The History of Oliver and Arthur, Riverside Press (1903)

The History of Oliver and Arthur is a charming mediaeval romance known to us through a 1521 German translation by Wilhelm Liely from the Old French (which in turn was likely based on a Latin original from even earlier). Liely’s work, only a few specimens of which are known to exist today, includes his translation of a better known tale, Valentine and Orson, along with Oliver and … Continue reading The History of Oliver and Arthur, Riverside Press (1903)

Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939)

The comedy Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare, written in 1598 or 1599, is generally considered one of his best as it “combines elements of robust hilarity with more serious meditations on honour, shame, and court politics” (see here). In the preface to the play (in the prospectus to this edition), German philosopher Hermann Ulrici (1806-1884) further describes the tenants underlying the surface level humor in the play: …as in most … Continue reading Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939)

Hard High-Country Poems, by Michelangelo, Peter Koch Printers (2015), & Michelangelo: Sonnets, Allen Press (1991)

{Ed. Note: Thank you to Peter Koch and Robert Bringhurst for assisting me by pointing out some embarrassing type-o’s and other items needing correction. I have always remarked that the editor of Books and Vines better never leave his day job!} Michelangelo (1475-1564, full name Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni) is synonymous with the High Renaissance and Mannerism.  His influence on Western Art is beyond measurement. In … Continue reading Hard High-Country Poems, by Michelangelo, Peter Koch Printers (2015), & Michelangelo: Sonnets, Allen Press (1991)

King Henry IV, parts I & II, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939)

Henry IV, Part I and Henry IV, Part II are historical plays by William Shakespeare. Part I, which  was written and first performed in 1597 and first printed in quarto in 1598 by stationer Andrew Wise, has always been much more popular and critically acclaimed than Part II.  In fact, Henry IV, Part I was Shakespeare’s most popular printed text with eight new editions appearing over the first one hundred years of its existence. Henry IV, … Continue reading King Henry IV, parts I & II, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939)

The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939)

The Merchant of Venice was written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1596 and 1598. It was first printed in quarto in 1600.  Though it is classified as a comedy in the First Folio, it is quite dramatic. The play is most famous for the character of Shylock, a Jewish moneylender who loans money to Antonio on the condition that should he fail to re-pay, Shylock will extract from him a pound of flesh. Both the … Continue reading The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939)

The Book of Ruth, Grabhorn Press (1926) and Limited Editions Club (1947)

The Limited Editions Club (LEC) Monthly Letter (ML) for their wonderful 1947 edition of the Book of Ruth says of the story that it is “delightful“, “charming” and “great.” The ML goes on to quote the early twentieth century American educator and author Mary Ellen Chase saying: The ‘Book of Ruth’ is one of the most graceful and charming of short stories not only in ancient literature but … Continue reading The Book of Ruth, Grabhorn Press (1926) and Limited Editions Club (1947)

King John, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1940)

William Shakespeare wrote King John in the 1590’s, probably after Richard II but before Henry IV, Part I. It was first published as part of the First Folio in 1623. Along with Richard II, King John is one of only two plays by Shakespeare written entirely in verse. While it was very popular in the Victorian era, it is now one of Shakespeare’s least familiar and least performed works. None-the-less, the realization that … Continue reading King John, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1940)