. Wolff Book Manufacturing Company handled both printing and bindery duties. Eichenberg’s engravings were printed via letter press from electrotypes of the originals. If only all of these non-Macy books were so upfront about their publication details!

Let’s start with Wuthering Heights.

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Front Binding

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Title Page

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

Now let’s spotlight Jane Eyre:

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Front Binding

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Title

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

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Spines of both books; slipcase is green.

I’m being a little less talky on this post due to time; I’ve got a lot of other things to do today, but I think it’s fairly clear that I love these two books and they come highly recommended!

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Heritage Press – She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith (1964)

August 28, 2013 Comments Off on Heritage Press – She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith (1964)

She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith (1964)
Sandglass Number V:34
Artwork: Illustrations and Decorations by T.M. Cleland
Introduced by Louis Kronenberger
Reprint of LEC #358, 32nd Series, V. 8 in 1964

Click images for larger views.

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Front Bindng – It’s the return of Oliver Goldsmith! We last saw the multifaceted author for the Heritage exclusive The Vicar of Wakefield, and this will be the concluding post on his Macy career, as this classic play was the sole LEC offering of Goldsmith’s work (which got a Heritage edition as well, which is what we’re covering at present).

T.M. Cleland also makes another return to the blog, with this as his final commission before his death. He did double duty on this book, both rendering it with illustrations and decorations AND designing the overall look of it. Cleland’s career is delved into in my Monsieur Beaucaire post. It’s unfortunate that I generally dislike the artistic style chosen for this book, an apparent favorite of the LEC during the 60’s. The illustrations are little vignettes of the action being depicted in the text, but the execution of them rubs me the wrong way. I feel the same about Serge Ivanoff’s Tartuffe and the Would-Be Gentleman. There’s something about the overall look that doesn’t delight my imagination. My loss, I suppose.

Anyway, enough of my grumbles. Cleland worked with Bell as the primary font, which was then set by the Thistle Press. Connecticut Printers handled the printing on vellum-finish ivory paper from Monadnock Mill, and the bindery of choice was the old standby Russell-Rutter. Cleland’s art was printed in a unique way; each drawing in the text was done individually by color, so Cleland actually did 115 or so drawings to make up the nineteen illustrations in the book. He also did a splendid title page decoration (as he is aught to do), which is visible below.

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Slipcase

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Title Page – Cleland will always stand as one of the best title page designers in my book; this is yet another stellar example. See Monsieur Beaucaire for another. Louis Kronenberger steps in to introduce this work, which is his apparent third unification with Cleland; the two also collaborated (indirectly) on The History of Tom Jones and The Way of the World.

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

Personal Notes – I picked this up at a little shop in Jamestown, California. The name escapes me at present, but I’ve gotten a couple of good books from this place. I’ll have to write it down next time I visit and update this. I clearly have this work for the text.

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

Heritage Press – The Ambassadors by Henry James (1963)

August 26, 2013 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Ambassadors by Henry James (1963)

The Ambassadors by Henry James (1963)
Sandglass Number I:29
Artwork: Illustrations by Leslie Saalburg
Introduced by James
Reprint of LEC #351, 32nd Series, V. 1 in 1963

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Henry James quickly returns for his second appearance on the blog! Don’t say that I don’t listen to the Devotees! ;)

Anyway, The Ambassadors was the second of his works published by the Limited Editions Club; my prior post on The Portrait of a Lady features his complete Macy bibliography. It’s considered the most autobiographical of his works, and the Sandglass emotes heavily on James’ career for those curious about the American-turned-British author. This is one of those books where the author composed its introduction, as well.

Our artist for The Ambassadors is another of those one-shot illustrators: Leslie Saalburg only contributed this one commission before fading from the George Macy Company and its descendents. His watercolor paintings work well with James, although, much like Colleen Browning of the aforementioned Portrait, the art is not jaw-dropping for me. Perhaps you will disagree!

Design Notes: Richard Ellis designed this book, and he is no newcomer to the Macy canon; the Sandglass notes he did Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Trollope’s Barchester Towers, and a quick review of my blog reveals that he also did Defoe’s Journal of a Plague Year, Untermeyer’s Paul Bunyan, Stendhal’s The Red and the Black, and Trollope’s The Warden. Well, here’s another! Fairfield in a 12-point size is our font, designed by Macy alum Rudolf Ruzicka. Perpetua, another font designed by another Macy artist, Eric Gill, is used for the title page and initial letters. Ellis himself used calligraphic fleurons and cartouches for chapter and part headers. The Garamond Press tackled the text printing, which was the very shop that issued the first LEC way back in 1929, Gulliver’s Travels! Cream-toned paper from Crocker-Burbank took on these fonts and Saalburg’s illustrations, and Russell-Rutter as usual handled the binding job.

