San Francisco / New York: The Arion Press / Grove Press, 2006. Wiley, William T. Limited Edition. Hardcover. Artist book: Number 68 of 300, elephant folio size,  pp., signed by William T. Wiley, with prospectus and invitation to the publication party. Trade book: octavo size, 365 pp. Fine. Item #18052111
Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) is considered one of the last modernist writers, and a key figure in what is known as the "Theatre of the Absurd." Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature (1969), most of us are aware of Beckett and "Godot"; however, as the prospectus states, "his works still cry out for explanations - explanations that Beckett himself adamantly refused to give". For anyone who has been grappling with this explanation, this wonderful artist's book will shed new light: it is not the play, it is ABOUT the play. Andrew Hoyem designed the artist's book to illuminate the play itself, which is why it was published with the trade, bi-lingual edition which we also offer here.
This artist's book was published in honor of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Beckett, the Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, poet and translator. American artist William T. Wiley uses wordplay and visual puns to carry the reader deeper still into irreverence, with fifty colour plates each with five lines of text beneath which offer a synopsis of the play or with stage directions. The artist book should be read with the play itself; it is a book written out of love and admiration by a loyal aficionado of Beckett's plays.
___DESCRIPTION: Artist book bound with blue cloth backstrip, yellow paper spine label with black lettering, yellow paper sides imprinted with images by Wiley, fifty prints made from photopolymer plates, three for each: the black line and the blue and yellow tints, two prints in black only (frontispiece and tailpiece); Century Expanded type partially handset, Hahnemühle linen paper, elephant folio size (15.5" by 10 3/8"), [1-4] 5-65  [1 colophon] pp., limited edition, this number 68 of 300 copies, signed by William T. Wiley. The slipcase is designed to match the book, with the same blue cloth on the edges, the same spine label, the two sides covered in the same yellow paper; however, the lettering is a wordplay on the palindrome "To Dog Godot" which is surrounded by a field of potatoes. Loosely laid in are the prospectus for the book, a single sheet folded once for printing (folded in half for mailing), information about the book on the front and back pages, sample pages with illustrations on the two inner pages), measuring just under 15" by just under 10"; and a small card invitation to the publication party to be held on December 18, 2006. Accompanying the artist book is a trade publication by the Grove Press of "Waiting for Godot", presented in both French and English, bound in glossy paper over boards, black along the shelfback and grey on both boards, black, white, and blue lettering, a notice tipped onto the front pastedown that this copy accompanies the Arion Press artist book, black endpapers, octavo size (9.25" by 6.25"), pagination: [i-iv] v-viii, [1-3] 4-357.
___CONDITION: Artist book fine overall, internally bright and free of prior owner markings, text block is tight and square with solid hinges, covers are clean, corners are straight and unrubbed; a minute abrasion to the paper of the back board where it meets the cloth, overall a fine copy. Slipcase also fine overall, strong and sturdy, the cloth neither sunned nor rubbed, the paper label and sides clean and unrubbed; a single, shallow mark to one side, else fine. Prospectus fine with only original fold, publication party invitation fine. The trade edition of the play near fine, clean, the binding strong with solid hinges, free of prior owner markings; a short, very shallow mark to the front, else fine. The ensemble presents a lovely homage to Beckett and the "most significant English language play of the 20th century" (from Wiki, per a poll conducted in Britain in 1990).
___CITATION: Arion Press Catalogue, no. 77
___POSTAGE: Please note that due to size, additional postage may apply; please inquire for details.
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