LEC Shakespeare

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LEC Shakespeare

1aaronpepperdine
Abr 3, 2013, 2:28am

I hope this doesn't come across as boasting, but I had to share my excitement and none of my friends at home are particularly interested.

I was perusing Amazon for LECs, and I found a seller who had listed 27 volumes of the LEC Shakespeare set together for $200. I bought it immediately, and was even more surprised to find when the boxes arrived that they in fact contained all 37 volumes - spines a bit darkened, a few corners bumped, - but over all in great shape, and containing all of the original letters.

I have wanted the LEC Shakespeare set ever since first reading Django's praise, and I had assumed it would remain out of this student's budget for quite awhile. But now it is on my shelf, for a total of $203.99, and it is just as wonderful as Django has said.

Also, Leccol, if you read this, I am now even more fully in support of your re-binding project. Mine at least show a bit more wear than most of my LECs (perhaps due to the lack of slipcases), and sturdy new bindings would be wonderful.

2starkimarki
Abr 3, 2013, 3:19am

Gosh, congratulations! I wish you much joy with your incredible deal.

3ironjaw
Abr 3, 2013, 9:06am

Oh my God, I think I am going to go and hide in hole for some time :-) Congratulations, that was a great deal. Alas I don't check Amazon at all for LEC, maybe I should? Let's hope you can share the last of the letters with us in Dropbox

4HuxleyTheCat
Abr 3, 2013, 9:12am

Super deal, Aaron! And so nice that the set has ended up in the hands of someone who appreciates it for what it is rather than as a source for breaking up for prints.

5LolaWalser
Abr 3, 2013, 11:22am

That's truly amazing! Steal of the century! Um... care to buy me a lottery ticket, Aaron? ;)

I know the US has super cheap domestic shipping, but still, 37 large volumes--I don't see what profit the seller thought he'd make.

If only they were all like that!

6aaronpepperdine
Abr 3, 2013, 4:52pm

>3 ironjaw: Yeah, I'll look into getting the rest of the letters up!

7UK_History_Fan
Abr 3, 2013, 6:48pm

3, 6
What do you perceive to be missing? I have posted a complete set of letters (I thought).

8aaronpepperdine
Abr 3, 2013, 7:10pm

>7 UK_History_Fan: I actually haven't looked at the Shakespeare letters in the folder for quite some time, so I am ignorant here. If you've posted them, I'm sure they are up! I didn't mean to slight your efforts - I find scanning to be a tedious business, and I really appreciate your (and all the other contributors) work on the Dropbox.

9kdweber
Abr 3, 2013, 8:20pm

Great find!

10Django6924
Abr 4, 2013, 9:55am

I echo Fiona's statement--this set, which I think is the LEC's greatest achievement, needs to be in the library of someone who appreciates it. There seems to be a moral in this story that is almost worthy of Aesop--the package that most would not bid on because it wasn't that expensive and didn't appear complete and they were holding out for something better turns out to be a treasure.

Congratulations!

11booksforreading
Abr 4, 2013, 10:58am

Congratulations, Aaron!
This is a great deal, and the books find a home of someone who cares about them! Lucky for both you and the books! :)

12kdweber
Jun 5, 2015, 7:06pm

I just ordered/received Shakespeare: A Review and a Preview. I've just sent in my order for the complete set for $166 in the enclosed postage paid envelope. Seriously though, it's always surprising to me how poorly most LECs have held up with regards to cost. A quick check online with an inflation calculator has $166 in 1929 worth ~$2300 today - considerably more than the price of my recently purchased set.

13BuzzBuzzard
Jun 5, 2015, 7:16pm

>12 kdweber: but, but they did not have television back then. books must have been a main source of entertainment. now we have netflix, HBO and this thing called the internet. nobody is interested in books that on top of everything take awful lot of space. On a more serious note $2,300 is a lot of money even for the average american.

14ironjaw
Editado: Jun 6, 2015, 6:21am

Be glad that we are in 2015 and not 1938. $2300 is serious now and it's equivalent was more so back than. Fine press books have always been the rich man's garden.

15HuxleyTheCat
Jun 14, 2015, 1:04pm

Most complete (and partial) sets I've seen generally seem to be in good condition with the exception of the spines. Has anyone had any experience of restoration work, and whether it would be possible to renovate a set by improving the condition of the spines without going for an (in my view) undesirable entire rebind.

