“THE RIVER IS A STRONG BROWN GOD— SULLEN, UNTAMED AND INTRACTABLE…”: ONE OF ONLY 290 SIGNED COPIES OF THE FOUR QUARTETS PRINTED AT THE OFFICINA BODONI
ELIOT, T.S. The Four Quartets. London: Faber and Faber, (1960). Tall quarto, original cream and marbled paper boards, original marbled slipcase. $6200.
Signed limited edition of this highspot of 20th-century poetry, number 102 of 290 copies signed by Eliot, beautifully printed at the Officina Bodoni in Verona.
The Officina Bodini was founded in 1922 by Hans Mardersteig and named for Giambattista Bodoni, the great eighteenth-century Parma printer. In 1923 the Italian government granted the press the sole right to use the original Bodoni matrices housed in the Biblioteca Palatina. "Mardersteig's approach was closer to that of the early scholar printers like Aldus Manutius or Robert Estienne than to the dilettantes of the Arts and Crafts Movement; the result has been that Officina Bodoni books have a value far above their success as examples of fine printing: they are…designed to be read." (Cave, 177). First published in four separate parts during World War II, The Four Quartets "were the first of Eliot's poems to reach a wide public (they were seen as a unifying force in the war years), and they succeeded in communicating in modern idiom the fundamentals of Christian faith and experience" (Drabble, 364).