“SOME MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE FLOATING THROUGH TIME AND SPACE”: GUSTAVE DORÉ’S ILLUSTRATIONS FOR TENNYSON’S ENID, GORGEOUSLY BOUND
(DORÉ, Gustave) TENNYSON, Alfred. Enid. London: Edward Moxon, 1868. Large folio (12-1/2 by 16-1/2 inches), original full red morocco, raised bands, inlaid blue morocco title piece within ornamental gilt cover border, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $2500.
First Doré-illustrated edition of Tennyson’s Enid, one of the four stories that made up his poetic treatment of the Arthurian legend, Idylls of the King, with nine rich, full-page steel engravings by Doré. Beautifully bound in full gilt-decorated red morocco. The copy of Lincoln Kirstein, co-founder of the New York City Ballet.
Tennyson “was one of the finest lyrists of the English tongue… There are besides in all his non-lyric poems passages of profound meditative music. Half at least of what he wrote the world would not willingly let die. Tennyson in a sense is England’s Virgil… [and] with Tennyson’s death in 1892, a great epoch of English poetry came to a close” (Kunitz & Haycraft, 612-13). This wonderful production by publisher Edward Moxon, with nine steel-engraved Doré illustrations, was one of a series of four stories, each to be first published separately and then combined as Idylls of the King. They appeared in three formats: regular folio with steel engravings (offered here); portfolio with photogravures of Doré’s paintings; and a set of signed proofs. “Moxon was the only publisher ever to commission steel engravings from Doré. His total cost for these editions must have been staggering… [He] published 42 Doré folios of Tennyson and Hood in 12 years… The steel engravings give much more of a speckled look to the scenes, different from the grainy look of Doré’s usual wood engravings. It produces a dreamy, mystical, serene [feeling] that is quite different for Doré… The first title came out in December of 1866 to rave reviews” (Malan, 97). Malan, 303. Gift bookplate of Lincoln Kirstein, co-founder of the New York City Ballet and credited with bringing Balanchine to America.
Text and plates fine, with only an occasional small spot of foxing. A splendid production, gorgeously bound.