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Slipcase

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TItle Page – James himself gives the introduction, borrowed from a Collected Edition issued in 1909. James also cameos in Saalburg’s artwork: four or five of the watercolors feature the author’s visage! I don’t know if the three selections I’ve chosen showcase this, but Page 49’s illustration does indeed include him; he’s the seated chap on the far right. James is literally everywhere here!

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

Personal Notes – This was acquired at Bookhaven for $10. It was my first acquisition of James, of which I now have three. I haven’t read him yet, but I’ve got plenty to pick from whenever I do!

Updated 12/23/2013 by JF

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

Heritage Press – Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain (1974, Connecticut)

August 25, 2013 Comments Off on Heritage Press – Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain (1974, Connecticut)

Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain (1974, Connecticut)
Sandglass Number III:39
Artwork: Illustrations by John Groth
Introduced by Edward Wagenknecht; includes Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar, complete for the first time!
Reprint of LEC #470, 41st Series, V. 12 in 1974

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Mr. Clemens makes his third appearance on the blog today, with his relatively late offering of Pudd’nhead Wilson, issued in 1974 by Cardevon Press in Limited Editions Club and Heritage Press editions, the latter of which I present you with now. Mark Twain’s first title spotlighted by the blog was A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was the second. Yankee features an extensive listing of Twain’s publications, of which this was the very last one issued by the LEC.

As it so happened, it also was the last commission of John Groth for the LEC, who had rendered three prior books: The Stories of O. Henry in 1965, Gone with the Wind in 1968, and All Quiet on the Western Front in 1969. Four notable books there! Groth was a journalist as well as an artist, and I’ve seen a book of his reporting on the Vietnam or Korean War full of his drawings and commentary on the topic.

The Limited Editions Club included a plethora of supplementary material for both editions: an author’s preface, “A Whisper to the Reader”, a note from Twain regarding the evolution of the book from its origins as “Those Extraordinary Twins”, and the Calendar printed in the back (The LEC issued this part separately as its own paperbound volume). The Sandglass claims that this is a first; it includes all of the little tidbits that opened every chapter of Wilson, as well as from a different work that ran with the same idea, Following the Equator.

Roderick Stinehour is the designer for this edition, using 12-point Monotype Bell as the primary font. The Calendar is in 10-point Bell. Chapter heads are in Roman Script, and the Initial Initial is in Ornamental Shaded Initial. Holyoke Lithograph Company handled the printing on Warren Mill paper. Groth’s special cover illustration graces the boards, the spine of which is “leather content and vinyl coated”. Tapley-Rutter bound the book (I presume this is an evolution of Russell-Rutter?).

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Slipcase

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Title Page – Edward Wagenknecht is no stranger to the LEC and their Twain offerings; this is the seventh introduction penned by him!

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

Personal Notes – Memory leaves me on how exactly I came across this book at the moment. I think it came from Second Time Around as a volunteering bonus, but I’m not 100% certain on that. Such is life sometimes; it can leave behind the faintest of fragments of memory. :p I have this more for the work than for the art; Groth’s paintings don’t quite resonate with me, but I do like his linework.

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

Heritage Press – The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter by Ambrose Bierce (1967)

August 19, 2013 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter by Ambrose Bierce (1967)

The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter by Ambrose Bierce (1967)
Sandglass Number VIII:33
Artwork: Illustrations by Michel Ciry
Originally by Richard Voss, translated by Gustav Adolf Danziger and adapted by Bierce; introduced by Maurice Valency
Reprint of LEC #390, 35th Series, V. 4 in 1967

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Ambrose Bierce makes his blog debut today, with the second of three publications of his issued by the George Macy Company and the Cardevon Press. The first was 1942’s Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, which Paul Landacre performed artistic duties. The latter was 1972’s The Devil’s Dictionary, starring Fritz Kredel’s talents. This one is a curious book, as it was not Bierce’s in the first place. The story told here was originally put to the page by German author Richard Voss as Der Mönch von Berchtesgaden. Its English translator, Gustav Adolf Danziger, contracted Bierce to assist him in editing the piece, which he did as a favor for Danziger (Bierce was an ardent supporter of the man’s ambitions; Danziger later wrote an essay about Bierce in the 1920’s). And so, here we are with Bierce’s adaptation of Danziger’s translation of Voss’ story. Whew. Bierce himself had a rather crazy life; I suggest a visit to his Wikipedia page. His curious disappearance in Mexico is the stuff of literary legend. While perusing that page, I noticed a quote from Reader’s Club judge Clinton Fadiman, who was apparently not too big on him: “Bierce was never a great writer. He has painful faults of vulgarity and cheapness of imagination. But… his style, for one thing, will preserve him; and the purity of his misanthropy, too, will help to keep him alive.” Bierce still holds some clout in the literary world, so I suppose Fadiman’s backhanded compliment holds true.

