The Fanfrolico Press was founded in 1926 by Jack and Norman Lindsay, along with P.R. Stephensen. The press published mostly classics, with Jack Lindsay responsible for the typographical design and Jack’s father, Norman Lindsay, providing illustrations for many of the books. Norman Lindsay is thought of as one of Australia’s greatest artists, and his work in The Complete Works of Gaius Petronius certainly confirms that.
The Complete Works of Gaius Petronius is a beautiful book; nice binding, very nice paper and type and probably the most generous allotment of stunning pen and ink drawings I have ever seen in one book. Norman Lindsay’s work in this book immerses you in the times and events Petronius writes about. I cannot think of another book where the illustrations provide such effective imagery. I do wish I had a prospectus with more context on Lindsay’s work for Petronius. A colophon page with details on the paper, type, etc., would have been nice also.
The Complete Works of Gaius Petronius includes The Satyricon along with the Poems of Petronius. The Satyricon is one of the great classics of Western Civilization. It’s primary purpose is to entertain, though in doing so it also provides a look at everyday life in the early Roman Empire. Though a realistic novel, it is not a dry recitation of facts. It is full of humor, satire and lyricism. Petronius and Lindsay make a fantastic combination for anyone wanting to really ‘feel’ what it was like to live in the time of Nero.
Petronius (27-66 AD) was a courtier during the time of Nero. He served as consul in the year 62 and then became a member of the senatorial class; a class which by this time did little but devote themselves to a life of pleasure. Plutarch, Pliny the Elder and Tacitus all mention Petronius as being known as an expert on luxurious living. Petronius committed suicide in the year 65, after having been accused of treason. It historically has been somewhat controversial if Petronius was the author of these works, or even when these works were written. Recently, scholarship seems to be validating Petronous as the author, and the period of Nero when it was written.
About the Edition
- Published in 1927 by Fanfrolico Press, London
- Original half maroon vellum and marbled paper boards, title in gilt on spine
- Gilt to top of pages
- 10 groups of 10 b/w plates (pen & ink drawings) from Norman Lindsay, hors texte, each group preceded by page of titles
- Translation by Jack Lindsay
- 12.5 x 9.5 inches
- 152 pages, plus 100 unpaginated full page plates printed on one side only
- Signed by Jack Lindsay
- Special issue of 100 copies made for Australia, mine is #63 (I believe 650 were made for outside Australia)