16Django6924
Jun 14, 2015, 1:24pm

>15 HuxleyTheCat:

My very first LEC Shakespeare was a single copy of Macbeth, which I found in a bookstore in Hollywood--there were no other volumes. The spine was mottled brown, and I took it to the binder I used to rebind my LEC Holy Bible and asked if they could keep the boards and replace the spine with a similar binding. They suggested that it would be easier and cheaper to just rebind entirely.

Luckily, I found a complete set soon after.

17HuxleyTheCat
Jun 14, 2015, 1:29pm

>16 Django6924: Thanks Robert, that's um, discouraging...

18Django6924
Jun 14, 2015, 11:52pm

>17 HuxleyTheCat:

Sorry, Fiona--it's the narrow but flat and square linen spine that made them demur. They are a large bindery with a very busy staff who bind scripts for the movie industry (who have deep pockets), and perhaps had I taken it to a smaller shop, they would have been more eager. You might have much better luck on your side of the pond.

19EclecticIndulgence
Editado: Ago 1, 2019, 12:38am

Did each volume come with a detached commentary insert (similar to a monthly letter)? Did the volumes come with slipcases?

I know Richard III was Eichenberg. Did he illustrate any of the other plays?

20Django6924
Ago 1, 2019, 12:51am

>19 EclecticIndulgence:

Commentaries, yes; slipcase, no (although a Monthly Letter, Macy proposed that he had made arrangements with a bindery to provide open-top slipcases--somewhat like the ones the LEC Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire came in--at a reasonable price for subscribers who wanted them. I seem to remember that it would have taken 3 of these slipcases to house the entire collection (but I don't trust my memory entirely any more), and that payment should be made directly to the bindery.

I believe all Commentaries have been uploaded to the LEC ML Google drive created by Faisel (ironjaw).

21BuzzBuzzard
Ago 1, 2019, 6:08am

>19 EclecticIndulgence: >20 Django6924: I have seen LEC sets with individual slipcases that did not look after market.

22booksforreading
Editado: Ago 1, 2019, 1:09pm

>19 EclecticIndulgence:
There are rare separate volumes of all commentaries together, bound by the club and designed to fit with the rest of the set. I own one of the copies, so I know that they exist.

As an afterthought, I remembered that the volume of commentaries also includes some other materials, including pre-publication ones. I am away from home and cannot check to see what exactly is included there before the commentaries.

23NYCFaddict
Ago 1, 2019, 1:48pm

I believe I am correct in saying every volume had a Commentary EXCEPT:

Henry IV Part II
Henry VI Part II
Henry VI Part III

No, Eichenberg did not do any other Shakespeare for the LEC.

I have also seen sets with individual slipcases that did not look aftermarket.

24WildcatJF
Ago 1, 2019, 3:38pm

Eichenberg did work on other Shakespeare artwork (some examples are in his book The Wood and the Graver), but sadly I don't think that project actually saw release...if I recall correctly.

25Django6924
Ago 1, 2019, 5:39pm

>23 NYCFaddict:

The Commentary for Henry IV covered both parts 1 and 2; likewise the Commentary for Henry VI included parts 2 and 3.

The plays were issued by sending three volumes per month with four being sent in the 12th month. I can only recall a mention of the multi-volume slipcases which I mentioned above. I will try to find more information on my day off.

26Django6924
Ago 1, 2019, 11:21pm

Well, I was lucky and actually found the reference I mentioned after work today. From the March, 1939 Monthly Letter for Religio Medici:

"WE would like also to provide our members with a container in which the volumes of the Shakespeare can be kept. We have designed one, which we think fills the bill admirably.

This container is a long oblong box. There is no top. The back is of the same height as the volumes. The front is only an inch in height, intended to keep the volumes from sliding forward. The sides slope from the height of the back down to the lack-of-height of the front. The box is covered in a buckram to match the buckram used for binding the Shakespeare, The inside of the box is lined with flannel to soften the contact with the volumes.

There is a simple reason for this design. If the container is placed on a regular bookshelf, with the volumes in it, it appears non-existent. If however it is placed on a table, or anywhere other than the bookshelf, it will firmly hold all the volumes in place.

