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)

The Life of Benvenuto Cellini, by Benvenuto Cellini, Limited Editions Club (1937)

Let me start out by saying The Life of Benvenuto Cellini is the most enjoyable and entertaining book I have read in years. It reads like a cross between a Dumas adventure (ignoring for the moment Dumas’ L’Orfèvre du roi, ou Ascanio) and Rousseau’s Confessions. If you have not read it, forget this review….go buy the book and get at it! Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571), goldsmith, artist and sculptor … Continue reading The Life of Benvenuto Cellini, by Benvenuto Cellini, Limited Editions Club (1937)

The Great Illustrated Private Press Books, Part II – Officina Bodoni’s The Fables of Aesop (1973)

{Ed. Note: This is the second of an on-going series looking at the greatest of all private press illustrated books of the last 120+ years. This article is provided by Books and Vines contributor Dlphcoracl. A few weeks back in a review of the Grabhorn Press Esope, we mentioned the Officina Bodoni’s stunning 1973 edition of The Fables of Aesop. Here is it for your perusal!} Aesop is … Continue reading The Great Illustrated Private Press Books, Part II – Officina Bodoni’s The Fables of Aesop (1973)

The Fables of Esope, Grabhorn Press, Illustrations by Valenti Angelo (1930)

Aesop’s existence, while likely, is not completely certain, though writings about him are found in such sources as Aristotle, Herodotus, and Plutarch. Apparently he lived in ancient Greece around 600 BC. It was long said that he was a slave who won his freedom by his cleverness. No direct writings of his survive, though many tales over the centuries and across cultures have been attributed to him. In fact, as … Continue reading The Fables of Esope, Grabhorn Press, Illustrations by Valenti Angelo (1930)

The Lives Of The Twelve Caesars, by Suetonius, Limited Editions Club (1963)

Anyone who doubts Lord Acton‘s dictum that “power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely” must read The Lives Of The Twelve Caesars (De Vita Caesarum), by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus.  The real lives of these Caesars is more colorful, dastardly and shocking than any of today’s historical dramas that many spend weeks of their lives binge watching. The general depravity that society wallows in with those … Continue reading The Lives Of The Twelve Caesars, by Suetonius, Limited Editions Club (1963)

Affordable Treasures and Pleasures #5 – The Folio Press Fine Editions (1987 – 1991) Part II

{Ed.Note: This article is from Books and Vines contributor DlphcOracl.} A couple weeks ago  Books and Vines contributor DlphcOracl presented part I of series looking at The Folio Press Fine Editions, a fine press type collection produced by The Folio Society from 1987-1991. Part II now looks at: The Rape of the Lock, by Alexander Pope (1989) Poems of War, by Wilfred Owen (1989) Peter Grimes, by George Crabbe (1990) The Greek Anthology, Translation by James Michie (1990) The final installment, Part III, will … Continue reading Affordable Treasures and Pleasures #5 – The Folio Press Fine Editions (1987 – 1991) Part II

The Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi, Limited Editions Club (1930)

The Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi, a wonderful work of classic Italian Literature, was originally published in Italy in 1746 and translated into English for the first time in 1864. The writer of the original text is anonymous, though many scholars now think that it was based upon a Latin manuscript written by Ugolino Brunforte (c. 1262 – c. 1348). Saint Francis (1181-1226) lived over a hundred years … Continue reading The Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi, Limited Editions Club (1930)