LEC vs. HP Faerie Queene

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LEC vs. HP Faerie Queene

1UK_History_Fan
Feb 18, 2012, 2:59pm

Well thanks to our dear friend Chris and his wonderful Books and Vines blog, I decided that I absolutely needed to own a version of the Faerie Queene illustrated by the indomitable and incomparable Agnes Miller Parker. Obviously, I initially sought out the LEC version, but when nothing affordable came my way, I decided to snatch up an inexpensive (under $20) copy of the Heritage Press printing, if for no other reason than to tide me over until I find a nice and affordable copy of the LEC. While I was pleasantly surprised at the condition (none of the usual spine fade and both book and slipcase are in near mint condition), my copy alas is lacking a Sandglass pamphlet. But upon reflection and after further research, I realize that I have never seen a copy of this for sale with the Sandglass. So for our resident experts, I pose two questions:

1) Did the Heritage Press version come with a Sandglass (the only thing that makes me suspect it may not have was the joint publication with the OUP)

2) Does anyone own both the LEC and the Heritage Press? I am very curious whether I should just be satisfied with my lovely HP copy or whether it is worthwhile to pay the extra $ for the LEC. While the signature would be great to have, since I am a major fan of Parker's work, they are after all B&W illustrations, and I generally only duplicate titles with an LEC if the color illustrations are clearly superior, which is a non-issue here.

So is the LEC clearly superior and worth the extra effort to find and expense?

Also, in researching this topic in the LT old threads, I noticed a few members do own the LEC, I believe one or two of you actually have the monthly letter as well. I don't believe this has been posted to the Dropbox share account yet. Can someone please upload this? Please :-)

2Django6924
Feb 18, 2012, 6:05pm

1) Yes, the HP did come with a Sandglass (IV:18). When I replace my scanner, I will upload it to the Dropbox.

2) I own both the HP and the LEC. The HP is a wonderful reproduction and it is the one I read. The LEC version has gorgeous letterpress, beautiful rag paper with a laid finish and deckled edges. It is also LARGE and HEAVY in two volumes. My LEC books are perfect condition, even the paper dust jackets exhibit no fading, discoloration, etc., which means the books were never read. The weight of the books and moving them around has split every seam of the slipcase, however, and that is another indication that the LEC is not really a reading copy--unless you have a library table and like to read thereupon. The Heritage edition is printed offset, very beautifully, on much thinner, but still lovely smooth-finish paper with straight-cut edges. The offset process reduced the size to approximately 85% of the LEC size, but there is no noticeable loss of detail.

Is the LEC clearly superior?--yes, of course it is if you prefer letterpress and prints from wood engravings on thick, textured paper. Is it worth the additional cost (and weight and shelf space) if you want a gorgeous version that you will actually read? I'm not so sure. When I went through my library recently with the idea of freeing up shelf space, and especially considering the folly of having both LEC and HP editions of the same work (not original HP editions which are unique), I have to say that the LEC Faerie Queene is one with which I could bear to part. I suppose were I a bigger fan of the poem, I would be more reluctant to make this call, but since I have never been able to return to the poem since I had to read the first 3 cantos and the Mutability Cantos as a graduate student, I suspect that freeing up and additional 5 inches of shelf space will be the deciding criteria in the long run.

PS: My LEC FQ is missing the Monthly Letter.

3busywine
Feb 18, 2012, 8:45pm

I think I have the monthly letter, will check when home on thursday...

4UK_History_Fan
Feb 19, 2012, 8:51am

> 2
Thank you for the detailed response, that is EXACTLY the sort of comparison I was hoping for!

5busywine
Feb 19, 2012, 11:57pm

>4 UK_History_Fan:, the Monthly Letter has been added to Dropbox.

6leccol
Editado: Feb 20, 2012, 3:25pm

You just have to be determined! After looking for an LEC of the Faerie Queen for a number of years, just two months ago, I found one in Mint condition on EBay. The book is Mint, like new, the dust covers are near Mint, the original slipcase is Fine; however there is no Monthly Letter.

I spent considerable money on HPs, FSs, and EPs before deciding to limit my collection strictly to LECs, and I have not regreted doing this.

