Billy Budd and Beneto Cereno, by Herman Melville, Limited Editions Club (1965)

{Ed. Note: The next post will likely be 2-3 weeks from now as I focus on the annual ‘Support the Fine/Private Press Eco-System‘ article. In the meantime, please make extensive use of the Index of Book Reviews to catch up or re-acquaint yourself with the hundreds or reviews on Books and Vines.} Herman Melville (1819-1891) was a novelist, poet and short story writer that many consider … Continue reading Billy Budd and Beneto Cereno, by Herman Melville, Limited Editions Club (1965)

Robert the Devil, The Windhover Press at the University of Iowa (1981)

Robert the Devil is an anonymous medieval legend, apparently originating in 13th century France, about a knight who, due to his mother making a pact with the devil, is born as the son of satan. He leads a life of extensive plunder and debauchery, and is feared and hated. One day he becomes self-aware of what a horrible person he is, asks the pope for forgiveness … Continue reading Robert the Devil, The Windhover Press at the University of Iowa (1981)

A Tribute to Cavafy, by Constantine P. Cavafy, Limited Editions Club (2003)

Constantine P. Cavafy (1863-1933) is generally considered to be the greatest Greek poet of modern times and one of the most influential poets of the previous century. As stated in the Limited Editions Club (LEC) prospectus for their 2003 edition of A Tribute to Cavafy: Greek poetry did not die 2,500 years ago with Sappho, Pindar, and Theocritus. For Greek poetry was reborn in the mid-twentieth century … Continue reading A Tribute to Cavafy, by Constantine P. Cavafy, Limited Editions Club (2003)

Pedro Paramo, by Juan Rulfo, Arion Press (2016)

The latest release from Arion Press is Pedro Paramo, the great Mexican novel of the twentieth century written by Juan Rulfo (1917-1986). Arion sums up the novel as being about a man named Juan Preciado who travels to his recently deceased mother’s hometown, Comala, to find his father, “only to come across a literal ghost town─populated, that is, by spectral figures.” In an aptly named article by Jim Lewis in Slate, ‘The Perfect Novel You’ve Never … Continue reading Pedro Paramo, by Juan Rulfo, Arion Press (2016)

Camille, by Alexandre Dumas, fils, Curwen Press (1937) and Garamond Press (1955) for the Limited Editions Club

La Dame aux Camélias (Camille), by Alexandre Dumas, fils, is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most famous of love stories in the Western canon. As mentioned by the Limited Editions Club (LEC) Monthly Letter (ML), “the story is simple enough. It is that of an enamored courtesan who, not to ruin the life of the man she loves, gives him up and dies of a broken heart.” As Henry James aptly says … Continue reading Camille, by Alexandre Dumas, fils, Curwen Press (1937) and Garamond Press (1955) for the Limited Editions Club

Great Illustrated Private Press Books, Part VI – La Divine Commedia, or The Divine Vision of Dante Alighieri, Nonesuch Press, 1928

The Nonesuch Press was founded by poet and book designer Francis Meynell, along with his wife, Vera Mendel, and David Garnett in 1922 where it operated from the basement of Garnett’s bookshop in Soho. Although the press continued, in one form or another, into the mid 1960’s, publishing over 140 titles, the vast majority of their bibliography was issued in the Nonesuch Press’ first two … Continue reading Great Illustrated Private Press Books, Part VI – La Divine Commedia, or The Divine Vision of Dante Alighieri, Nonesuch Press, 1928

The Toilers of the Sea, by Victor Hugo, Officina Bodoni for Limited Editions Club (1960)

History has produced few storytellers whose works are as engrossing and entertaining as Victor Hugo (1802-1885), one of the greatest of all French writers.  His continued fame largely comes from his celebrated novels Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris (known in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame). Many forget that he was also one of the great French poets in history, with  Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles being his most critically recognized verse. Hugo’s influence is substantial … Continue reading The Toilers of the Sea, by Victor Hugo, Officina Bodoni for Limited Editions Club (1960)