"May blessings be upon the head of Cadmus, the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invented books." -Thomas Carlyle
Welcome to my virtual book collection. Since collecting actual books is somewhat cost-prohibitive, I've begun to amass all of the books I would love to have if I had the means. Some are new, lots are old, all are unique or beautiful or unusual or in some other way have captured my fancy. Enjoy browsing!
Special Collections: Fine Bindings ~ Fairies and Fairy Tales ~ Terror and Madness ~ Poetry ~ Food, Drink and Apothecary ~ Science Fiction ~ Illuminations, Lettering and Hand-Coloring ~ Magic ~ Supernatural and Occult ~ Alchemy ~ Science and Technical ~ Maritime ~ Costumes ~ Humor ~ Children's books ~ Legend of King Arthur ~ Americana ~ 18th Century ~ 19th Century Authors and illustrators: Edgar Allan Poe ~ Jules Verne ~ Edmund Dulac ~ Kay Nielsen ~ Arthur Rackham ~ Edward Gorey ~ Charles Dickens ~ H.P. Lovecraft ~ William Hope Hodgson ~ Mark Twain ~ Lewis Carroll ~ Salvador Dali ~ George Cruikshank ~ Emily Dickinson ~ Geoffrey Chaucer ~ H.G. Wells
Printing with the Handpress: Herewith a Definitive Manual…to Encourage Fine Printing through Hand-craftsmanship
Allen, Lewis M.. Kentfield, CA; Allen Press, 1969
Illustrated by Victor A. Seward. Decorations engraved on wood by Mallette Dean. Printed in Romanée type designed by Jan Van Krimpen for Joh. Enschedé en Zonen, on hand-made paper from Wookey Hole Mill in England with the watermark of the Allen Press. 12x8, decorative full linen with “hand” design based on a 15th century woodcut, acetate cover. One of 140 copies, handset and printed by Lewis & Dorothy Allen.
One of the most beautiful and sought-after productions from the Allens, considered by many their masterwork. Allen Press 34.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Illust. Willy Pogany.
London, Hutchinson & Co. [c.1908]
xx, 210 pp. 16 color plates by Willy Pogany (printed on linen). (8vo) original cloth. Early edition.
“Whatever is the lot of humankind
I want to taste within my deepest self.
I want to seize the highest and the lowest,
to load its woe and bliss upon my breast,
and thus expand my single self titanically
and in the end go down with all the rest.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust
Nathaniel Hawthorne. Allen Press, Greenbrae, CA, 1991.
Illustrated with wood engravings by John DePol. 11x7, color floral decorated cloth, paper spine label, acetate. One of 115 copies printed on mould-made Rives paper.
“Are there such idle rumors?” asked Beatrice, with the music of a pleasant laugh. “Do people say that I am skilled in my father’s science of plants? What a jest is there! No; though I have grown up among these flowers, I know no more of them than their hues and perfume; and sometimes, methinks I would fain rid myself of even that small knowledge. There are many flowers here, and those not the least brilliant, that shock and offend me, when they meet my eye. But, pray, Signor, do not believe these stories about my science. Believe nothing of me save what you see with your own eyes.”
Vathek: an Arabian tale
William Beckford. New York: Aldus Printers for] The Limited Editions Club, 1945.
William Beckford’s Arabian Nights-inspired fantasia was first published in 1786; this version is the translation by Herbert Grimsditch for the Nonesuch Press edition of 1929 and includes his same introduction.
The exotic illustrations in pink, yellow, and blue, and the glowing borders of pink designs against a sunny ground with a sky blue fillet framing the text, were all created andhand-illuminated in gold by Valenti Angelo. Hand-set in Garamond at the composing room of Kurt Volk and printed on Worthy paper under the supervision of A.G. Hoffman in New York, this is numbered copy 288 of 1500 and has beensigned by Angelo below the colophon.
Binding: Rust-colored morocco by Russell-Rutter Company, both covers elaborately gilt in the same design by Angelo, of a seated figure in Oriental dress surrounded by a floral cartouche within a foliate frame.
The Threepenny Opera
Bertolt Brecht. New York: The Limited Editions Club, 1982.
Binding: Full black linen, stamped in gold on the front cover from a design by Levine. The slipcase is covered with black paper and bears a gilt title on the spine.
