“THE EPIC VOICE OF FREEDOM”: LIMITED EDITIONS CLUB EDITION OF DE COSTER’S TYL ULENSPIEGL, 1934, ILLUSTRATED BY RICHARD FLOETHE AND SIGNED BY HIM
DE COSTER, Charles. The Glorious Adventures of Tyl Ulenspiegl… The First Complete Translation into English by Allan Ross MacDougall, with Illustrations by Richard Floethe. Haarlem: Joh. Enschedé en Zonen, 1934. Folio (10 by 13 inches), original light gray linen gilt, patterned endpapers, uncut and unopened, original slipcase, paper spine label. $500.
Limited edition, number 75 of 1,500 copies signed by the artist, of this first translation into English of De Coster’s Tyl Ulenspiegl, with numerous in-text color lithographs by Richard Floethe.
This is De Coster’s masterpiece, ten years in the writing and first published in 1867. It is a 16th-century romance, freely adapting the folk legends of Till Eulenspiegel and Lamme. Set at the height of the Inquisition, the hero’s father is burned at the stake as a heretic, and Ulenspiegl swears an oath to avenge his death. Written in the literary style of Rabelais and Montaigne, Ulenspiegl has been compared to Don Quixote, and even to Rabelais’ Panurge in Pantagruel. The exploits of Ulenspiegl and his friend form the thread of a semihistorical narrative, full of racy humor, in spite of the occasional barbarities that creep in. De Coster’s work was barely read in his native Belgium because it did not meet the conventional standard of Belgian nationalism at the time. Yet its theme of resistance against oppression has since placed it as “the Bible of Flanders” and “the breviary of freedom.” Artist Richard Floethe studied design with Paul Klee and color theory and composition with Wassily Kandinsky at the Bauhaus. His illustrations for Ulenspiegl won the Limited Editions Club Prize. This edition was designed by famous typographer and font-designer Jan van Krimpen, highly regarded for his elegant typefaces Romulus, Haarlemmer, and Spectrum. LEC 55.
Book fine, minor edge-wear to original slipcase.