Voices in the Dark; fifteen poems of the prison & the camp
Kirkwood: The Printery [Kay Michael Kramer, printer], 1974. Limited Edition. Hardcover. One of 120 copies, oblong sixmo, 45 pp., signed by Charles Guenther, with prospectus. Fine. Item #CNBR387
Written by the existentialist philosopher and French poet Jean Andre Wahl (1888-1974) during his time in La Sante prison under the German occupation during WWII, and then from the concentration camp at Drancy, near Paris. As Charles Guenther wrote in the Introduction, "Wahl...surely had an impact on philosophers and philosophy in his time...he also influenced French and American poets....for poetry is not only 'eternal'; it is evolving and mutable..."
Published by The Printery, a Missouri private press which published limited editions of books; this was the fourth publication by The Printery, whose works were entirely hand-made. They had been awarded "major book awards for each of [their] previous three volumes" (n.b., from prospectus). In 2019 The Printery was acquired by the Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, where it has been "reincarted as The Printery Book Arts Lab...with a mission to keep letterpress printing alive" (n.b., from the web site of The Printery).
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in quarter brown linen and French marbled paper over boards, gilt lettering on the spine and a stylized line of barbed wire in gilt running vertically down the boards on the linen, fore- and bottom edges uncut, reproduction of a sketch of Wahl as frontispiece (no attribution to artist that we see), each page with the stylized barbed wire decoration in brown presented horizontally between the title of the poem and the text; Cochin type printed damp on La Garde hand-made paper (made in France prior to WWII), oblong measuring 5 3/4" by 7 1/4", pagination: [1-4] 5-43 [1, blank] [colophon, signed by Charles Guenther]. Prospectus is a single sheet measuring 10 7/8" (unfolded) by 6 1/4", the right and bottom edges uncut, the stylized barbed wire decoration in brown beneath the title of the book, folded twice (presumably for mailing).
___CONDITION: Fine overall, the binding clean and without blemish, the corners straight and unrubbed, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; a minute amount of rubbing at the head and tail of the spine, else fine. Prospectus also fine, clean and without wear, with only the original mailing folds.
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