The Year in Review: 2015

December 31, 2015 Comments Off on The Year in Review: 2015

Hello everyone,

Sherlock Holmes took a little longer than anticipated to prepare, so it won’t be going up until tomorrow, I’m afraid. In the meantime, for those curious about how the blog performed this year, WordPress has supplied me with its annual report, and you can peruse it at your leisure here.

Happy New Year, readers!

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Heritage Press – Dangerous Acquaintances by Choderlos de Laclos (1940)

December 27, 2015 Comments Off on Heritage Press – Dangerous Acquaintances by Choderlos de Laclos (1940)

Dangerous Acquaintances by Choderlos de Laclos (1940)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Chas Laborde
Introduced by Andre Gide, translated by Ernest Dowson
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 – Dangerous Acquaintances is our selection today, continuing our look into the Heritage/Nonesuch Great French Romances series. This book was the progenitor of the line, being the first issued back in 1940. For a more detailed look into the series,  see here. This edition, like yesterday’s post on The Princess of Cleves, is from the Nonesuch Press. Alas, this is also not my copy, and it too lacks a Sandglass or whatever Nonesuch may have issued, so I won’t go into production details here. Like Cleves, this volume’s a Heritage exclusive. The Limited Editions Club never printed this book (or anything else by Choderlos De Laclos), and they did not rehire illustrator Chas Laborde for any other commissions.

Dangerous Acquaintances is structured like a series of letters sent between the primary cast, and is very critical of the French Aristocracy, particularly the Ancien Regime. Published in 1782, it has gone on to become one of the premiere examples of the epistolary novel in any language, but its intent continues to be debated to this very day (De Laclos never specified his reasoning for writing the piece in his lifetime).

Chas Laborde did the artwork for this edition, and his hand seems apropos for the novel. As I mentioned before, he was not called upon again by Macy.

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Title Page – “Englished” by Ernest Dowson (a strange way of putting it), and introduced by fairly renowned French writer Andre Gide.

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

Personal Notes – Like Cleves, this is a work I’d like to read sometime, but this copy is not mine; it’s from my wife’s university library.

Heritage Press – The Princess of Cleves by Madame de La Fayette (1943)

December 26, 2015 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Princess of Cleves by Madame de La Fayette (1943)

The Princess of Cleves by Madame de La Fayette (1943)
Sandglass Number 8F
Artwork: Illustrations by Hermane David
Introduced by Jean Cocteau, translated by H. Ashton
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 – At long last, here’s the second volume from the Heritage Press and Nonesuch Press’ collaborative efforts to reprint several French romances — The Princess of Cleves by Madame de La Fayette. Unlike the last volume I featured, The Gods are A-Thirst (where the series history is further detailed, and for those seeking a very thorough breakdown of this series, see here), this edition is from the Nonesuch Press. I recently purchased a Nonesuch volume for myself (the same as the copy I borrowed to make this post) that came with a plethora of documentation including a two-page Sandglass, so I can now discuss the production details. As the other nine volumes in this series, this was designed by Francis Maynell, owner of the Nonesuch Press and close friend to George Macy. He chose Cochin as the primary font, with Le Fourneir as the headlines. Curtis Paper Company supplied the paper, which was printed on by the Printing House of Leo Hart. Frank Fortney of Russell-Rutter, the everpresent bindery, did the duties for this volume.

This volume is a Heritage exclusive, unlike some later editions issued under this banner. The Limited Editions Club never printed Cleves, nor did they feature its illustrator, Hermine David, in any other publications. The book is one of France’s most prominent works from a woman; de La Fayette (or her full name, Marie-Madeleine Pioche de La Vergne, comtesse de La Fayette) is considered one of the progenitors of the French novel (this work stands as the first historical fiction in French and is an early attempt at psychological fiction). It was issued anonymously back in 1678 — a unfortunately common happenstance for women who wished to branch out beyond domesticity in those heady times — but de La Fayette eventually was attached to the work and has since been credited for her efforts in launching French literature as we know it today. This series has done well to include such a critical work in its canon!