Moving on, Michel Ciry made his sole contribution to the LEC canon with this book. His style has a children’s book feel to me, which may or may not be apropos for the tale within, but I haven’t read it yet. The Sandglass goes into more detail.

Production notes: Glenn Foss and Freeman Craw provided the design. Craw also created the Canterbury font utilized on the title and the paragraph marks littering the text. The text itself is Linotype Janson. Warren Paper Company delivered the paper used for the book, with the Tri-Arts Press seemingly responsible for the printing of that text. Buckram covers the boards, done in a color to match the hangman’s daughter’s blonde locks and in a texture meant to resemble the monk’s worn robes. May explain the somewhat drab look of the binding. No bindery info for you this time, but I suspect Russell-Rutter did it. :p

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Slipcase

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Title Page – Maurice Valency provides some background on this book’s history via Introduction. I do like Ciry’s work, but at times I feel it’s a little plain and, as I mentioned before, possibly too childish. Maybe it’s the bold colors?

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

Personal Notes – A trip to Bookhaven netted this book; I was dawdling between my book choices on this particular visit, and my wife suggested this one as the concluding volume. I knew of Bierce and his rather intriguing history, so I figured why not?

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

Heritage Press – Tales of the Gold Rush by Bret Harte (1944)

August 18, 2013 Comments Off on Heritage Press – Tales of the Gold Rush by Bret Harte (1944)

Tales of the Gold Rush by Bret Harte (1944)
Sandglass Number X:31
Artwork: Illustrations by Fletcher Martin
Introduced by Oscar Lewis
Reprint of LEC #160/15th Series V. 8 in 1944

Click images for a larger view.

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Front Binding – Bret Harte is a bit of a local legend where I live, as his Tales of the Gold Rush revolve around many areas near my home. The George Macy Company apparently enjoyed the tales of Harte, as they published a collection of his stories fairly early in the Limited Editions Club lifespan. This was the sole work of Harte’s issued. For the first Heritage reprint, they replicated a shiny chunk of the namesake metal for the boards, and put the pertinent text on the spine edge, which I think is quite classy. I recently acquired my own copy of the book (originally I had a library copy), so now I can expand on the design notes and update the photos to remove the library stamps and labels.

Fletcher Martin delivered his first of five commissions for the Company here. Next came Nordoff and Hall’s Mutiny on the Bounty in 1947. A significant gap ensued, with Martin returning in 1961 to illustrate Jack London’s The Sea Wolf. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle followed in 1965, and if you can pick up the LEC, Sinclair signed it along with Martin! Last but not least was John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, issued in 1970 in the midst of the transition period into Cardevon Press’ tenure. Martin has a simple but emotive style that I think captures the rugged spirit of the three books I have with his art (this, Of Mice and Men and The Jungle).

Design notes: The name of the designer is curiously absent from the Sandglass. The LEC Letter states that that edition was designed in-house by Macy (thanks, Django6924!), so I will credit Mr. Macy as the Heritage designer as well. This was among the several replacements issued during the 1943-1944 Fifteenth Series, where chaos had thrown asunder many of Macy’s plans for this Series. Originally, The Faerie Queene, illustrated solely by John Austen, and All Men are Brothers, featuring Miguel Covarrubias, were slated for 1944, but both had to be delayed. Austen lived in an area Macy called “Hell’s Corner” at the time, and his original set of engravings were destroyed in one of the German raids. He specifies a “section of England”, which fellow devotee Huxley the Cat posits could be the Channel Islands, the only place the Nazis occupied in the British Isles. At any rate, Austen lost the work to the Germans somehow, and he never got the chance to finish the second attempt, as he passed away before their completion. Agnes Miller Parker stepped in to supplement Austen’s contribution. As for Covarrubias, as noted in the bonus letter I included in my Decameron post, he tended to take his sweet time on his commissions, and had essentially left Macy high and dry on this particular book well past the intended due date. Another setback was the death of Frederic Dorr Steele, noted artist of the Sherlock Holmes franchise. Macy asked Steele to revisit his great work for Doyle’s detective, and was getting on fairly well with forty redone pictures when sickness overwhelmed him, stealing him to the grave on July 7, 1944. Macy blames himself for this, which seems a little severe, but evidently Macy felt that his request may have been too much for Steele’s constitution. With three books (with the latter Holmes planned to be a five volume issuing over two months) missing in action, Macy scrambled to plug the gaps. This particular book was one of the plugs; Wendell L. Willkee’s One World was another (and probably one of the more eclectic choices ever released by the Club! Willkie’s claim to fame was as a politician, and a rather liberal one at that. Here’s his Wikipedia page. Willkee’s book was a travelogue of his time out meeting with Allied heads of state as Rossevelt’s “ambassador-at-large”, and the text also covered his meanderings with various citizens and soldiers in areas like Russia and Iran. Given Macy’s more conservative readership, I imagine that this one may not have been that popular!).

