The Winged Life: The Poetic Voice of Henry David Thoreau, Yolla Bolly Press

{Ed Note: This is the next installment from DlphcOracl looking at the wonderful work done by the Yolla Bolly Press.  In this article, we look at The Winged Life: The Poetic Voice of Henry David Thoreau.  Previous posts on Yolla Bolly Press are here and here.}

In this folio sized tribute to Henry David Thoreau, poet and essayist Robert Bly (b.1926) celebrates the 140th anniversary of Thoreau’s departure from Walden Pond.   He presents his own view of the man in an attempt to move beyond the stereotypical images of Thoreau as a hermit, a recluse or, at worst, a misanthrope, and present him as a fully realized literary artist and complex personality, “to depict the philosopher-poet as he might have appeared to a visitor at Walden“.

Bly has produced an anthology of Thoreau’s writings organized into five sections, “each centering on a stage of Thoreau’s thought life” and each opening with a full page woodcut engraving by Michael McCurdy.  Bly weaves appropriate passages from Thoreau’s poems, essays, journals, and prose from travel books, grouping them thematically, with special emphasis on his poetry. Quoting from the prospectus, “Bly’s insights about Thoreau the man shed much-needed light on the psychic life of this important figure in American thought.”  The artist, Michael McCurdy, researched the settings for his wood engravings in Concord, “obtaining verification of visual details from the Thoreau Lyceum.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was a poet, author, philosopher and leading transcendentalist, considered one of the greatest thinkers in American history. He was a staunch abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, and historian.  He is best known for his book Walden and for his essay Civil Disobedience, the latter of which had significant influence on Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. In total, his writings come to over 20 volumes, all from one who died at 44.

About the Edition

  • Designed by James and Carolyn Robertson
  • The book is large folio measuring 14″ height x 10″ width
  • Monotype Van Dijck and Caslon 471 set at MacKenzie Harris Corp., San Francisco, and at The Yolla Bolly Press in Covelo, California
  • Printed on heavy mouldmade Arches 88 art paper from France by Aaron Johnson
  • Binding done at The Schuberth Bookbindery, San Francisco
  • Eighty-five copies were bound in Dutch linen with a slipcase
  • Fifteen copies in a deluxe edition (of which this is one) were bound in half-morocco leather and linen over boards, then housed in a linen cloth drop-back box with wood-engraved label
  • Each deluxe edition is accompanied by an additional suite of the six wood engravings in a chemise covered with linen, each individually signed by the artist
  • The books were signed by both Bly and McCurdy.

Pictures

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The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Linen-covered clamshell box with wood-engraved label
The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Clamshell box opened, with extra suite of woodcut engravings in chemise folder of linen and book with half-morocco leather and linen over boards on right
The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Front cover of book, half-morocco leather and linen
The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Book spine with gold-leaf lettering embossed into morocco leather
The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Prospectus
The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Prospectus Last Page
The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Title Page
The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Table of ContentsThe Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Sample Page with Text
The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Second Sample Page with Text
The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Title Page of Part Two
The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Third Sample Page with Text
The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Linen-covered chemise with extra suite of wood engravings by Michael McCurdy
The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Sample wood engraving #1, signed
The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Sample wood engraving #2, signed
The Winged Life, Yolla Bolly Press, Colophon

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