We would like to present one of these containers to each of our subscribers. But we cannot afford to do so. It is a matter of confession on our part, that we have placed too low a price upon our Shakespeare. We have undertaken to deliver three volumes in each instalment to each member of the Club for ten dollars, and we now know that the books will cost us more than this to make. It is our computation that each of these boxes, wrapped and delivered to a member, will cost five dollars; and it is obvious we cannot ad seventy-five hundred dollars to our budget of expenses.

We will therefore agree to deliver one of these boxes to each member who will send us an extra check for 5 dollars in order to posses one."

Now whether each volume, delivered 3 or 4 volumes per month, had any kind of a shipping carton, is something that apparently would be known only by any original subscribers, and I wonder if any may still be with us. If anyone may possess one of these original containers, I hope they will provide information. It seems unlikely that each volume would have had its own slipcase, especially considering Macy's comment that each 3 volume package cost subscribers 10 dollars, and that that was more than it cost to make.

27NYCFaddict
Ago 3, 2019, 8:01pm

UK-based GMD please take note:

In the course of completing my set and acquiring the Commentaries (yes, count me among the crazed who sometimes buys a duplicate LEC just for the ML ...) I acquired 29 duplicates -- almost another full set.

Is anyone in the UK interested in any/all these duplicates? I ask because on 14 August I am flying to the UK to see my family so could offer a "transatlantic service" as I have once in the past, when my suitcase was filled with five boxes for UK-based GMD.

I will be in Epsom (with central London also a possibility for a meet up) and in Dorset that week, so there are two geographic possibilities for a handover. There is also the possibility of using a courier. Either way, this would be a very economic way to acquire a near-complete set. (It would use up most of my baggage allowance, so I cannot offer to bring over any other LECs.)

I have traded with at least a third of the regulars on GMD, who I'm sure can vouch for me.

If interested, please send me a private message with your wants list.

28ironjaw
Editado: Ago 6, 2019, 11:06am

Pm’ed you. I’ll have look later this evening to find out which ones I have and send you a list

29NYCFaddict
Ago 6, 2019, 12:32pm

Hi Faisel, I just PM'ed you.

UK LEC collectors please note, I also have a duplicate copy of Froissart’s Chronicles of England, France, Spain and Other Places Adjoining that I could probably find room for in my suitcase. This is a big, heavy book (in slipcase, but no ML) -- so this would be a great opportunity to save a small fortune on international postage.

30GusLogan
Ago 20, 2019, 2:31pm

Frabjous day! I now have in my possession this set, including the Review and Preview but excluding, sadly, the two volumes of sonnets. Forgive the detail to follow, I am partly revelling and partly setting up an ask for advice.

The set is truly magnificent. I am grateful to all who have justly praised it here. I’m more than happy with the condition of this particular set. It was sold as Near Fine, and perhaps that’s fair; bookplates are present, and I understand this significantly reduces the value. I don’t mind them much and anyway certainly hope not to sell the set. Annoyingly, someone has tried to remove a few of the bookplates and failed to do so completely, presumably then giving up. Apart from this it’s in better shape than many or even most books/sets I have bought as Fine - some very slight smudging in a couple of places, the faintest darkening of some spines at tops and bottoms. Offsetting here and there, which I think is par for the course. And those are the worst ones - most look entirely unread, some partially uncut. The set has been a library copy and every volume is wrapped in labelled Fidelity Onion Skin, somewhat brittle but nowhere near as bad as the glassine I’ve encountered. Six strikingly sturdy dark brown slipcases were provided. I am assuming they’re made of archival materials as the books are so well preserved despite being 80 years old! They are a good inch deeper than the books, which makes access a little fiddly but provides shade, I guess.

So here’s where I need help: how shall I keep these 38 pearls shiny?

1. Armour.

A. I had intended to try dlphcoracl’s Dura-Lar dust wrappers (well, making my own I mean!) mentioned in another thread. But would I be crazy to discard the onion skin, which seems to have done such a fine job? It does obscure the glorious spines. Presumably Dura-Lar doesn’t protect against light? If I’m not looking at this as an investment or myself as a caretaker, but as a consumer, should I just enjoy them as they slowly darken? I don’t much like the brown ones I’ve seen in pictures, I must admit.
(Surely I shouldn’t go... naked?)