This edition of Bertolt Brecht’s script for one of the 20th century’s most innovative and political musicals is limited to 2,000 copies, of which this is no. 1496. The translation is that of Desmond Vesey, with lyrics rendered in English by Eric Bentley, who also wrote the introduction. The12 full-page illustrations are reproductions of Jack Levine’s etchings of scenes from G.W. Pabst’s 1931 film version of The Threepenny Opera, and one three-color lithographpulled by Emiliano Sorini specially for this edition. Howard I. Gralla designed the book choosing a 12-point Walbaum font with two points leading-space between the lines.
Songs by Ben Jonson: A Selection from the Plays, Masques, and Poems, with the Earliest Known Settings of Certain Numbers
Ben Jonson. Eragny Press, London, 1906.
Printed in red and black on vellum. Colored frontispiece, border and initials by Lucien Pissarro, engraved by Esther Pissarro. Small 8vo, gilt-lettered red calf with gilt leaf design on turn-ins, by Blackwell, joints starting, upper tips bumped. Norman J. Sondheim bookplate. Dedication Copy. One of only ten copies on vellum.
Though I Am Young and Cannot Tell
Though I am young, and cannot tell
Either what Death or Love is well,
Yet I have heard they both bear darts,
And both do aim at human hearts.
And then again, I have been told
Love wounds with heat, as Death with cold;
So that I fear they do but bring
Extremes to touch, and mean one thing.
As in a ruin we it call
One thing to be blown up, or fall;
Or to our end like way may have
By a flash of lightning, or a wave;
So Love’s inflamèd shaft or brand
May kill as soon as Death’s cold hand;
Except Love’s fires the virtue have
To fight the frost out of the grave.
Moby-Dick, or, The Whale.
Herman Melville. Arion Press, San Francisco, 1979.
(Initial publication 1851)
Printed in blue and black on handmade paper bearing a whale watermark. 100 woodcut illustrations by Barry Moser. Folio, full blue Moroccan goatskin, spine slightly but evenly darkened, joints and ends lightly rubbed; internally clean; blue cloth slipcase, unevenly faded and with some surface marks.
One of 250 unnumbered copies of the first trade edition of the Arion Press edition, designed by Andrew Hoyem. One of the greatest achievements in modern bookmaking.
“Warmest climes but nurse the cruellest fangs: the tiger of Bengal crouches in spiced groves of ceaseless verdure. Skies the most effulgent but basket the deadliest thunders: gorgeous Cuba knows tornadoes that never swept tame northern lands. So, too, it is, that in these resplendent Japanese seas the mariner encounters the direst of all storms, the Typhoon. It will sometimes burst from out that cloudless sky, like an exploding bomb upon a dazed and sleepy town.” ~Chapter cxix
Abbott, Edwin A. Introduction by Ray Bradbury. Arion Press, San Francisco, 1980.
Initials by Gill Shadow; illustrations by Andrew Hoyem. Tall 8vo, accordion-folded pages in an aluminum binding that sits in a metal frame with latch at top (hook missing).
Number 243 of 275 signed by Bradbury on the introduction. One of the most unusual books printed by the Arion Press. The colors and grey background that appear on some plates were applied by hand; some diagrams were photo-engraved, the letterpress printing and die cutting were executed on a hand-fed press, and the binding was crafted from aluminum by Q-Rolo Sheet Metal Products.
B-A Note: Absolutely no substitute for the original, but still pretty darn cool, I think - especially with Bradbury introducing.
The Stone Beloved: Six Poems from Dante Alighieri.
Translated by Harry Duncan. Lithographs by Peter Nickel. Kairos Press, AThens, 1986.
Folio, gilt-lettered 1/4 vellum over boards; slipcase. number 11 of 150 signed by nickel.
~ Amor, che movi tua vertú da cielo = Love, who move your might from sky
~Io son venuto al punto de la rota = I come to that point on the wheel
~Al poco giorno e al gran cerchio d’ombra = To small day circled by great shadow
~Amor, tu vedi ben che questa donna = Love, you can plainly see this woman
~Così nel mio parlar voglio esser aspro = I want my words to be as fierce
~Amor, da che convien pur ch’io mi doglia = Love, it is time to tell my hurt.
Being random examples of the innumerable, incredible ideas & guises of Gog, Ma, Gogma, & Magog
Cox, Morris. Gogmagog Press, London, 1973 [i.e.1974]
Cox explains the creatures for which he named his private press. Printed in black on yellow Japanese handmade paper. 9 reverse-offset linocuts printed in black on blue backgrounds. 4to, red and black-lettered 1/4 vellum over decorative boards, spine naturally discolored; mylar dust jacket. Norman J. Sondheim bookplate. number 61 of only 75 copies signed by Cox.
