San Francisco: Merlin Gardyloo Press [Janice Rodgers], 1974. Pollack, Cathy. Limited Edition. Japanese Stab Binding. No. 48 of 50 copies, oblong quarto size,  leaves plus illustration page. Near fine. Item #17100577
Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) had in his family background blood both Greek and Arab, Irish and Gypsy. Born in Greece, raised in Ireland, at the age of 19 he emigrated to the United States spending time in Cincinnati and New Orleans, whence sprang the Creole Sketches. He eventually travelled for work (newspaper reporting) to the West Indies and thence to Japan, where he found his true home. He married into a Samurai family to Setsuko Koizumi and had four children, fully immersing himself into the Japanese culture. Largely unknown to westeners at the time, his writings on the customs, religions and literature of Japan were avidly read; although Hearn would come to condemn the Westernization of Japan, he accepted its inevitability, and attempted to describe the county even as it was changing.
This publication of "Mujina", a single story from the book "Kwaidan", was lovingly produced by Janice Rodgers, owner and printer of the Merlin Gardyloo Press, San Francisco. In the whimsically-worded colophon, Janice shared: " 'Mujina' is the first real book printed by Merlin at the Gardyloo Press, which is a 12x18 Kluge stripped of automatic feeders (all of those hoses scared me). The type is 12 point Cochin Light, and my mom brought me the 30 point Baskerville all the way from England. This paper is just cheap green but nice. Cathy Pollack and I started this book 4 years ago and thank god it's finally finished." Finally, in true flower-child style, following the colophon is a page with a "soba recipe for 6" with a small envelope tipped-in, "a sample of soba". One can only love a book which contains so much of the personality of the printer/publisher.
With a woodcut (or linocut?) border on the title and all text pages (unattributed) and one "big beautiful illustration" credited to Cathy Pollack, on a folding page in full colour in watercolours.
Scarce in the marketplace, as of this writing no copies online and no auction records; OCLC locates nine institutional holdings. Per the colophon this the "first real book" printed by the Merlin Gardyloo Press; OCLC locates no other books by the press so it is likely it was also, sadly, the only book published by Janice.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound with black string in a Japanese stab binding, the boards covered with a patterned paper, stylized japanese character(s) in gilt brushed onto the right-hand side of the front board, the "cheap but nice" green paper serving for both endpapers and text, all printing in dark green, the title and each page of text with a decorative border also in dark green of intersecting bamboo poles with an open fan in the upper left-hand corner, the illustration on a fold-out page (thirteen inches long when open) in full colour, the illustration itself measuring 8.75" by 6.5", on the final page a tipped-in envelope containing "a sample of soba" as described above; oblong quarto size (10" wide by 6 5/8" tall), unpaginated, twelve leaves printed only on the recto (other than the copyright statement, printed on the verso of the title page), the page with the illustration a thirteenth leaf, this no. 48 of 50 copies.
___CONDITION: Near fine, the stab binding strong, the boards clean, straight corners without rubbing, the interior is clean and bright, the colours on the illustration deep and true, and entirely free of prior owner markings; the sole condition issue we see is a very small spot of wear to the front board, at the top edge near the stab binding. Overall an utterly charming example of 1970s-style San Francisco small, private press printing.
___CITATION: OCLC no. 4327766.
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