As for Hermine David, she was a member of the Ecole de Paris, a group of immigrants in France that all happened to be artists. This was the sole commission she received by the George Macy Company. Her illustrations were reproduced by the Photogravure and Coloring Company, with the colors handpainted by the studio of Charlize Brakely.

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Title Page – An H. Ashton translated the book, while then-modern French writer Jean Cocteau introduces the work.

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

Personal Notes – Originally I checked this out from my ex wife’s university library, but I bought my own copy from the local Goodwill for the cheap price of $2.99!

Sandglass and other Documents (right click to open full size):

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Updated on 11/12/16

Heritage Press – The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling (1968)

December 23, 2015 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling (1968)

The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling (1968)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by David Gentleman
Introduction by Bonamy Dobree
Reprint of LEC #403, 36th Series, V. 5 in 1968.

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – This post marks the debut of two new faces to our blog: the author Rudyard Kipling and the artist David Gentleman. The former is best known perhaps for this particular work, thanks to the likes of Walt Disney and his animators, but in the literary world he is also well regarded for Kim, Captains Courageous and his wide array of poetry. He was a late bloomer at the LEC, making his first appearance in 1962 with an edition of Kim, illustrated by Robin Jacques (who also did the lovely Poems of W.B. Yates), while this was followed up in 1973 by Tales of East and West, featuring Charles Raymond (who also illustrated Hard Times). I find it a little odd, given the proclivity of seafaring adventures printed in the Helen Macy tenure through Cardevon Press’ run with the LEC, that Captains Courageous was not printed, but that’s neither here nor there.

David Gentleman is also a late comer to the LEC canon, beginning his commissions with The Swiss Family Robinson in 1963. Next came The Poems of John Keats in 1966, followed by this book in 1968, and his last The Ballads of Robin Hood in 1977. I must admit that generally speaking I do not like his colored illustrations in Robinson and in this book; I think the Heritage Press’ tendency in the years following George Macy’s death to haphazardly color their printings of illustrations in two to three base colors worked against Gentleman’s style. His linework is a little too detailed for that kind of production. That being said, I do like the black and white ink drawings quite a bit.

Somehow, I just now realized I didn’t get a Sandglass with this, so I can’t go into any further detail about its production.

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Slipcase

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Title Page – I quite like this title page. Very in tune with the book. Bonamy Dobree did the introduction.

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

Personal Notes – I believe this came from Bookbuyers in Monterey, CA. I likely swapped for it with a plethora of my older titles. Look forward to reading it someday.

Heritage Press – The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor (1949)

December 23, 2015 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor (1949)

The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor (1949)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Edward A. Wilson
Introduction by C.S. Forester; Translated by J.C. Mardrus (Arabic to French) and E. Powys Mathers (French to English)
Reprint of LEC #198, 19th Series, V. 2 in 1949.

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Today’s book is The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor, a collection of the folktales of the titular protagonist. These tales hail from the Middle East, featuring the supernatural and the sensational. No single author is credited with these stories, but they have been around for a very long time, and it’s nice to see them in such a nice edition.

Edward A. Wilson, a frequent artistic contributor, stepped in to provide his touch to this book, and he’s a really good fit, I’d say. I like Wilson’s work in the more fantastical realm; it works well with his bold color palette and his gentle linework. His LEC/Heritage bibliography can be found here.

I can’t go into thorough design notes, as I have no Sandglass. Sorry!

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Title Page – C.S. Forester, author of the Horatio Hornblower series of novels, provides the introduction. Two translators reworked the text for this edition: J.C. Mardrus, who converted the original Arabic texts into French, and E. Powys Mathers, who took Mardrus’ French and worked it into modern English.

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

Personal Notes – This was checked out from my wife’s university library. First time I’ve seen it, and now I want it!

