November 14, 2014 Comments Off on Heritage Press: Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes (1951)
Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes (1951)
Sandglass Number VI:16
Artwork: Illustrations by Edy Legrand
Translated by John Ormsby, Introduced by Irwin Edman
Reprint of LEC #209, 20th Series, V. 1, in 1951 in 2 volumes.
Click images for larger views.
Front Binding – The Spanish classic to end all of their classics, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s Don Quixote, is today’s subject. The Limited Editions Club seemingly liked this work more than many others, as this is the second time the Club dipped into that well. The first, LEC exclusive issuing came out early on in the LEC lifespan, 1933. This edition was illustrated by Enric-Cristobal Ricart, and was distributed in two volumes. In 1945, long time George Macy Comapny alum Edy Legrand (see The Nibelungenlied for his complete Macy bibliography) expressed his interest in illustrating a second Don Quixote to Macy. Macy relates in the Sandglass that Legrand, although a Frenchman of birth, had adopted Spain as his second nationality, and wished to challenge himself at the proposition of rendering the greatest Spanish literary work. After reviewing some early sketches, Macy agreed, and Legrand went to work, creating 200 individual illustrations as a first draft; his final submission was 48 full page pen/dry brush drawings, five years later. The LEC published their edition in 2 volumes in 1951, which featured colored versions of the art seen here. Cervantes did not receive any other LEC or Heritage offerings.
The year is unstated here, but GMD member featherwate passed along this info about its publication:
Jerry, it was the selection for November 1951, coming between The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche illustrated by Edmund Dulac and Gray’s Elegy (Agnes Miller Parker). In fact, illustrator-wise this was one heckuva series (Series 16 June 1951 to May 1952). As well as Dulac and AMP it included among others Fritz Eichenberg (Crime & Punishment and the Olivier Henry V*), Hugo Steiner-Prag (Tales of Hoffman), Valenti Angelo (Sonnets from the Portuguese) and Edward A. Wilson (Jekyll and Hyde) – quite an array!
As for George Macy saying he read the Rabelais 25 years before, I guess he was just rounding up to a neat figure. As he does in the Quixote Sandglass where he refers to it as a book of “nearly eight hundred pages”. I think it’s actually 682!
Never mind the length – it’s the quality that matters!
Design Notes – The exact designer of this edition is not stated in the Sandglass. The LEC Monthly Letter for this edition, however, illuminates the likely designer to be Victor Oliva, printer of the original 1933 LEC edition of Quixote. Why do I posit that? Well, Macy says that this book features the “self-same text” from the 1933 edition. Spain was apparently not an option for this edition, which is a bit of a shame (the 1933 edition was, FYI), but Macy felt Mexico was a solid alternative. The text selection was Bodoni, decorated with custom initials. This was originally set and printed at the Imprenta Nuevo Mundo for the LEC issuing, and the Heritage copyright page states that it was done there as well. Legrand’s artwork was reproduced by Paris’ Georges Duval, who then sent the prints to the Meriden Gravure Company for the Heritage run. The binding is also an international affair — bright yellow cloth from England, marbled papers for the boards from France. The bindery is absent here, alas, but the LEC was done by the standards at Russell-Rutter; it’s safe to suppose they had their hands in this edition, too.
Slipcase – The paper for this slipcase from Italy.
Title Page – Irwin Edman wrote up a short introduction, with John Ormsby serving as both translator and preface writer. He did his translation in 1885, but the Club felt his was the most scholarly choice for their readers. There’s quite a bit of talk about Samuel Putnam in the Sandglass, whose translation of Quixote was just released (and its publishers urged Macy to consider it for his second LEC edition!), but the ultimate decision was to pass on it due to an earlier transaction with Putnam. In 1928, Macy acquired a three volume work of Rabelais that Putnam translated, and found that the work did not hold up a decade later. Thus, the decision to go with Ormsby. Victor Oliva contributed additional notes.
Examples of the Illustrations by Legrand (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Personal Notes – I’ve spent YEARS looking for a good copy of Quixote. I’ve not had the greatest luck, as the two copies I saw before this one were in horrendous condition and curiously overpriced. Luckily, I came across this one last year in Dublin, CA at Half Price Books, which was complete and in very good condition save a prior owner’s nom de plume on the front endpaper. The price was right at about $10, too, so I snagged it and am happy to finally have my own copy! I’ll have to read it some day!
