Item #007798 The Poems of William Shakespeare, a publisher's presentation copy, one of fewer than 100 copies finely bound by the publisher, this copy housed in the publisher's slipcase and accompanied by the publisher's December 1939 presentation slip. William Shakespeare.
The Poems of William Shakespeare, a publisher's presentation copy, one of fewer than 100 copies finely bound by the publisher, this copy housed in the publisher's slipcase and accompanied by the publisher's December 1939 presentation slip
The Poems of William Shakespeare, a publisher's presentation copy, one of fewer than 100 copies finely bound by the publisher, this copy housed in the publisher's slipcase and accompanied by the publisher's December 1939 presentation slip
The Poems of William Shakespeare, a publisher's presentation copy, one of fewer than 100 copies finely bound by the publisher, this copy housed in the publisher's slipcase and accompanied by the publisher's December 1939 presentation slip
The Poems of William Shakespeare, a publisher's presentation copy, one of fewer than 100 copies finely bound by the publisher, this copy housed in the publisher's slipcase and accompanied by the publisher's December 1939 presentation slip
The Poems of William Shakespeare, a publisher's presentation copy, one of fewer than 100 copies finely bound by the publisher, this copy housed in the publisher's slipcase and accompanied by the publisher's December 1939 presentation slip
The Poems of William Shakespeare, a publisher's presentation copy, one of fewer than 100 copies finely bound by the publisher, this copy housed in the publisher's slipcase and accompanied by the publisher's December 1939 presentation slip
The Poems of William Shakespeare, a publisher's presentation copy, one of fewer than 100 copies finely bound by the publisher, this copy housed in the publisher's slipcase and accompanied by the publisher's December 1939 presentation slip
The Poems of William Shakespeare, a publisher's presentation copy, one of fewer than 100 copies finely bound by the publisher, this copy housed in the publisher's slipcase and accompanied by the publisher's December 1939 presentation slip
The Poems of William Shakespeare, a publisher's presentation copy, one of fewer than 100 copies finely bound by the publisher, this copy housed in the publisher's slipcase and accompanied by the publisher's December 1939 presentation slip
The Poems of William Shakespeare, a publisher's presentation copy, one of fewer than 100 copies finely bound by the publisher, this copy housed in the publisher's slipcase and accompanied by the publisher's December 1939 presentation slip

The Poems of William Shakespeare, a publisher's presentation copy, one of fewer than 100 copies finely bound by the publisher, this copy housed in the publisher's slipcase and accompanied by the publisher's December 1939 presentation slip

Stamford, Connecticut: The Overbrook Press, 1939. Limited and finely bound edition. Half leather. This massive, strikingly beautiful publication of The Poems of William Shakespeare was produced in a limited edition of 150 copies by the Overbrook press in 1939. This is a finely-bound publisher’s presentation copy, accompanied by the publisher’s 1939 presentation slip, and still housed in original, publisher-supplied slipcase.

This publisher’s half-Morocco binding features brown spine and corner tips, the spine printed in gilt with blind rules at the spine ends and at the transitions to the marbled paper-covered boards. The contents are printed on sumptuously thick, grey, Cromwell handmade paper bound with untrimmed edges The text, in red and black, is handset in letter press with Lucretia type and decorative initials designed by Bruce Rogers. Overbrook issued bound copies in a slipcase of brown cloth with tan paper-covered sides. The physical presence is impressive, weighing more than seven pounds and measuring 18.5 x 12 x 1.75 inches.

The contents contain Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece, The Sonnets, A Lover’s Complaint, The Passionate Pilgrim, and The Phoenix and Turtle. The text is that of the Complete Works “edited by George Lyman Kittredge, Gurney Professor of Literature in Harvard University.” While the limitation was specified as 150 copies, this understates the scarcity; reportedly, more than a third of the edition was never bound. Copies are elusive thus, bound, presented with the publisher’s compliments slip, and housed in the original slipcase.

Condition is near fine. The binding is square, tight, and clean. We note only mild toning and a little freckling to the spine and light wear to the corners, which appears solely the result of contact with the slipcase. The vast expanse of the marbled paper-covered boards is notably clean and fresh. The contents are immaculate, with no toning, spotting, or soiling. The printed publisher’s presentation card, typed in four lines, reads “With cordial Season’s Greetings | FRANK ALTSCHUL | Stamford, Connecticut | December 1939”. The publisher’s slipcase approaches near fine, showing only mild shelf scuffing to extremities and light soiling to the paper-covered sides.

Please anticipate shipping charges commensurate with the size of this book and careful packing to protect it in transit.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) – whom the late literary critic and scholar Harold Bloom claimed invented the human, forever changing our consciousness with characters such as Hamlet and Falstaff – left a mammoth legacy whose continuing influence is difficult to overstate. His stature so dominates English letters that it verges on biblical proportion. To the point, Shakespeare is often assumed to have been born on 23 April, St. George’s Day, so that England’s national poet and her patron saint share the same day of celebration, akin to how Christ’s birthday is asserted onto the winter solstice.

Shakespeare’s plays are the most conspicuous aspect of his literary legacy, but, as Robert Graves states in his Preface, “Shakespeare built up a double reputation in literature; as a classic English playwright and as author of the Sonnets, his profound meditations on love. In the plays we are frequently aware of Shakespeare the poet; in the Sonnets we recognize his role as dramatist. The author of the Sonnets became incomparably greater than his contemporaries precisely because he needed to see himself and his beloved in dramatic and human terms.”

A successful financier, Frank Altschul (1887-1981) had a keen interest in books, public affairs, and philanthropy. Altschul improbably established Overbrook Press in an abandoned pigpen on his 450-acre Connecticut estate. From such humble origins, Overbrook Press specialized in exquisitely printed and illustrated limited edition books for collectors, with a reputation among bibliophiles for fine typography and careful bookmaking. Item #007798

Price: $2,400.00

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