B. Keep the slipcases? I may move house sooner or later, but they will noticeably darken a bookshelf.
(Also - wouldn’t it be neat to find/make a single slipcase in which to carry whichever voiume is on the go?)

2. relatedly, Shelving. I live in a 50s house in Sweden. The indoor temperature varies, nudged by various technologies towards 20 degrees Celsius. Almost every room has windows. The options are:

A. In a closed cabinet (non-glass doors) in our west-facing and therefore evening-sunned bedroom, where 2-4 people (we have small children rather than an exciting way of life!) sleep, and therefore breathe, and by our body heat change the temperature, every night. No display joy. Limited air circulation in cabinet A Bad Thing?

B. In an attic-like room directly under the roof with no windows. Some temperature variations, probably very slightly higer risk of say silverfish or similar. No sun. No display joy.

C. High up in a bookshelf on the southern wall of an east-facing study with a guest bed and therefore very occasional overnight visitors in it. The position of the window and shelves and a sloping ceiling means little direct sunlight, I think. Next door to bathroom, though. Some risk of airborn moisture. Display joy!

D. High up in another bookshelf which is in the west-facing living room, northern wall, very limited direct sunlight as in C but next to the kitchen (weak filter fan above cooker). The kitchen has a door, but this is rarely (and will rarely be) closed. Maximum display joy!

E. Impossibly, convince wife to put more expensive shelving in stairwell, where there are no windows. Nobody sleeps, or cooks, in or directly next to the stairwell. Display joy, either heightened or marred by the impression on visitors that some sort of non-ideally located shrine has been createned...

Any advice warmly welcome! I am leaning towards 2.D or A. I have measured the humidity in all the rooms mentioned and found acceptable levels as far as I could make out from online reading about storing books...

Thanks to anyone who’s read this far. The GMD’s are amazing.

31NYCFaddict
Ago 20, 2019, 5:07pm

With this set, sunning is the major worry. I am sure the other GMDs will agree.

32GusLogan
Ago 25, 2019, 5:19am

>31 NYCFaddict: thanks! I guess if I keep the onion skins AND use a cabinet I’m going above and beyond.

Though I do get a bit philosophical about it all - if a book has a beautiful spine and nobody sees it, what’s the point... so maybe eventually I’ll spend some time and money to try Dura-Lar in a cabinet.

But are bedrooms a big no-no for fine books? I can’t google my way to an answer on this. It must be worse than a study/library, I reckon, but how bad?

33BuzzBuzzard
Ago 25, 2019, 10:44am

For what it’s worth I vouch for Dura-Lar. It looks nice, keeps the boards clean and if you are so inclined you can put it over the glassine. Get a cutting board too.

34kdweber
Ago 25, 2019, 11:01am

>32 GusLogan: I use a lot of Dura-Lar as well. It's not expensive, I buy it in big rolls. I second BuzzBuzzard's suggestion of getting a cutting board.

35GusLogan
Ago 26, 2019, 3:55am

>33 BuzzBuzzard:
>34 kdweber:
Thank you!

Oh, and the sort of info I was looking for myself when looking for this set:

I found this on Abebooks on an expiring well-who-knows-how-legit discount of 10 % which was generously extended by a couple of days as I prevaricated. With the discount I paid 1 200 USD plus a serious chunk for transatlantic shipping, which I think was reasonable - not a great deal with bookplates, but I haven’t seen a set for sale in better condition otherwise in about 8 mths of looking. With the poetry volumes and sans bookplates it would have been an amazing deal!

36NYCFaddict
Nov 7, 2019, 4:51pm

The multi-volume slipcases can be seen here:

www.ebay.ca/itm/LIMITED-EDITIONS-CLUB-William-Shakespeare-Slipcases-Clean-Set-Illustrated/174089264055?hash=item2888875bb7:g:wpwAAOSwiMBdxIwz

37Django6924
Nov 8, 2019, 3:04pm

>36 NYCFaddict:

Thank you for posting! The first time I've actually seen a set with slipcases! I wonder if these are custom, as they don't look like the ones described in one of the Monthly Letters.

(By the way, here is a smaller version of your link above:

https://tinyurl.com/y38mwsea

38GusLogan
Editado: Nov 15, 2019, 7:21am

>37 Django6924:

For what it’s worth they look _very_ similar - I can’t definitely say identical from those photos - to the ones I received (purchase described, probably too wordily, above >30 GusLogan:).