* = featherwate made a slight error here; Fritz Kredel was the illustrator of Henry V, not Fritz Eichenberg. It happens!
Sandglass (right click and select Open in New Tab to see full size):
May 15, 2014 Comments Off on Of Interest: The History of the Heritage “Great French Romances” series
My good friend Django6924 has written up a splendid little history on one of George Macy’s many attempts to create something unique with the Heritage Press: the “Great French Romances” series. I originally had this in my Gods Are A-Thrist post, but it really should be its own thing.This is mostly unedited (beyond one transition snip, the addition of the authors/artists of the original series, a appendix of the final series in chronological order, a few typo fixes, and my italicizing the book titles) from his original posts. So, without further adieu, I’ll let him take over (the original posting can be found here). Major thanks to Django for letting me host this excellent summary!
In 1938, Francis Meynell of the Nonesuch Press in England, of which George Macy became Managing Director in 1936, joined with a committee of French writers, who were chaired by Andre Maurois, to produce a series, “The Ten Great French Romances,” for Nonesuch. These would have a distinctive typographic plan and binding, designed by Meynell, and would illustrated by the “best French book illustrators,” as chosen by the committee. The books were, in order of planned publication:
Dangerous Acquaintances by Choderlos De Laclos/Chas Laborde
Candide by Voltaire/Sylvain Sauvage
The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal/Demetrios Galanis
Manon Lescaut by the Abbé Prévost D’Exiles/Andre Dignimont
The Princess of Cleves by Madame de Lafayette/Hermine David
A Woman’s Life by Guy de Maupassant/Edy Legrand
Germinal by Emile Zola/Berthold Mahn
Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert/Pierre Brissaud
Old Goriot by Honore de Balzac/René ben Sussan
The Gods are A-thirst by Anatole France/Jean Oberlé
The typographic moulds were made in England, then sent to France for printing at the Inprimerie Protat Freres in Macon (home, incidentally, of an excellent burgundy), as the French had superior quality rag paper. The illustrations were first printed at Georges Duval in Paris by the collotype process, then hand-colored through the pochoir process by the studio of Beaufumé, also in Paris. It is not said where the characteristic binding of fleurs-de-lys patterned linen boards and buckram spine binding was done, but it was in France as well.
Between planning of the series, and the completion of the first two volumes, World War Two had begun. This not only complicated the production, but made it necessary to change plans. Since by this time it was obvious that more of the books would be sold through Heritage in the US, it was decided that all printing should henceforth take place in the US (again, remember that by this time George Macy was really running Nonesuch), though Meynell would continue to design the books in England. A quote from the Sandglass accompanying Dangerous Acquaintances and Candide gives an interesting insight into those nerve-wracking days:
“Transportation to England is difficult enough, transportation to America is far more difficult. Shipped in merchant vessels under convoy, the books have taken weeks to cross the ocean, weeks during which we at the Nonesuch Fellowship have often thought that they must surely be at the bottom of the ocean.”
The above was written in April 1940. In the same Sandglass, the outline for the series of Ten Great French Romances was given. Some interesting statements were:
“The binding of The Charterhouse of Parma will be green (mine is, in fact olive-green), the binding for The Gods are A-thirst will be yellow (mine and every copy I’ve seen is a more appropriate red), and each succeeding volume will be in a unique color.” (The ones I have seem to indicate that the “10 different colors” scheme was abandoned–also, Balzac’s Eugenie Grandet was published later with a green buckram spine and the green patterned fleurs-de-lys boards in the design established by Meynell).
“…Galanis has already finished his illustrations for The Charterhouse of Parma, Dignimont has finished his illustrations for Manon Lescaut, Hermine David has finished her illustrations for The Princess of Cleves, Mahn has finished his illustrations for Germinal, Legrand has finished his illustrations for A Woman’s Life, Brissaud is nearing completion of his illustrations for Madame Bovary, and Oberlé is nearing completion for his illustrations for The Gods are A-thirst.” (Not mentioned was the status of the remaining illustrations, those for Old Goriot by René ben Sussan.)
As a famous Frenchman once said, “the best laid schemes o’ mice and men, gang aft agley.” A letter To The Members OF THE HERITAGE CLUB dated April 10 announces that it will be “necessary for us to send both Dangerous Acquaintances and Candide to you in the same package”, in May, rather than in April and May successively. This was necessary because the head of the atelier doing the hand-coloring, M. Beaufumé, was suddenly called into the army and that it was then up to his wife and daughters to finish his work as well as their own.
