Monday, September 17, 2007


Pretty Books week commences

I'm back, with tales to tell and pictures to share. Had a terrific time away and am now swamped, so no time for details today, but instead just a book to post for sheer beauty, from one of the heretofore buried cartons unearthed during the recent move-of-house:

Last Fairy Tales by Édouard Laboulaye (Harper & Brothers, New York 1885). Translated by Mary L. Booth. Various illustrators. Cloth binding. Difficult to tell from this image, because the cover itself remains quite lovely, but the rest of the book is in a sad state of decrepitude. Several signatures are completely loose and nearly detached, and many pages are badly chipped. The book is almost unsaleable, hence its sojurn with me at home. I can't bear to let it go, because the cover is so fine, with its wrap-around lily pad and trailing stems, still-bright gilt highlights, the horned beetle on the spine, light green winged dragonfly-fairy perched on the edge, and the titles and publisher's initials (H&B) peeking out through the holes in the lily pad. Art Nouveau design at its sinuous best. More books to follow, all this week.

Oh, this one's lovely!

Can you read it at all? How are the stories themselves?

Enjoy your blog and share your love of books. Sometimes there is truth in judging a book by it's cover...I had this jacket specially made last year from Facsimile Dust Jackets in San Francisco for my first edition of Rockwell Kent's Salamina. Enjoy!
Where the South Platte empties into the plains
Oh, the book is readable, Katrina, just not in a strong wind! Or even a faint breeze, probably bits of it would blow away. It's falling apart and I haven't read a word of it - okay, I just felt so bad saying that, that I went and read a few words. It's awful, but it might be the fault of the translation. I have looked at a lot of the pictures. Some are rather lurid. In a good way.

Steven, wasn't Rockwell Kent incredible - painter, designer, explorer - what a life! There was a terrific exhibit of his work here in Maine last summer, I saw it twice. He's one of my painting heroes. Lovely jacket, thanks...
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