The seller, I found out privately, also had Mint copies of RLS's A Child's Garden of Verses and Walton's The Compleate Angler. So I scooped these up as well. Now, on a grand day, they all arrived from a bookseller in California. The Faerie Queen was as described above: Mint condition. The RLS was near Fine, but still a good find, even for my discriminating condition tastes. The Walton was indeed Mint, but the slipcase had a bump on one corner, not enoughto complain about.

But they all had that mouldy basment smelll. I promptly called my binder (via email) to ask what he used to eliminate basement odors. He gave me the name of a woman in New England. After reaching her, I bought about 20 pounds of her miracle-working pellets and followed her instructions. I bagged the books, dust covers, and slipcases, all in separate sealable baggies. I set them aside and left them alone in these super-sized baggies for about six weeks.

When I opened the baggies after six weeks: Viola, all smells had been eradicated. I also had purchased a copy of The Diary of a Country Priest in Mint condition with that irrefutable basement smell. So into a baggie with the magic pellets, and its smell was eradicated in about four weeks.

The problem as I see it, is that booksellers are getting away from cement and mortar stores. They are becoming more and more internet only sellers. But they have to store their extensive inventory somewhere, and it's probably in their basement. Why else should such fine books have that basement smell.

But as someone once said, "All's Well That End's Well."

7kdweber
Feb 20, 2012, 4:03pm

>6 leccol: Considering the size of your LEC collection, it's pretty amazing you were able to scoop up 3 works that you were missing from your seller. Would you please share the information on the magic pellets. I've previously heard of people using cat litter or activated charcoal to eliminate musty smells.

8UK_History_Fan
Feb 20, 2012, 5:31pm

> 6
Congratulations Don, those are indeed amazing finds in those conditions, I am especially envious of the LEC Faerie Queene and the Dairy of a Country Priest.

9leccol
Feb 20, 2012, 5:31pm

I will have to look up the woman who sells these magic pellets. I will email you the info .One thing she told me was that it took a long time for the books to get that musty smell so you can't expect to get rid of it over night. I emailed the seller about the smell, and never received a reply. He probably thought I was going to return his books.

From the smell these books had, it took a little over 5 weeks to get rid of it. I had to buy some gigantic freezer bags to fit in one volume of the Fairie Queen. I think the dosage was 2 heaping tablespoons per book. The pellets wont hurt the book so you don't have to be too careful. After adding the pellets, I shook the bag to get the pellets distributed around the bag. After removing a book, I used a small paint brush to brush off pellets from the books. You can save the pellets for reuse.

I am in the process of listing all my books on LT. Listings will include all my LECs plus all others I wish to sell.

10Django6924
Feb 20, 2012, 11:22pm

>9 leccol:

Perhaps you would consider posting the vendor of the magic pellets here? I'm sure many of us have at least one book with that obnoxious aroma (I've been trying to eradicate if from my Tom Benton-signed copy of Green Grow the Lilacs for a few months.)

11britchey
Feb 20, 2012, 11:33pm

>10 Django6924:
I've got a seriously musty Westvaco edition of Dickens' American Notes. It's been in a bin with some charcoal kitty litter for almost a month, but the smell persists.

12leccol
Feb 21, 2012, 4:48pm

For those interested in the magic pellets which eradicate musty smells, contact:

Joyce Godsey
gods1216@comcast.net
978-905-2176

They really worked on my books. With the large quartos such as the LEC Fairie Queen, the large freezer bags which have a zipper on one end are the best to use. Don't squeeze all the air out of the bag because there must be some air to transfer the smell into the pellets. Resist unsealing and opening the bag before enough time has gone by for the smell to transfer. It took 5-1/2 weeks to get the smell out of my books, and they didn't smell as badly as I have observed on other books. Ms Godsey says her pellets can be reused.

She has a web site so you can google her if you want.

13maisiedotes
Mayo 17, 4:18pm

>2 Django6924: Sorry to revive such an old thread, but as I just bought a HP Faerie Queene yesterday, I had to ask about the following: "The offset process reduced the size (of the HP) to approximately 85% of the LEC size."

Could you please explain how offsetting takes up less space than typesetting?

14housefulofpaper
Mayo 17, 7:25pm

>13 maisiedotes:

The pages of the LEC edition would have been photographed as part of the offset printing process.

It's a step in creating the printing plate that's fitted over the print roller. That fact allows for reproduction at a different size to the original.

15maisiedotes
Mayo 17, 8:30pm

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