The next book of the series, distributed in July, 1942 was entirely printed and bound in the US, The Gods Are A-thirst, for which Jean Oberlé did the illustrations and took them to London just ahead of the Occupation of Paris. The hand-coloring was done by Macy’s favorite pochoirist in the US at that time, Charlize Brakely.
The next book, A Woman’s Life, sent to subscribers in September, 1942, was again was done entirely in the US and again enlisted the services of Ms. Brakely. The illustrations were done by Edy Legrand, a Macy favorite who would later do the 2nd LEC Don Quixote, but who in 1942 had fled Paris for Fez in French Morocco. (Interestingly, the LEC would issue A Woman’s Life in 1952 with the same typographic plan, this time using the studio of Walter Fischer to do the pochoir hand coloring, one of the few times when an LEC in essence reissued the same book originally published by the Heritage Press using the same illustrations.)
In November of the same year, Heritage issued Germinal with b&w illustrations by Berthold Mahn, reproduced by photogravure. Frank Fortney at Russell-Rutter bound them in the fleurs-de-lys/buckram binding which matched the first two (and I assume the 3rd and 4th books, but although my copy of The Gods are A-thirst follows this design [albeit in red rather than the planned yellow], as does my Heritage copy of A Woman’s Life, I’m not sure my copies are the first Heritage editions). Things are getting a little strange by this time as the Sandglass for Germinal lists the Ten Great French Romances again, and lo, Manon Lescaut has dropped off the list and has been replaced by Gautier’s Mademoiselle de Maupin! No explanation for this is given, but the obvious one is — the Heritage Press had already issued Manon Lescaut with a pigskin leather spine and marbled paper boards back in 1935 with illustrations by Brissaud (and with an original lithograph signed by Brissaud in the 1500 copies that were first offered to members of the LEC as a “collector’s item” when the Heritage Press was launched). And what of Dignimont’s “finished” illustrations for Manon as announced back in 1940? Never used anywhere, apparently, and perhaps destroyed during the war. One would love to see them, especially in light of the illustrations I saw once which Dignimont made for Pierre Louys’ Petites Scenes Amoureuses–which border on the pornographic, but in a most beautiful and Frenchified way. (Dignimont later did The Wanderer and The Moonstone for the LEC and Heritage Press.)
In January of 1943, Madame de Lafayette’s wonderful The Princess of Cleves is issued. Meynell planned the design and printed his specimen pages at the Fanfare Press before war broke out. The book features many beautiful illustrations by Hermine David, who after completing the illustrations in Paris just before the Occupation, “disappeared into a convent,” according to an earlier Sandglass. (She didn’t take orders, this was more of a retreat to a Benedictine abbey in Dourgne, near the southern French city of Toulouse, to where she returned many times until her death in 1970, seeking inspiration while doing her illustrations which became increasingly ones with religious subject matter.) The Princess of Cleves was letterpress-printed in New York at the printing house of Leo Hart, and once more the delicate hand-coloring was done at Charlize Brakely’s studio. The series binding of buckram and fleurs-de-lys was utilized. My copy is a light brown, and as far as I know this was the only printing of this particular work by Heritage or Nonesuch (and no LEC edition) until the Norwalk, CT incarnation of the Heritage Press issued it in 1970–not utilizing the series binding.
It is not until February, 1944 that the next Great Romance appears and it is, in fact, Theophile Gautier’s Mademoiselle de Maupin. (Parenthetically, I have to say I can’t understand its omission from the original list as it is a much more compelling novel than Manon Lescaut.) By now the original plan announced in 1938 is really having difficulties–mostly due to the war. Mademoiselle de Maupin is not designed by Francis Meynell (who was probably spending a fair amount of time in 1942-1943 dodging into air raid shelters) but by American George Salter (who was born a German and whose design for the cover of Berlin Alexanderplatz in 1929 was a revelation in its time). The illustrations–and racy ones they are!–were by Andre Dugo, a French expatriate living in New York. The binding utilized the same pattern as the previous books, this time blue buckram and cream and blue fleurs-de-lys boards.
