June 25, 2015 Comments Off on Hertiage Press – War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1943)
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1943)
Sandglass Number 7 GRS
Artwork: Drawings by Fritz Eichenberg and Paintings by Vassily Verestchagin
Introduced, Translated and with Notes by Louise and Alymer Maude
Heritage Press Exclusive; the LEC printed their own edition of War and Peace in 1938. This edition borrows the revised translation done by the Maudes.
Click images for larger views.
Front Bindings – Hello again, everyone! It’s nice to be back. And this is my first post in my new home. Funny how this doesn’t feel any different, and yet…this is the first time I’ve not lived in my home town. So many other parts of my life are so radically different from before, but it’s comforting to know that writing here is a little nostalgic in its own strange way…Anyway, you’re not here necessarily to read about my life changes. Let’s get to brass tacks and discuss a monstrous two volume set that stars two illustrators: the Heritage War and Peace.
War and Peace is arguably the great Leo Tolstoy’s magnum opus; the George Macy Company agreed with this sentiment, publishing two versions of the classic, one for each publishing house (which was also done with Anna Karenina, but gave that particular book two LEC editions instead). The LEC received a six volume set in 1938, decorated by the esteemed Barnett Freedman (who also did the art for Anna Karenina). The Heritage Press, meanwhile, received this two volume set later in 1943, starring another prominent illustrator of Russian texts, Fritz Eichenberg. Eichenberg wasn’t alone on this edition, however; Macy licensed the paintings of Russian painter Vassily Verestchagin, who was at the time unpublished in the United States, to decorate the battle-filled second half of the book. Eichenberg is primarily reserved for the first volume. Before you get super excited, though, Eichenberg left his woodcutting tools out of the equation for this commission, and instead went with a simpler inked line approach for his artistry. It’s certainly adequate, but may not be as well-received as his exquisite woodcuts and lithographs that grace other Macy volumes. Tolstoy and Eichenberg would meet twice more (with his patented woodblocks) in the future for the LEC, with Resurrection and Childhood, Boyhood, Youth seeing his flourish in 1963 and 1974, respectively.
Design details are most abridged in this set; one page of the Sandglass is spent on the cast of the book, forcing Macy to gloss over most of the publication details. Perhaps World War II (which was in full swing at this point) caused the book to be printed in-house entirely? The boards are covered in a “silky maroon linen”, with gold leaf (mine appears silver) for Eichenberg’s design and for the spine’s text. Eichenberg contributed forty drawings, and Verestchagin’s paintings were taken from the Napoleonic campaigns collection at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. And…that’s all I can give you. However, Django6924 had plenty to say about the book’s release date, as well as an interesting story about Freedman (I had originally mentioned that Freedman died in 1958, and had supposed that this release followed his death):
Jerry, your Sandglass is the same as mine and dates from the initial HP release in 1943. When War and Peace was re-issued in 1951, it was in a single volume and the Sandglass didn’t have any details on the production either.
In your article you mention that since Freedman died in 1958, that this edition dates from then. It is one of those little details that make the collecting of HP editions a fascinating game of detective work! In fact, this statement proves how strange things were for Macy during the war, and how much confusion existed in those days before satellite communications. In fact, Macy, and many others, I’m sure, believed that Freedman had died serving as a War Artist–having been sent to France in April 1940 to record the work of the BEF–either during the near-disaster of Dunkirk, or being lost when the Bismarck sank HMS Hood, with with virtually the entire ship’s company.
Freedman was nearly lost at Dunkirk when he left the complement of War Artists to retrieve the one painting he had completed before the Germans forced the evacuation. As told in the wonderful book The Sketchbook War: Saving the Nation’s Artists in World War II (which features the exploits of several LEC illustrators), Freedman had “a last defiant meal on French soil before leaving the burning city–three bottles of champagne and a tin of bully beef” before getting on an ammunition boat which brought him to England. After this, he was posted, not on HMS Hood as Macy thought, but on HMS Repulse, which was one of the ships that sank the Bismarck. This is undoubtedly the origin on the comment “late, great painter” in the 1943 War and Peace Sandglass and the comment in the 1951 War and Peace Sandglass that Freedman was a survivor of the sinking of the Hood (in fact there were only two survivors) and a survivor of Dunkirk.
Isn’t that fascinating? Once again, World War II wrecks havoc on Macy’s plans, much like it did with Oedipus the King, This is the Hour, and Le Fleurs de Mal, among others. At least this one had a happy ending, and Freedman lived through his trials as a war painter (to ultimately come back and do Anna Karenina!). Funny how this post has been a bit of a circle, and how War and Peace seems to be an actual theme to the events of Macy’s artists, too!
Title Page – The text is taken from the LEC edition of War and Peace, which featured a modified translation by noted Tolstoy scholars Louise and Aylmer Maude. The latter also provides an introduction and many notes to the text. Macy made plenty of his own notes of how this is an exclusive to his printing houses, so he must have had some pride in acquiring it.
