Description

    "A Monument of American Art Nouveau Bookmaking"

    Stephen Crane. War is Kind. Drawings by Will Bradley. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1899.

    First edition of Stephen Crane's second book of verse and one of artist and typographer Will Bradley's most famous books. Tall slim octavo (8.3125 x 5.1875 inches; 212 x 132 mm.). [4, blank], [5]-96, [4, blank] pages (the first and final blank leaves used as endpapers). Twenty-two illustrations, including title and six full-page illustrations. "Arranged and Printed by Will Bradley at the University Press, Cambridge and New York" (verso of title-page). Printed on gray deckle-edged cartridge paper.

    Original gray cartridge-paper boards pictorially printed and lettered in black. Gray paper spine label printed in black. All edges uncut. Boards browned at the edges, corners lightly bumped, spine browned and lightly chipped at extremities, spine label a little rubbed and chipped. Scratch mark across rear cover. Just slightly over-opened between pages 48 and 49. A very good copy of this notoriously fragile book. Protected in a black cloth chemise and quarter black morocco slipcase lettered in gilt on spine (stamp-signed on chemise liner: "Bound by J. Desmonts / J. Mac Donald Co. / Norwalk, Conn.").

    "One of Bradley's most famous books...The first edition of Stephen Crane's War is Kind was designed and printed by Bradley at the University Press in 1899 for Frederick A. Stokes...The gray boards, with a spine label, are decorated on the front with the well-known picture of a woman with a sword printed in black...The cover of the tall, thin octavo is divided into elongated panels by rules, and the elongated line is repeated in the figure of the woman, her flowing hair, her sword, the trees behind her, the large vases beside her. The title page resembles the cover with its eccentric lettering and decorations of a lyre, birds, and extremely elonged candles, all within rules. There is an illustration facing the text opening, other full-page illustrations and occasional decorations throughout, but some pages are plain, even without running titles. Most of these decorations are very black, which suites the thick gray wove, deckle-edge paper on which the book is printed but does not suit the Caslon text type, which is also too thin for the heavy dark paper, especially since only a few lines of poetry are printed to a page...This is the only jarring note in what is otherwise a monument of American Art Nouveau bookmaking. It is a strong, harsh book, one not for all tastes" (Susan Otis Thompson, American Book Design and William Morris, p. 116).

    BAL 4083. Bambace A42. Williams and Starrett 20.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2008
    16th-18th Thursday-Saturday
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