In September, 1949, Old Goriot, is finally published with René ben Sussan’s illustrations. The title page has The Heritage Press, New York & The Nonesuch Press, London, though the obverse side simply says “Printed in the United States of America.” There is no date of publication–an anomaly in the series. The Sandglass says M. ben Sussan “had a bad time, an altogether bad time” during the war, spending his time dodging the Nazis. His remarkable illustrations were reproduced from his B&W brush drawings via gravure, then the colors were applied, not by pochoir, but by hand cut rubber plates, one for each color. The rubber plates were done by Herbert Rau. Are they as good as hand-colored using stencils? I don’t know, but they are truly wonderful and match any of the hand-colored ones in the series. The series binding is used (only “Nonesuch” appears on the red buckram spine–not “Heritage”).
It isn’t until February, 1951 that Madame Bovary appears. I foolishly gave away my Heritage/Nonesuch edition when I acquired the LEC version which came out in April, 1950, so the information which follows comes from the LEC Monthly Letter. As you remember, Pierre Brissaud had elected to do Bovary and was “nearing completion” when the series was announced in 1940. The Monthly Letter continues:
“But by the time M. Brissaud finished his illustrations, the Nazis had marched into Paris and the Nonesuch Press had lost contact, with M. Brissaud on the one hand, and with us on the other. It was to us, at the headquarters of the Limited Editions Club in New York, that the Brissaud illustrations for Madame Bovary found their way; and it was we who, immediately after the war was over, found ourselves in Paris with those illustrations under our arm and the mission to have those illustrations reproduced in Paris, not for the Limited Editions Club, but for the Nonesuch Press.”
The Monthly Letter then goes on to say that discovering that the atelier of Théo Schmied had reopened in Paris, and M. Schmied had indicated his interest in printing the Brissaud illustrations through multiple wood engravings, that it was decided Bovary with the Brissaud illustrations reproduced through multiple wood engravings in color would be issued first as an LEC book, and it was. This was despite the fact that Madame Bovary had been previously issued by the LEC in 1938, with illustrations by Gunther Boehmer (I’ve never seen a copy of this edition). The Monthly Letter then adds a reassuring note:
“Now once this edition…is distributed to members of this Club, it will be followed by an unlimited edition (in which the illustrations will be reproduced in monochrome) to be included in that series called The Ten Great French Romances, for distribution by the Nonesuch Press in London, and for the Nonesuch Press, by the Heritage Club in New York.”
Meynell’s typographic plan was used for the LEC editon, and of course, for the unlimited edition, which, if memory serves me, had “Heritage” on the bright green buckram spine, with green fleurs-de-lys patterned boards, which indicates it was a later printing as the 1950 edition had “Nonesuch” on the spine, which was lavender. As I remember, my Heritage edition had the illustrations reproduced in color–not monochrome.
Stendahl’s The Charterhouse of Parma brought the series to a close in 1955. The series binding features “Heritage” on the olive-green buckram spine, and the title page doesn’t mention Nonesuch. The designer of the typographic plan isn’t specified in the Sandglass, though it looks very much like Meynell’s other designs. The illustrations are not by Galanis, but by Rafaello Busoni, who had won an international competition sponsored by the LEC in 1945 and on the basis of that had already illustrated Stendahl’s other novel The Red and the Black for the LEC. What happened to Galanis’ illustrations, which were already finished back in 1940? I haven’t found any evidence in my readings, but remembering that Galanis had been commissioned by the LEC before to illustrate Oedipus the King, and that those illustrations had come a cropper during the Occupation, it’s possible an identical fate befell the Stendahl illusrations. (If you are unfamiliar with the Galanis/Sophocles story, here is a link to WildcatJF’s excellent summary.
The Busoni illustrations are two-color lithographs and are actual lithographic prints. The type pages were composed by Leo Hart and printed by the Riverside Press. The binding was done by Frank Fortney.
The Herculean labor of completing this series must have been a relief to Macy, and probably a source of pride. These books are really wonderful and the best of them fully the equivalent of some of today’s limited fine press books.