Examples of the Illustrations by Eichenberg and Verestchagin (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Personal Notes – This is a set I’ve wanted for some time, and it came in the bunch of Heritage titles I acquired from the Oakhurst Library. Still need to read it, though.
Sandglass (right click and select Open in New Tab to see full size):
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.
October 14, 2012 § 3 Comments
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1952)*
Sandglass Number VII:36
Artwork: Lithographs by Barnett Freedman
Translated by Constance Garnett, translation revision by Bernard Guilbert Guerney, and the three omitted chapters translated, edited and revised by Gustavus Spett. Introduction by Lionel Trilling.
Reprint of LEC #213, 20th Series, V. 5 in 1951. Originally 2 volumes.
Click images for a larger view.
Front Binding – A remarkable post is what I present to you today, as we welcome a Russian master and a beloved illustrator into the echelon of our blog. Leo Tolstoy (as the book prints his name here…I’ve seen it many ways!) has written two of the biggest literary classics of all time, including War and Peace and our selected book for this post, Anna Karenina. War and Peace has two different Macy imprints interpreting it in their own unique ways. The LEC War was issued in 1938 in a six-volume set, with Barnett Freedman (the same artist responsible for this edition) rendering its world with his talents. The Heritage War is a fascinating experiment. It combines the drawings of Fritz Eichenberg (who is no stranger to Russian literature illustration as our blog will show) with the paintings of Vassily Verestchagin, with each doing one volume of the two volume set. Verestchagin passed away in 1904, so it’s one of those cases where Macy wanted to celebrate the art of the past with the Heritage Press, a trend he also performed for The Iliad and The Pilgrim’s Progress, for example. We’ll continue on that trail when we get to War and Peace in the near future. As for Anna, it was printed twice by the LEC. In 1933, wood engraver Nikolas Piskariov put his spin on the book, and it also utilized Garnett’s translation (I do not know if it had all of the editors and revisions this one does). Freedman’s take, reprinted here, was done in 1951 as a two volume set. Here’s Tolstoy’s entire LEC output:
Anna Karenina (1931) with wood engravings by Nikolas Piskariov
War and Peace (1938) with lithographs by Barnett Freedman
Anna Karenina (1951) with lithographs by Barnett Freedman
Resurrection (1963) with wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg
Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (1972) with wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg
I have Resurrection and the exclusive War and Peace Heritage editions, so you can expect those down the road.
Let’s talk about Barnett Freedman for a bit. He is well liked in the Devotees, although I will admit that his style is not usually my cup of tea. I do like his work for this, though. He did the two aforementioned works of Tolstoy for the LEC, along with George Barrow’s Lavengro in 1936 and Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part I in 1939. He also was responsible for the two Heritage Bronte publications, Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Emily’s Wuthering Heights. Lastly, he had a hand in the Heritage Dickens line, rendering Oliver Twist. A short but sweet ride. The Bronte works are similar in style to this, and they’re not really my thing (I have the Random House Eichenberg editions which are LOVELY). I suppose I have been spoiled. :p Anyway, those curious about the career of Freedman and how Macy discovered him will definitely want to examine the included Sandglass below closely. It lavishes so much of its space to Freedman that Tolstoy almost seems an afterthought. :p
Production details! The LEC’s text was set by the Cambridge University Press, which the Heritage reproduces. Brooke Crutchley oversaw the LEC edition’s production, following the typographic plans of John Dreyfus. I cannot tell if Cambridge actually printed out the Heritage reprint’s pages from the Sandglass. The Curwen Press of London however did redo Freedman’s lithographic prints. Russell-Rutter and William Fortney once again did the bindery honors. The font is Ehrhardt, with the larger letter-shapes being of the Fleischmann type.
Back Boards – A delightful rarity to have art on both sides! The Bronte books share this feature as well.
Title Page – A lot of hands were involved in this book. Constance Garnett’s translation was chosen as the best choice for this work, but two further assistants were added to further refine her work. The first is Gustavus Spett. He is a Russian expert and translated three chapters Garnett did not originally. The second is Bernard Guilbert Guerney, who edited and revised Garnett’s work. Although he is not mentioned here, Lionel Trilling supplies an introduction.
Front Endpapers – This is a massively illustrated work, that it is. I figured I’d give you more bang for your buck and include the endpapers over interior illustrations. Each color was its own stone in the lithographic process, so just imagine how much foresight and planning had to go into each illustration!
Personal Notes – This came with my huge library acquisition. I’m glad to have it, as I’ve been curious about the contents of the novel for some time.
* = The Sandglass specifically mentioned Freedman’s death in 1958, so this is clearly not the original publication date for my copy. I will respectfully keep the date as is due to the book stating it as such, but I wanted to let you know that this is not a 1952 printing.