New York: Random House [Pynson Printers], 1932. Kent, Rockwell. Limited Edition. Hardcover. No. 272 of 950 copies, folio size, 152 pp., with thumbprint of Rockwell Kent. Near fine / fair. Item #20011601
Believed to the the earliest European vernacular epic poem, "Beowulf", although composed likely in the early 8th century CE, came to us today through a single manuscript dated ca. 1000 and was not put into print until 1815. However, the story continues to capture the minds and imaginations of generation after generation, with its themes of heroes, monsters, royal houses, and the ultimate death of Beowulf.
Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) was an American painter and illustrator who bridged the artistic gap between Victorian and Modern art; highly regarded, he is perhaps best known today for his illustrations, particularly in books such as "Moby Dick" (published in 1930) and this work, which contains eight original lithographs. Kent exhibits an amazing ability to wring sheer emotion from his art, and this work displays his genius when it was at its height. The book design was by Kent, with outstanding printing by the Pynson Printers, printed on heavy paper, the text in two columns, with large decorative initial capitals in red and blue.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full grey linen (black and white threads alternating) with white lettering stamped on the front and spine, image of the head of a helmeted warrior stamped on the front in white, fore-edge uncut, title page in red with one of the eight lithographs by Kent, each section opens with a prologue in red, the text with a large decorative initial designed by Kent in blue and red, text in black in two columns, six full-page lithographs bound in throughout, the eighth lithograph a small vignette at the colophon which bears the thumbprint of Rockwell Kent in lieu of a written signature, this copy no. 272 of 950 copies; hand-set in hammer uncial, folio size (13.5" by 10.75"), pagination: [i-iv], 1-146 [147, blank] [148, colophon]. In the original publisher's plain tan paper dust jacket with the single word "Beowulf" printed in black on the spine.
___CONDITION: Volume could almost be deemed fine, with clean boards free of wear, straight corners without rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; a speck or two of soil and some dustiness to the text block eges, else fine. The dust jacket, alas, is fair to good only with overall chipping including large portions of the spine and a long triangular closed tear down the front panel.
___CITATION: Rockwellkentiana, p. 63.
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