The final list, then, is as follows:
Candide by Voltaire/Sylvain Sauvage (1939, Heritage exclusive)
Dangerous Acquaintances by Choderlos De Laclos/Chas Laborde (1940, Heritage exclusive)
The Gods are A-Thirst by Anatole France/Jean Oberlé (1942, Heritage exclusive)
A Woman’s Life by Guy de Maupassant/Edy Legrand (1942 Heritage printing, 1952 LEC edition available)
Germinal by Emile Zola/Berthold Mahn (1942, Heritage exclusive)
The Princess of Cleves by Madame de Lafayette/Hermine David (1943, Heritage exclusive)
Mademoiselle de Maupin by Theodore Gautier/Andre Dugo (1943, 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)
The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal/Rafaello Busoni (1955, LEC edition available)
It’s recently been brought up that the Heritage Press issued a second Honore de Balzac work under the same design auspices of this series despite originally not being included on the list. Django6924 once again is the source of the below info:
Unlike the other books in the series, Eugenie Grandet was not on the original pre-WWII slate of Ten Great French Romances (the Balzac representative being Old Goriot under Meynell’s master plan). Now this plan changed early on, but Eugenie was never one of the group, and the HP edition is, in this case, a reprint of the LEC (also designed by Meynell). I suppose that in the post-George Macy period, it was felt that putting the HP reprint in the same series binding would encourage those who had some or all of the others to want to extend the collection, as you mentioned.
The HP Eugenie is a fine addition to the series, although it doesn’t feature any hand-colored illustrations like the original group; to the best of my memory, the colors applied via hand-cut rubber plates were excellent. I prefer the fleur-de-lys binding of the HP to the LEC’s khaki-colored buckram with black-leather labels made to resemble some sort of medieval-esque binding hinges. The true superiority of the LEC is in the paper, a thick, rich paper that must be 100% rag; I say “must be” because the Monthly Letter doesn’t mention a word about the paper.
Thanks once again!
April 29, 2012 Comments Off on Of Interest – The Illustrators of the LEC Shakespeare
While I’ve yet to cover most of the exquisite LEC Shakespeares, I’ve had a devil of a time trying to find a complete list of the illustrators for the 39 volume set. Well, I’m happy to present to you that very coveted list, in a typed form, so that it’ll be available to LEC collectors looking for books from their favorite illustrators. All of the books were designed by Bruce Rogers.
All’s Well that Ends Well – Drawings by Richard Floethe, printed in color by A. Colish
Antony and Cleopatra – Wood engravings by Enric-Cristobal Ricart, pulled by R.& R. Clark and hand-colored by Jean Saude
As You Like It – Watercolors by Sylvain Sauvage, hand-colored by Mourlot Freres
The Comedy of Errors – Wood engravings by John Austen, pulled and printed in 5 colors by R.& R. Clark
Coriolanus – Tempura paintings by C. Pal Molnar, lithographed in 15 colors by Mourlot Freres
Cymbeline – Lithographs by Yngve Berg, pulled by the Curwen Press
Hamlet – Dry-brush drawings by Edy Legrand, printed in collotype/black/gray by Georges Duval
Henry the Fourth Part I – Color lithographs by Barnett Freedman, pulled by the Curwen Press
Henry the Fourth Part II – Watercolors by Edward Bawden, hand-colored by Jean Saude and printed in collotype by Georges Duval
Henry the Fifth – Pencil drawings by Vera Willoughby, lithographed by Mourlot Freres
Henry the Sixth Part I – Lithographs by Graham Sutherland, pulled by the Curwen Press
Henry the Sixth Part II – Lithographs by Carlotta Petrina, pulled by George C. Miller
Henry the Sixth Part III – Colored line drawings by Jean Charlot, printed in 3 colors by A. Colish
Henry the Eighth – Wood engravings by Eric Gill, pulled by A. Colish
Julius Caesar – Wood engravings by Frans Masereel, pulled by A. Colish
King John – Line drawings in three colors plus gold by Valenti Angelo, printed by A. Colish
King Lear – Brush drawings by Boardman Robinson, printed in collotype in black/2 grays by Georges Duval
Love’s Labour Lost – Crayon and wash drawings by Mariette Lydis, printed in collotype in black/gray by Georges Duval
Macbeth – Color drawings by Gordon Craig, lithographed by Mourlot Freres
Measure for Measure – Color lithographs by Hugo Steiner-Prag, pulled by Mourlot Freres
The Merchant of Venice – Watercolors by Rene ben Sussan, printed by both Mourlot Freres and Georges Duval, hand-colored by Maurice Beaufume