Heritage Press – The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci by Dmitri Merejcovski (1938)

December 22, 2015 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci by Dmitri Merejcovski (1938)

The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci by Dmitri Merejcovski (1938)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings and paintings, selected and arranged by J.B. Neumann
Translated and Foreword by Bernard Guilbert Guerney
Heritage Press Exclusive: This is the second in the Heritage Club’s Great Master Novels series (that designation is mine) illustrated by the original artists that the novel is based upon.

Click images to see larger versions.

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Front Binding – After five years of running this blog, we finally have the third entry in the Great Masters novel series of the Heritage Press: The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci, by Dmitri Merejcovski. This was the second of the series, preceded by Irving Stone’s Van Gogh novel Lust for Life, and was followed up by R.v.R. and This is the Hour, the latter two I’ve covered before. Some day, Lust for Life, some day. Anyway, much like those other novels, J.B. Neumann curated the artistic selections for the book, although I don’t have a Sandglass for this one, so I can’t go into any further detail. I can tell you that the font is Scotch Roman and the paper was specially made for the book thanks to a small colophon in the back, but that’s about it.

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Title Page – Bernard Guilbert Guerney translated the Russian Merejcofski’s text into English, and even provided a foreword on the work. da Vinci’s art litters the text, with some color prints alongside many grayscale prints and several of his drawings.

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Example of the text – I apologize for the obvious photo manipulation, but the lighting wasn’t up to snuff on the da Vinci piece.

Personal Notes – This series is the one set of Exclusives I no longer wish to own, but I’m happy to finally get the third book onto the blog at last. Came from my wife’s university library.

Heritage Press – Gargantua and Pentagruel by Francois Rabelais (1942)

December 20, 2015 § 1 Comment

Gargantua and Pentagruel by Francois Rabelais (1942)
Sandglass Number 10M
Artwork: Illustrations by Lynd Ward
Translation and Introduction by Jacques LeClercq
Heritage Press Exclusive; the LEC printed their own LEC, #82, in the 7th Series, V. 12, in 1936 with a five-volume set featuring the talents of W.A. Dwiggins.

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Our weekend of Ward marches on with this delightful Heritage exclusive edition of Francois Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel, an early French comedic romp filled with fantasy and humor. Despite being printed in the middle of World War II (of which I could compile a post of mishaps and tragedies that beset the George Macy Company’s efforts…perhaps next year?), Macy managed to produce this lovely 800 page volume packed to the gills with 100 drawings from Mr. Ward, a mammoth undertaking for both press and artist! Rabelais, a monk and practitioner of medicine in his time, is best known for this work, and it’s a defining classic of French literature. This work was also issued as a LEC earlier in 1936, starring W.A. Dwiggins in a five volume set.

Ward, as mentioned yesterday, has his bibliography here. And I won’t mince any further words about him here, as I’ve probably gushed plenty about his talents elsewhere on the blog; just know that he did 100 line drawings interspersed in Rabelais’ text.

Design Notes – The designer is not mentioned; we do know that LeClercq’s translation comes from the LEC, so it’s possible that Macy borrowed the textual design of that work for this reissuing (W.A. Dwiggins designed the LEC). However, Electra was Dwiggins’ font of choice; here, Scotch is used. So I’m not sure who exactly to credit on this one.

The text was composed by Quinn and Boden and put to the page by Ferris Printing Company. The binding is a little strange — the Sandglass observes that a blue stamped design was intended for the book’s tan linen, but as you can see, that didn’t happen with my book (only on the spine). Perhaps World War II once again undermined Macy’s intentions? And that’s as deep as the Sandglass goes into production notes here.

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Spine/Slipcase

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Title Page – LeClercq serves as an Introductory voice to the text as well as its translator.

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

Personal History – This is my first purchase of a Heritage/LEC title since I moved! Huzzah! Purchased at the Bookstore in Chico. Eager to read!

Sandglass forthcoming.

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