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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