Edit: ... but indeed not at all similar to the slipcases described in the ML!

39ubiquitousuk
Ene 5, 2:54pm

Would someone be willing to articulate in a nutshell what it is about these LEC shakespeares that make them the pinnacle of LEC's output?

I am feeling sorely tempted to slightly reduce the size of my Letterpress Shakespeare collection, which I don't think I'll ever complete, in order to fund a full set of the LECs (largely inspired by the universality of praise for these volumes here and on the various blogs that have covered them). But I'm still missing the crux of what makes them so great. Pictures don't much seem to do them justice: I'm not a fan of the binding design and some of the illustrations look a bit hit and miss (others, admittedly, are quite special). Are these much better "in person" or am I missing something else important?

40BionicJim
Ene 5, 3:57pm

For me, it's the presswork. While I've not yet held a Folio Society Letterpress to be able to compare directly with what your experience is, when I first saw a copy of Troilus and Cressida at a local shop, I fell in love with the beauty of the letters on the page - with a significant "bite" so the tactile experience is certainly there. The covers are special because they have a design that is of the era when they were written, but they are all the same (except the separate Poems). While the art can be "hit or miss" as you say, it is definitely printed beautifully, so that can be appreciated beyond the artistic merit. Finally, the experience of reading it in the First Folio language and spelling makes it a magical experience; it seems more natural (though Farjeon editor did replace the s and f characters so it is more readable to a modern). This series is what opened the world of fine books to me and I have not lost my appreciation of their overall quality. I read at least one per month, with pleasure. End of nutshell.

41GusLogan
Ene 5, 4:00pm

>39 ubiquitousuk:

I know next to nothing about books though I’m avid reader of this subforum, but I’ll try an answer because it’s nice to talk. Maybe there’s some worth, or people assign some, to Macy’s own opinion - he was quite honest about his tendency to rate many, but far from all, LEC editions highly, leading to an inability to reliably indicate a top 10 or 50 (see the Quarto-M), but he did call these the jewel in the crown. There’s the Bruce Rogers angle (not just one book of his, but 37/39 consistently executed!), though I’m sure the fact that he only signed the Poems annoys some. And it’s Shakespeare! Surely there’s some halo effect there. And then there’s the range of illustrators. I love the set, I’m literally proud to own it. But then I do like the binding design and the interiors. I can also see the appeal of the FS LE set - I own a couple of unnumbered ones, and there’s something clean about them being sans illustrations.

42Django6924
Ene 5, 4:58pm

>39 ubiquitousuk:

I can't really say much beyond what >40 BionicJim: and >41 GusLogan: have already said: if you aren't convinced by their spot-on evaluations, I doubt anything I could say would win you over.

I will just add one thing about the matter of illustrations: >41 GusLogan: mentioned the range of illustrators, and I think it's worth emphasizing that this one set showcases the work of the leading illustrators of the first half of the 20th century. I think that alone would give it a special significance in one's library. As the others have pointed out, not all the illustrations represent the finest work done by these illustrators, but I think many of them never bettered the work that they did here. I think Macy did a fine job of matching the illustrators to the plays as well. And even when there was a miss, it was a case of "it shoulda been a contender!" (I'm thinking of Gordon Craig's illustrations for Macbeth, which by all rights should have been one of the best, but which is my own nominee for biggest disappointment).

And as >41 GusLogan: mentioned, there is something to be said for literary works not having illustrations, and oddly enough, the designer of the LEC Shakespeare was NOT a fan of illustrated books. The work for which Rogers is most renowned, the Oxford Lectern Bible has no illustrations. However, plays by their very nature seem to call for some visual component, and so I am very glad the set is illustrated.

43booksforreading
Editado: Ene 6, 12:45pm

If exactly the same set would be published today, each book would probably be priced at 1/4 to 1/3 of what is now asked for the entire set of 40 books! LEC Shakespeare was published at a higher limitation number of copies than the usual 1500; however, many sets were "broken" to sell books individually or to offer the one book with Rackham illustrations for the price of the entire set!
Consequently, there are not as many complete sets now in existence as might be imagined...
As >40 BionicJim: said, I read these books with pleasure periodically, too. The illustrations add a lot to the atmosphere of the books, in my opinion. The paper feels nice, letterpress is excellent, the overall design is superb... I can go on and on, but I cannot add much to what has already been said.
I just cannot express enough appreciation for this LEC achievement!