The Circus of Doctor Lao
Charles G. Finney. Janus Press, Vt, 1984.
Printed in Monotype Plantin composed at the Stinehour Press. Relief etchings with pochoir by Claire Van Vliet, includes triple fold-out leaves (pages 7-16). Folio, original pictorial cloth with vellum spine containing windows exposing binding threads; preserved in pictorial clamshell box, some scuffing; both designed by Jim Bicknell.
Number 24 of 150 copies signed by Finney and Van Vliet. a fine copy of one of the most impressive modern american private press books and the seventy-fifth publication of the Janus Press. Finney’s novel was the basis for the 1964 film, The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, directed by pioneering animator George Pal.
“…Furthermore, the midway of the circus was replete with sideshows wherin were curious beings of the netherworld on display, macabre trophies of ancient conquests, resurrected supermen of antiquity. No glass-blowers, cigarette fiends, or frogboys, but real honest-to-goodness freaks that had been born of hysterical brains rather than diseased wombs.”
Solitude: An Essay from Walden
Henry David Thoreau. Aquarius Press, Baltimore, 1971.
11 woodcuts by Naoko Matsubara on Moriki and Hosho mulberry paper. Square folio, prints and text volume in pictorial paper-covered portfolio case, tips and spine ends scuffed with some loss, some spotting to tray case and margins of the first few prints. number 23 of 200 copies signed by matsubara.
“What is the pill which will keep us well, serene, contented? Not my or thy great-grandfather’s, but our great-grandmother Nature’s universal, vegetable, botanic medicines, by which she has kept herself young always, outlived so many old Parrs in her day, and fed her health with their decaying fatness. For my panacea, instead of one of those quack vials of a mixture dipped from Acheron and the Dead Sea, which come out of those long shallow black-schooner looking wagons which we sometimes see made to carry bottles, let me have a draught of undiluted morning air. Morning air! If men will not drink of this at the fountainhead of the day, why, then, we must even bottle up some and sell it in the shops, for the benefit of those who have lost their subscription ticket to morning time in this world. “
Four Poems of the Occult
Yvan Goll. Image art by Pablo Picasso. Allen Press, Kentfield, 1962.
One of 130 unnumbered sets printed and designed by Lewis and Dorothy Allen.
4 lithographed plates by Picasso, 3 by Tanguy, 8 wood-engraved plates by Arp, and 6 reproductions of drawings by Leger; decorations by Mallette Dean, and hand-colored initials. Folio, 401x208 mm; 16x11 inches, comprises five fascicles, each laid into tan cloth chemise and slipcase.
Contents: Book 1. Goll & his illustrators.—book 2. The magic circles, translated by C. Goll & E. Sellin, illustrated by Fernand Léger.—book 3. Elegy of Ihpetonga, translated by B. Deutsch, L. Bogan & C. Goll, illustrated by Pablo Picasso.—book 4. The myth of the pierced rock, translated by L. Bogan, illustrated by Yves Tanguy.—book 5. Multiple woman, translated by F. Carmody, illustrated by Jean Arp.
L’Ange du Bizarre
Edgar Allan Poe. Paris. Marcel Sautier. 1947.
Complete with 28 engraved illustrations by Edouard Goerg. Limited edition of 275 copies - this copy # 149. A fine example of Goerg’s talent for illustrating classic literature, his rather macabre and gothic imagination lending itself sublimely to Poe’s mysterious writing. Unbound, as issued, in printed card wraps, plain boards with decorated spine, and slipcase. Apart from a hint of spotting to boards, a fine copy.
Story initially published in 1844 in Columbian Magazine.
*My dreams were terrifically disturbed by visions of the Angel of the Odd. Methought he stood at the foot of the couch, drew aside the curtains, and, in the hollow, detestable tones of a rum puncheon, menaced me with the bitterest vengeance for the contempt with which I had treated him. He concluded a long harangue by taking off his funnel-cap, inserting the tube into my gullet, and thus deluging me with an ocean of Kirschenwässer, which he poured, in a continuous flood, from one of the long[[-]]necked bottles that stood him instead of an arm. My agony was at length insufferable, and I awoke just in time to perceive that a rat had run off with the lighted candle from the stand, but not in season to prevent his making his escape with it through the hole. “