One of the Missing, by Ambrose Bierce, Yolla Bolly Press

{Ed. Note:  Yesterday, I posted an introduction to the Yolla Bolly Press, from contributor DlphcOracl, including pictures and thoughts on one of their folio works, The Man Who Died.  Today DlphcOracl follows with another one of Yolla Bolly’s outstanding folio editions, One of the Missing, from Ambrose Bierce. Notes on Bierce were added by me.}

One of the Missing is a collection of twelve of the best stories Ambrose Bierce wrote about the Civil War, taken from his larger collection Tales of Soldiers and Civilians. These stories rightfully take their place among the great works of antiwar literature because they are multi-dimensional and are informed by Bierce’s direct involvement and experience in the Civil War as an enlisted soldier who rose to the rank of First Lieutenant.  He understands that there is a duality to all conflict in which the horror, savagery and suffering compete alongside the excitement, sense of adventure, bravery, and self-sacrifice.

As mentioned above, Ambrose Bierce (1842-1913)  fought in the Civil War, participating in a handful of battles in which he established a reputation for substantial bravery. One of the battles he participated in was the Battle of Shiloh, the  costliest battle in U.S. history to that point, with nearly 24,000 casualties. This horrible experience was infused into many of his short stories, some of which are included in this edition.  After the war, his fame grew as a writer. He became known as a witty and controversial editorialist/critic, eventually becoming recognized as a master of English writing due to his short stories. He is best known for his satire The Devil’s Dictionary and for his short story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (which is included in One of the Missing). Bierce traveled to Mexico in 1913 to see firsthand about the revolution then in progress. He disappeared without a trace while traveling with the rebels. He was never heard from again.

About the Edition

San Francisco artist David Page produced a powerful set of full page illustrations using linoleum block technique.  The illustrations are historically informed and are the result of Page’s careful research into the visual details of the Civil War as related in Bierce’s short stories, resulting in a seamless pairing of illustrations with the stories.  Noted American historian Page Smith provides a biographical sketch of Ambrose Bierce as well as a commentary on the stories in his introduction.

  • The book is folio size measuring 14 1/4″ height x 10″ width
  • Designed by James and Carolyn Robertson at The Yolla Bolly Press in 1991, printed by Aaron Johnson and Diana Fairbanks
  • Illustrations drawn and cut in linoleum by David Page and printed from the artist’s blocks
  • Text was set in Oldstyle Number 1 at the Anchor & Acorn Press, and in Caslon at the Yolla Bolly Press, and printed in Covelo from the metal
  • Paper is mould-formed Lana Gravure made at the Lana Mill and imported from France
  • Binding done by Renee Mege at the Press, Klaus Rotzscher Bookbinding , and Cardoza-James Binding Company, San Francisco
  • 120 copies were printed of which 100 were offered for sale
  • 30 copies, including this one reviewed, were deluxe editions, specially bound in full calf leather with front cover blind embossed with bird and emblem
  • The deluxe edition was accompanied by an extra suite of David Page’s 14  linoleum block prints, contained within a chemise covered with the same German cotton cloth that covers the clamshell presentation box and the standard book edition.  Each illustration plate in the extra suite is signed by the artist in the margin.
  • The book is signed by both Smith and Page.

Pictures

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One of the Missing, Yolla Bolly Press, Clamshell box covered with German cotton cloth
One of the Missing, Yolla Bolly Press, Clamshell box opened with extra suite of linoleum block prints in folder on left, and full calf leather book with blind embossed front cover image on right
One of the Missing, Yolla Bolly Press, Full image of front cover, Full calf leather, with blind embossed image of bird
One of the Missing, Yolla Bolly Press, Front cover, full calf leather, with blind embossed image bird
One of the Missing, Yolla Bolly Press, Extra suite of 14 linoleum block prints by David Page, all signed by artist, in cloth covered folder
One of the Missing, Yolla Bolly Press, Book with front cover opened demonstrating end papers
One of the Missing, Yolla Bolly Press, Title Page
One of the Missing, Yolla Bolly Press, Sample Page with Text
One of the Missing, Yolla Bolly Press, Second Sample Page with Text
One of the Missing, Yolla Bolly Press, Third Sample Page with Text
One of the Missing, Yolla Bolly Press, Sample illustration #1 signed by artist
One of the Missing, Yolla Bolly Press, Sample illustration #2 signed by artist
One of the Missing, Yolla Bolly Press, Colophon

9 thoughts on “One of the Missing, by Ambrose Bierce, Yolla Bolly Press

  1. Picked up the deluxe copy for cheap and am mighty pleased. The Lana Grauve paper is some of the best I’ve touched and seen. I’d like to point out, though, that the publisher states that the deluxe edition is bound in sheep-skin, not calf. The softness of the leather seems to confirm this.

  2. I like it! If I wasn’t so old, I would like a few of these Folio Editions, but as it is, my LEC collection is a full time job. It so happens, that I have just received a copy of the LEC Tales of Soldiers and Civilians by Ambrose Bierce. It is in a rather dishevelled condition with the spine and board tips worn through. However, the inside pages are Fine so I’ll be investigating a rebinding. Published in 1943, my book has seen better days and certainly suffered much abuse from previous owner(s). The price was only $45.00. The wood engravings by Paul Landacre remind me of those by Agnes Miller Parker in Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard.

    I want to see the movie about Bierce staring Gregory Peck as Ambrose Bierce. Does anyone know if the movie is rated very high?

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