Princeton owns thirty-five books created by Claire Van Vliet at her Vermont Janus Press, the earliest published in 1964 and we continue to add her most recent work. The MacArthur genius award winner is an expert printer, binder, paper maker, and designer. “I’d like to be called a book maker” said Van Vliet.
She founded the press in 1955, specializing in first edition poetry. The name Janus was chosen after the ancient Roman god of the rising and setting sun who had the ability to look simultaneously forward and backward. Her ideal is “the book as a balanced and unified statement with all of its parts integral and serving to illuminate one another.”
One of my favorites was pulled recently for a researcher. William Shakespeare (1564-1616), The Tragedie of King Lear; with woodcuts by Claire Van Vliet (Bangor: Theodore Press, 1986). Copy 94 of 160. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize NE1112.V36 S52 1986q. Note, this is a Janus press book regardless of the fact that online credit is given to Theodore Press in Bangor Maine, where the “text preparation, typographical design, setting & presswork were done by Michael Alpert.” The text and images are printed on paper hand-made especially for this edition and the text of the 1623 First Folio edition is retained.