The Merry Wives of Windsor – Color drawings by Gordon Ross, printed in collotype in black and sanguine by Georges Duval, then hand-colored (does not state by whom…Ross, maybe?)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Watercolors by Arthur Rackham, lithographed in 4 colors by Mourlot Freres, hand-colored by Maurice Beaufume
Much Ado About Nothing – Watercolors by Fritz Kredel, printed in collotype by Georges Duval and hand-colored by Jean Saude
Othello – Wood engravings by Robert Gibbings, pulled by A. Colish
Pericles, Prince of Tyre – Wood engravings by Stanislas Ostoja-Chrostowski, pulled by A. Colish
Richard the Second – Wood engravings by Agnes Miller Parker, pulled by A. Colish
Richard the Third – Lithographs by Fritz Eichenberg, pulled by George C. Miller
Romeo and Juliet – Color line drawings by Ervine Metzl, printed in 2 colors by A. Colish
The Taming of the Shrew – Line drawings by W.A. Dwiggins, printed in sanguine by A. Colish
The Tempest -Watercolors by Edward A. Wilson, printed by both Georges Duval (collotype) and Mourlot Freres (2 colors), hand-colored by Maurice Beaufume
Timon of Athens – Wood engravings by George Buday, pulled by A. Colish
Titus Andronicus – Watercolors by Nikolai Fyodorovitch Lapshin, lithographed by Mourlot Freres
Troilus and Cressida – Wood engravings by Demetrius Galanis, pulled in black/terra cotta by Dehon et Cie
Twelfth Night, or What You Will – Watercolors by Francesco Carnevali, lithographed by Mourlot Freres
The Two Gentlemen of Verona – Watercolors by Pierre Brissaud, printed in collotype (key gray) by Georges Duval and hand-colored (not stated, Brissaud, perhaps?)
The Winter’s Tale – Drawings by Albert Rutherson, hand-colored by Jean Saude and printed in key-black by the Curwen Press
Note that this set is completely unsigned, so that bit of novelty is lost. However, a set of Shakespeare’s poetry followed the release of the plays. They were deliberately matched to the binding style of the rest, and this one is signed by Rogers. Hope this list aids you somehow or another!
April 22, 2012 § 2 Comments
Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas (1958)
LEC #283/26th Series V. 4 in 1958
Artwork – Hand-colored illustrations by Edy Legrand
Introduced by Ben Ray Redman
LEC #144 of 1500
Click images to see larger views.
Front Binding – Hello, everyone! Let’s begin today right with a LEC post. We all love those, right?
Twenty Years Later is the middle of Alexandre Dumas’ Three Musketeers trilogy, which is among the greatest works in French literature. Dumas received more than a few LEC editions, with The Three Musketeers seeing two releases, one in 1932 with Pierre Faulk’s illustrations as a 2 volume set, and a later 1953 edition with Edy Legrand’s art. The Count of Monte Cristo followed in 1941 in a massive four-volume set with Lynd Ward supplying his artistic touch. The lesser-known The Black Tulip came out in 1951 featuring the design of Jan van Krimpen and the art of Frans Lammers (both signed the books). Three more books featuring Legrand came next, all within the Three Musketeer canon: Twenty Years Later came out in 1958, The Man in the Iron Mask was sent out in 1965, and the last, Marguerite De Valois, was released in 1969. The last book of Dumas’ to see release was 1973’s The Queen’s Necklace, with Cyril Arnstram providing art for it. His son, Alexandre Dumas, fils had his major work Camille performed twice as well, making this father-son duo one of the few (if there are any others!) to have two LEC’s done for one of their respective works. French painter Marie Laurencin handled a 1937 edition, while Bernard Lamotte illustrated a later 1955 version.
I am pleased to share with you another whimsical collection of Edy Legrand’s artwork. I quite like his work, that I do, and it’s nice to have fully colored examples to showcase for you this time. I cover his career with George Macy in The Nibelungenlied post.
Here’s the announcement page with the publication details:
The boards are a lovely red with three fleurs–de–lis stamped in gold on the front. I believe this is common to all of the Legrand Dumas, with varying colors for the boards of each book.
Spine – The book was still in its wrappings when I bought it, thus the radiant red spine. Definitely one of the overall nicest exteriors of any LEC I own.
Title Page – For some reason, the translator of this and the other works of Dumas done by Legrand is notably lacking. Dumas wrote in French, so there was some translation work done here! The Monthly Letter also curiously omits this detail. We do know Ben Ray Redman introduces the book, but it’s a little weird that the George Macy Company doesn’t cite their translation source.
