One of the most rewarding things about writing in Books and Vines is the constant incentive it gives me to discover outstanding new editions of fine press books to share with you all. As such, it gives me great pleasure to highlight to you a unique and beautiful fine press edition of three plays by Tennessee Williams, called Tennessee, created by David Bruce Smith. The included plays are Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Glass Menagerie and the first publication of Tennessee Williams’s recently discovered play, These Are the Stairs You Got to Watch.
Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) is considered one of the greatest playwrights of English speaking theater. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire (1948) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955). Most critical acclaim and success came from his work in the 1940’s and 1950’s. His alcoholism, dependence on prescription drugs, and lifelong battle with depression were constant demons which ultimately took their toll on his health and work. While his work from the 1960’s and 1970’s was not nearly as successful or critically acclaimed as his earlier works, his earlier works remain amongst the most frequently performed plays in the world.
Visiting New York City last week, I had an opportunity to meet with a representative of Mr. Smith, and spent a good hour looking through this amazing edition very closely. Everything about it is first class, from the look and tactile sensation of how it feels in your hands, to the details of the paper, letterpress, binding and illustrations. Frequent readers of Books and Vines know that I often lament the lack of more traditional illustrations in many of today’s fine press books, which typically instead favor modernist/post-modernist works which I often find a poor match with the more classic nature of the literature itself. I am glad to say that this edition includes wonderful illustrations by Clarice Smith that avoid that downfall, providing lucky owners of this work beautiful renditions of art that are an outstanding complement to the plays.
If you have any questions on this edition, you can contact David Bruce Smith from his website, or contact his representative Francesca Raimond at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a fan of Tennessee Williams, or American theater, this is a must have. If you are a fan of top private fine press books, this should be very high on your list. Very highly recommended.
About the Edition
- Fine Limited Edition – Hand Bound, Hand Printed
- Included within is original artwork by the world renowned artist, Clarice Smith, who was commissioned to create six, full page works of “Tennessee’s Women.”
- From metal plates. Printing/color separations performed individually on a World War ll-type roller press in Florence, Italy.
- 3 subjects, Maggie, Laura and Girl, full page illustrations bound within the book.
- Blanche, Maxine and Alma prints, unbound and signed by the artist. Nestled in the box interior in special slip pocket with a snap.
- David Bruce Smith, publisher of the collection, has provided the commentary. Michael Kahn, Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre and friend to Williams, authored the preface.
- Three volumes nestled in a soft black matte finish clamshell box lined with carbon-colored suede luxe.
- Elephant-sized folio (14” x 18”), printed on Fabriano Rusticus paper
- Book Design and Art Binding by John Paul Greenwalt and Stephen L. Vanilio.
- Printed by Paolo Barbieri on a letterpress and hand set in Baskerville type in four colors.
- End papers in cream colored translucent paper.
- Limited to 750 standard editions.
As luck would have it, I had a major camera breakdown while in New York, so I apologize that some of this pictures are less than completely sharp, as I had to rely on my iPhone camera for many of these.
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