On September 28, about 55 delegates to Congress XXV of the Association Internationale de Bibliophile (International Association of Bibliophiles, or AIB) visited the Library for the entire day. In honor of the occasion, the Library published The Invention and Early Spread of European Printing as Represented in the Scheide Library by Paul Needham, the Scheide librarian. Three components make up the large format book: 16 four color illustrations, at exact size; a masterful essay on the Scheide family’s three generations of collecting framed inside the larger narrative of how questions about early printing have been and will be explored; and a final section of 36 bibliographic entries titled “Checklist of Printing in the Scheide Library Pre-dating 1468.” ISBN 978-0-87811-050-6. 32 pages. $15 plus shipping ($2.50 domestic; $9 international)
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The Library has just acquired the first illustrated edition of Emile Zola’s famous novel of working class life, L’Assommoir. The novel first appeared in serialized form between 13 April 1876 and 7 January 1877, and sold well. Building on this popularity, the Paris publishers Marpon and Flammarion issued an illustrated edition in 59 parts in 1878. Each part had one illustration, keyed to a particular page. More than ten artists contributed artwork, which was published as a wood engraving. (More than five wood engravers were involved.)
The artists were notable in their day, and, for some, their reputation endured. Among those, the best known today is Auguste Renoir (1841-1919). He contributed four drawings to the project. Illustrated above is that adjacent to page 283, in which the heroine of the novel, Gervaise, and her lover Lantier listen at a café to Mademoiselle Amanda, declared by Lantier to be a “high class singer.” (Click on image for larger view.) Other pages contributed by Renoir are also scenes, indoors or out: page 136, La loge des Boche; page 192, Le père Bru piétinait dans la neige pour se réchauffer.; and page 368, Les filles d’ouvriers se promenant sur le boulevard extérieur. “Elles s’en allaient, se tenant par les bras, occupant la largeur des chausses.” Each work exhibits his painterly, impressionistic line, contrasting sharply with the acute lines of other illustrations by such artists as André Gill (1840-1885) or Maurice Leloir (1853-1940).
The result of this collaboration of artists, wood engravers, printers and publishers was a large, deluxe book with each illustration printed twice: once on a thick stock used also for the text (“papier de Hollande”) and once on China paper, whose soft surface caught shadings of ink more vividly than thick paper. The parts were bound in a red morocco half leather binding by Paul-Romain Raparlier, evidently on the commission of the London bookseller Henry Sotheran. (The names are stamped on the upper left corner of each front endpaper.) The Princeton copy is number 41 of a limited edition of 130 and has the booklabel of Eduardo J. Bullfinch, a lawyer and businessman in Buenos Aires in the first half of the twentieth century.
Call number: (Ex) Oversize 2007-0689Q
Jessica Grose’s article “Before Lindsay or Paris, There Was Mrs. L_fle: Imagine Lindsay Lohan in 18th-century England” in today’s New York Times details the dish behind the new novel The Scandal of the Season recently published by Princeton English professor, Sophie Gee. The novel is a “a fictionalized account of the true story behind Alexander Pope’s 1712 poem, ‘The Rape of the Lock.’ ” • “The idea of gossip and scandal and celebrity culture that we have today was really coming into being in 18th-century London” notes Prof. Gee. The article is based on Ms. Grose’s interview last month with Prof. Gee in the Library. The color photograph of Prof. Gee was taken at the window of the first floor seminar room in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections in Firestone. • During the interview, Prof. Gee showed and discussed the following books from the rare book collections: Characters of the Present Most Celebrated Courtesans Exposed, With a Variety of Secret Anecdotes Never Before Published (London, 1780), The History of Betty Bolaine, the Canterbury Miser, Containing an Account of Her Avarice, Whimsical Amours, and Wonderful Escapes from Matrimony (1805?), Town and Country Magazine (London, 1769 ff) and The Spectator (London, 1711 ff). Some titles, such as The Spectator, have been in the collections for years, but, others, such as Betty Bolaine have been added as part of a recent effort to deepen the literary holdings to include popular and / or ephemeral narratives.