Signature Page – This is #144 of 1500, signed by Legrand. Legrand didn’t always sign his works; Don Quixote, Travels in Arabia Deserta and The Three Musketeers were all issued unsigned.
Page 46 – Such intensity. I haven’t read this yet, but I’m intrigued! I did have a rather unfortunate mishap with this book, though regarding this page. Apparently some glue had gotten stuck on the page following this illustration, and I had to rip them apart, to the detriment of some of the text. The pages weren’t torn in the process, but it was a little disheartening to somewhat assault such a lovely book.
Personal Notes – I bought this with store credit at Carpe Diem Rare Books in Monterey, CA, for $50 (i.e. two books I sold in). Nice shop, nice owners, worth a look if you’re in the area. It’s where I also got my Zadig, and hey, it’s got the same number. :) I’m also happy to have a signed Legrand!
Updated 7/6/2012 – JF
November 26, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Nibelungenlied (1961)
The Nibelungenlied (1961)
Sandglass Number XII:25
Artwork: Line-and-wash drawings by Edy Legrand
Translated by Margaret Armour, Introduced by Franz Schoenberger
Reprint of LEC #311, 28th Series, V. 8 in 1960
Click images for larger views.
Front Binding – I absolutely adore this particular binding. It’s extremely classy, and gives this German epic a wonderful first impression. The green, silver and dark brown (Rache-black the Sandglass says) are just beautiful. Designed by Arnold Bank (the interior by Jan Van Krimpen, finished before his death), this is a lovely tome and one of my favorites in the Heritage canon.
As for the epic itself, The Nibelungenlied has a fairly involved history, which the Sandglass gives in a fashion better than a summary of mine could create. Instead, I’m going to focus in on its illustrator, the wonderful Edy Legrand. I’ve not had a chance to introduce Legrand to you, and that’s a tragedy I plan of resolving today. Legrand began his George Macy career in 1939 with his spin on Hamlet for the Bruce Rogers-designed Shakespeare LEC set, followed in 1942 with the Heritage A Woman’s Life by Guy de Maupassant (later printed by the LEC in 1952). Legrand would go on to be quite prolific in his artistic contributions to the Company, illustrating Beauty and the Beast for a set of Evergreen Tales in 1949, Don Quixote in 1950, Travels in Arabia Deserta in 1953, The Three Musketeers in 1953, Twenty Years After in 1958, The Confessions of Saint Augustine in 1962, The Man in the Iron Mask in 1965, and Marguerite de Valois in 1969 for the LEC, with no other Heritage exclusives. Rendering some of literature’s biggest names (Shakespeare, Dumas, Cervantes, de Maupassant, Saint Augustine) for the Company must have been such a thrill for Legrand to perform, and his work for Dumas’ novels are some of the more exquisite books I’ve seen, particularly The Three Musketeers. He passed away in 1970. I’ve owned only two books with Legrand’s name attached – this and a lousy copy of Hamlet, which I’ve been attempting to rediscover to take pictures for you.
Title Page – The German was translated by Margaret Armour, who was busy doing this kind of thing to other epics tied to this one (from what I can gather from the Goodreads page, at least). She also translated Heinrich Heine’s poems and was a poet herself. Franz Schoenberner offers an introduction.
For design notes, Van Krimpen went with Romulus for the majority of the text, recruiting S.L. Hartz to render the title and chapter initials in a very distinctive style. The New York Lithographic Company printed the book on paper from the Crocker-Burbank Company, and it was bound by the Russell-Rutter Company. It’s a fairly large book, one of the taller ones in my collection.
Page 1 – 2 – Legrand begins the epic with a dynamic collection of the major players. These drawings were printed by the Photogravure & Color Company. He went with a base black for one of the two colors, with a shade ranging from yellow to rose to blue for the other. Legrand was very pleased with the quality of the illustration printing (saying “no one on the Continent could have done a better job”), but I have a hunch he was referring to the LEC edition, not the Heritage reprint. Still, they are nice!
Page 3 – 4
Page 193 – An example of the blue.
Personal Notes – I spotted this book right off in my favorite haunt in Monterey, and immediately purchased it. I’m glad I did, as I’ve not seen it anywhere else since. Definitely want the LEC!
If you have a LEC copy, please drop me a line here or through the comments at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing! I’d love to compare!