Easton Press (EP) continues to come out with Deluxe Limited Editions (DLE) at a pretty decent rate. One of the latest is Night by Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel (b.1928). Night recalls Wiesel’s experience at Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944–1945, toward the end of the Second World War. This DLE is illustrated by another Holocaust survivor, artist David Olére (1902-1985).
Night rightly can be morbid, as the reality was sickeningly so. Wiesel’s mother and seven year old sister were gassed immediately when they arrived at Auschwitz. At 16, he watched his father die from a beating at Buchenwald just weeks before liberation. He recounts his first night at Auschwitz where he witnesses a truck arrive and drop a load of children into a firepit.
Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.
Wiesel writes of his loss of faith in, and disgust with, God and Man. He did not speak about his experience for ten years, finally writing the first version of a book that was to become Night in the mid-1950’s. It was difficult to find a publisher due to the nature of the work, but was finally published in 1958 in France and 1960 in the United States. Besides Night, Wiesel went on to write Dawn, and Day, the trilogy of which reflecting Wiesel’s state of being from the Holocaust forward, as he eventually re-found himself, coming into the light from darkness. Wiesel went on to write 57 books and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He also was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1985, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1996.
Easton’s edition of Night is not at the scale of their Kelmscott, nor of the beauty of their A Midsummer Night’s Dream. However, it is nicely done, packaged in a dark black cloth slipcase with one of Olére’s illustrations inserted on the front, with a quote from the book inserted on the back. The leather cover is pitch black with the same illustration inlaid along with gold stamped title and author/illustrator names. All three edges are gilted in gold. The illustrations are fantastic and very effectively unnerving. You can feel that Olére draws from what he witnessed. There is some negative feedback on LibraryThing about the signature being pasted in on the signature page (see the picture below). While not ideal, it does not bother me. I do hope EP begins to consider letterpress as an option for an occasional DLE or two, as well as finer paper. That said, this is a nice edition, and well worth trading up to from the non-signed, non-illustrated EP version I had previously.
About the Edition
- Personally signed by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning author
- Limited to just 850 hand-numbered copies
- Nine fold-out images from Holocaust survivor David Olére, an artist prisoner who survived working on a gas chamber special unit and dedicated his career to serving as a witness to his experiences
- The Deluxe Limited Edition of Night comes in a stamped, fabric-covered slipcase and includes a hand-numbered certificate of authenticity
- Translated from the French by Marion Wiesel
- Preface by the Author
- Forward by Francois Mauriac
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