Anyway, back to this work. Waverly is the font of choice, with P.T. Barnum serving as the title font, Colonial for the initials and Bank Script serving as the “script lines”. Monadnock Paper Company supplied the paper, with William “Bill”  Fortney’s Russell-Rutter Company providing their binding services. French “marbled gold paper” covers the boards (mine has some nasty fingerprint problems, alas) with white linen covering the spine, stamped in mud-brown ink for the title, author and illustrator information.

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Slipcase

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Title Page – Martin’s artwork is colored in shades of yellow, brown and white, and work pretty well with the material, if you ask me. Noted Gold Rush historian Oscar Lewis offers an introduction to Harte’s tales.

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

Personal Notes – My good friend Lois gave me this book recently after a visit to Half Price Books in Fremont, CA (quite an appropriate place to snag Harte’s work, if you know your California history!). I’ve read two of his tales, “The Luck of Roaring Camp” and “The Outcasts at Poker Flat”, and enjoyed them, so I’m happy to own this one at last.

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

Updated 12/23/2013 by JF

Of Interest: A Smattering of Non-Macy Books with LEC Illustrators #1

August 12, 2013 Comments Off on Of Interest: A Smattering of Non-Macy Books with LEC Illustrators #1

Hello all! Today I will be sharing five (!) books with you. These are non-Macy editions of several classic works, illustrated by some of the more prominent LEC illustrators. Three will be debuting today: Eric Gill, Boardman Robinson and Edward A. Wilson. The remaining two feature artists I’ve recently covered on the blog, Fritz Eichenberg and William Sharp. These are not my books; my good friend Lois was kind enough to let me borrow them to photograph them. Unfortunately, most of these are reprints of Random House or Doubleday editions, so I do not have designer info for them. With that in mind, I’ll be quickly summarizing their attributes, offering a brief opinion, and providing images for them. With that, let’s begin!

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg, translated by Constance Garnett, published by Garden City Publishing Co. in 1948 from the 1944 Doubleday edition.

Eichenberg does not utilize the engraver’s tools for this commission; instead, he goes with his linework, and it’s a good match. I do greatly prefer his wood and stone cuts, but I think his penmanship is also pretty spectacular. Compare this to Freedman’s LEC/Heritage take.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, illustrated by William Sharp, published by Garden City Publishing Co. in 1948 from the 1944 Doubleday edition.

Sharp takes on Collins’ famous novel with a combination of his styles used for the Macy editions of Tales of Mystery and Imagination and the biographical works of Rousseau and Pepys here. There are full page illustrations that remind me of the Poe commission, as well as many supplementary in-text drawings a la the biographies. There’s some astounding stuff in here, I must say. I haven’t seen Dignimont’s spin for the LEC, but I have covered his work for The Wanderer.

Favorite Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, illustrated by Edward A. Wilson, introduced by Henry Seidel Canby, published by Doubleday in 1947

This may be some of Wilson’s best work I’ve personally seen. Of course, I’ve yet to share any of his Macy contributions with you, but I plan on remedying that when I get the time. Excellent printing, too! Wilson did too many LEC and Heritage books to list here, but I’ll include three that I own for reference; Treasure Island, Westward Ho! and A Journey to the Center of the Earth. The LEC edition was illustrated by Boyd Hanna.

Troilus and Cressida by Geoffrey Chaucer, illustrated by Eric Gill, translated by George Philip Krapp, printed by the Literary Guild in 1932 from the 1932 Random House edition.

Gill does a rather fine job here if you ask me. His woodcuts evoke the essence of the work of Chaucer quite well, and they embellish every page. There’s a few full-size pieces, too. I’d like to see the Random House issuing! Gill did the original LEC Hamlet and A Sentimental Journey of France and Italy. The LEC Troilus lacks conventional illustration, but is decorated by George W. Jones.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, illustrated by Boardman Robinson, translated by Constance Garnett, published by Halcyon House in 1940 from the 1933 Random House edition.

I must admit that Robinson does not do much for me. His style clashes with my personal tastes. I’ve seen his LEC commission for Spoon River Anthology (a tragic copy that was overpriced for its shoddy condition, despite author Edgar Lee Masters contributing his signature) and despite being a big fan of the work, his art doesn’t really mesh with me. He also did the LEC Moby Dick. Contrast this to the two Macy editions of Karamazov.

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