Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press Deluxe Limited Edition

One of Easton Presses latest Deluxe Limited Editions (DLE) is a facsimile of the 1840 edition of Gulliver’s Travels, famous for the hundreds of fantastic wood engravings by J.J. Grandville.   I thought I would post some pictures and initial thoughts on this edition quickly, since it is still available.  Those thinking about getting this edition should probably move pretty quickly, as the edition is limited to 500, and these have been for sale for quite some time.  At $200, this is about the least expensive DLE Easton Press has released.

Gulliver’s Travels does not need much of an introduction, it being one of the most popular and well read of all classics in the Western Canon.  The author, Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) has a well deserved place as one of the greatest prose satirists of all time, if not the greatest.   His A Modest Proposal, where he proposes that poverty in Ireland could be addressed by the poor selling their children as food for the rich, remains the wittiest satire I have ever read (I look forward to the Bowler Press edition of this that is planned for sometime in the next number of months).  Of course, Gulliver’s Travels itself remains his greatest accomplishment, a satire on human nature (are humans born corrupt or become corrupt?) and government never surpassed.

J.J. Grandville is the pseudonym of Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard (1803-1847). He was a famous French caricaturist, whose excellent work graces a number of classics.  His illustrations for Gulliver’s Travels is his supreme accomplishment.  To me, they are so much part of the story, so engrained in my mind as the visualization of the story, I cannot think of the one without the other.  The character studies, and the detail, is really something to behold.

This edition is much more of a standard size then  many of the DLE’s, at 5 7/8″ x 9 1/8″.  The leather binding, while not nearly as luxurious as EP’s Kelmscott Chaucer or Midsummer Night’s Dream DLE’s,  feels much nicer than standard EP books.  The ribbed spine with beautiful stampings of gold, red and green is very classic and befitting for this book in particular.  The front and back cover themselves have more or less standard EP minimal gold stamped design.  The front cover could be nicer, perhaps with one of the illustrations stamped on it.  The marbled endpapers are very nice with perfect coloring. The paper is nice, looks antique, though I would not call it spectacular, with the text and illustrations displaying sharply.  All in all, I would call it a very good effort, considering the cost is well under half compared to the DLE’s mentioned above (not as nice, but not as costly). It is a nicer production than the Gulliver’s Travels that comes with EP’s 100 Greatest series (though that is a decent edition itself, based on the 1940 Heritage Press edition, with illustrations by Fritz Eichenberg).   I include pictures from both editions below, for your comparison.

{Ed Note 8/26/11:  Since my review was initially posted, there have been some complaints about the quality of this DLE here.}

About this edition:

  • All of the more than 400 intricately detailed wood engravings by J.J. Grandville, the most complete set of illustrations for Gulliver’s Travels ever published
  • Cowhide leather imported from Italy by Cortina Leathers of New York, New York
  • Special 3-color stamping on the spine
  • Beautiful marbled end sheets from a pattern created exclusively for this edition by Peggy Skycraft, Skycraft Designs, Estacada, Oregon
  • Springhill opaque paper in warm white shade and eggshell texture of the original edition
  • Lithography by Falcon Press, Nashville, Tennessee
  • A fabric-covered slipcase
  • Binding and slipcase by BindTech, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Limited to 500 editions, of which mine is #376
Pictures, Easton Press DLE
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Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press DLE, Book in Slipcase
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press DLE, Front Cover
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press DLE, Marbled Endpages
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press DLE, Colophon
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press DLE, Frontispiece and Title Page
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press DLE, Sample Page with Text
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press DLE, Second Sample Page with Text
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press DLE, Sample Page with Text & Illustrations
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press DLE, Second Sample Page with Text & Illustrations
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press DLE, Third Sample Page with Text & Illustrations
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press DLE, Fourth Sample Page with Text & Illustrations
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press DLE, Fifth Sample Page with Text & Illustrations
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press DLE, Sixth Sample Page with Text & Illustrations
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press DLE, Illustration Detail
Pictures, Easton Press 100 Greatest
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press 100 Greatest, Cover and Spine
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press 100 Greatest, Frontispiece and Title Page
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press 100 Greatest, Sample Page with Text and Illustration
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press 100 Greatest, Second Sample Page with Text and Illustration
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press 100 Greatest, Third Sample Page with Text and Illustration
Gulliver’s Travels, Easton Press 100 Greatest, Illustration Detail

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