Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Royal Treatment for the Bard

Feeling a bit like an elf must feel on December 26th—the task of setting out a bigger list of cover designs for our Fall 2010 catalog is behind us. (If you don't know, I'm part of a team that designs over 500 new covers a year for Dover) In what I believe is our biggest list ever, there are at least six books that I will discuss here on VIEW in the coming weeks. Many won't see publication for a few months, but they are all in the works. A few of these are new titles that will be appearing in our Calla line. Most Calla titles are near facsimiles to early or first editions that appeared a century ago.

Calla is a line that Dover started a little over a year ago, the brainchild of Dover's current president. The line is near to my heart, for obvious reasons. It's aim is to produce beautifully crafted books, like so much of the material that I go through to put monographs together. Hardcovers, foil stamping, endpapers; the features that make books special— and great stories with even better illustrations. Their pricing is reasonable, and they are produced entirely within the US.

First one I want to look at is Shakespeare's drama, Hamlet. A great and classic story, but widely available. What makes this edition special?— The amazing line illustrations of John Austen. Austen had entered illustration as a career later than most—his first illustrations not being published until he was 35—but he found an interesting track working in a similar style to one of his artistic idols, Aubrey Beardsley. The twist, is that this group of images is something of a bridge between Beardsley's complex design-heavy style, and the influence of Art Deco on illustration in 1922. It was indeed a turning point for Austen, who began to simplify further after this project, never returning to the level of involvement that some of these images contain. It's a beautiful package from cover to cover. I'll get back to you shortly with a release date.

I'm attending BEA (BookExpo America) for the first time this year. I'll be around the Dover booth, but out prowling the floor too, on May 27th.

The book has been announced for a September 16th release, at $25.00

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