Publisher: David McKay Co
399pp with 12 color illustrations and 59 black and white illustrations by Arthur Rackham. Royal octavo (9 3/4" x 7 1/2") issued in red cloth with gilt lettering and deocorative vignet to cover and spine. Here we find a wide assortment of Hans Christian Andersen's well-loved tales beautifully illustrated by Arthur Rackham. Included in the collection are old favorites such as Thumbelina, The Princess and the Pea, The Emperor's New Clothes, and The Little Match Girl, all affectionately illustrated by the artist. 1st American edition.
Andersen: It's impossible today to fully understand the sensation these little stories caused, for nothing quite like them had ever been seen in Danish literature. The tales were revolutionary for several reasons. Across Europe, the field of children's fiction was still in its very early days and was still dominated by dull, pious stories intended to teach and inculcate moral values. Andersen's magical tales were rich as chocolate cake after a diet of wholesome gruel, and the narrative voice spoke familiarly, warmly, conspiratorially to children, rather than preaching to them from on high. Despite the Christian imagery recurrent in the tales (typical of nineteenth century fiction), these are remarkably earthy, anarchic, occasionally even amoral stories — comical, cynical, fatalistic by turns, rather than morally instructive. And unlike the folk tales collected by the Grimms, set in distant lands once upon a time, Andersen set his tales in Copenhagen and other familiar, contemporary settings, mixed fantastical descriptions with common ordinary ones, and invested everyday household objects (toys, dishes, etc.) with personalities and magic. Even the language of the stories was fresh and radical, as Jackie Wullschlager points out in Hans Christian Andersen: The Life of a Storyteller: "The raw and unpolished Danish of these first stories was so radical as to be considered vulgar at a time when literary convention demanded rigorous, high-flown sentiment of the sort practiced by the playwright Heiberg. Andersen, by contrast, was deliberately direct and informal."
Rackham: Arthur Rackham is perhaps the most well known artist who illustrated books during that era dubbed the "Golden Age" of illustration which spanned the years 1870 - 1930. Because many of Rackham's books have been reprinted in modern times, book lovers of today have been able to enjoy his fanciful artwork. But to truly appreciate his skill and talent, there is nothing that compares to the quality of printing and sharpness of reproduction that appears in the limited editions and first editions of his works.
Corners bumped, corners and spine ends rubbed, spine sunned, inner hinges begining, heavy wear at heal edges toward spine. An about very good lacking dust jacket.
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