44ubiquitousuk
Editado: Ene 6, 2:21pm

>40 BionicJim: >41 GusLogan: >42 Django6924: >43 booksforreading: thanks all for the input.

In a slightly unexpected development, I had the opportunity to buy the 37 volume Folio Society set from the 50s-70s at about £4 per-volume, which was too good to pass up. This somewhat complicates things because it would trigger a domestic civil war if I also now buy the LEC set. But I might buy one of those single volumes that's floating around to see how I get on with them. I'm a bit of a sucker for nice paper, so they may yet win me over.

45MobyRichard
Editado: Ene 6, 3:23pm

>44 ubiquitousuk:

Well worth the money, but it had a large limitation so I wouldn't over pay. Best thing to do is find a set which doesn't include the overpriced Midsummer Night's Dream. My least favorite Shakespeare play and least favorite Rackham. Also, unless you're a completist I don't find the Sonnets worth acquiring as there's a very nice later LEC of Shakespeare's poetry. If you subtract Midsummer and the Sonnets, that's like 50% off already.

46abysswalker
Ene 6, 4:18pm

>39 ubiquitousuk: I have one volume from each set: Richard III (LEC), King Lear (Folio Letterpress). I just read the copy of Richard III a few months back (in fact, it was the prompt for a post to this group about how to cleanly open pages for a book with uncut pages, which means I was sadly the first person to ever have read this particular copy since it was printed 80 or whatever years ago). I gather King Lear is one of the more common Letterpress Shakespeare volumes on the secondary market, for whatever reason, which is probably why I got a good deal on it.

Personally, I find the form factor of both the LEC and the Folio Letterpress too large. I suspect there is some Shakespeare printing tradition being referenced here because otherwise these large (LEC) and larger (Folio) quarto volumes are a bit unwieldy given the number of pages and the amount of content in the play.

Factoring out the issue of size, while the presswork of the LEC is charming, and the prints are indeed quality, the Folio Letterpress clearly wins out in overall quality for me on all dimensions: binding, paper, and construction, though the paper used in the LEC is good also.

The printing style of the LEC volume has, perhaps, a bit more character and idiosyncrasy. The Folio Letterpress edition, in contrast, gives off an almost forbidding air of formal traditional excellence: the perfect leather half binding, the marbled paper boards, the weight (this is a heavy book). The Folio Letterpress is solid like a brick even if I leave it out on a table, whereas the LEC volume will bow and flex slightly when unstacked or unshelved (so: looser binding, lighter cover stock). Unfortunately for the LEC binding design, it looks just as frumpy (to me at least) up close as it does in pictures, though that doesn't take away from the interior quality.

47laotzu225
Ene 6, 5:09pm

To all: This has been a wonderful suite of commentaries and very informative. I have a couple of the books, bought dirt cheap and in far better condition than i deserved. I have enough Shakespeare around the house (including a six volume Heritage collection) that I've never felt the need or desire to collect the entire set. (Even though I have many books on and designed by Bruce Rogers.)
I've unsuccessfully bid on a couple of Folio Letterpress on e-bay, always hoping the auction is one where no one else notices, but for the reason set forth above, would just as soon put my book dollars into something else.

>1 aaronpepperdine: I believe leccol has gone to the great beyond.

48WildcatJF
Ene 6, 6:49pm

>47 laotzu225: This thread started in 2013 when Don was still with us.

49GusLogan
Editado: Ene 17, 12:30pm

>46 abysswalker:

An excellent post for which many thanks. I am inspired to push on a bit on the contrast between the LEC and FS editions, though re-reading my draft post 3. below is the real contribution and 2. is a bit off the mark in terms of the questions actually asked above. I’ll leave it in, though.

The FS LE is fractionally bigger, though both give the text ample space to breathe, which is perhaps amusing if one has seen a First Folio (or picture of/facsimile). Like abysswalker I'd prefer smaller - I love the FS OUP companion volumes. The LEC paper shows more fibre and is significantly more yellow, whether from age or not. I prefer it to the FS LE paper and it certainly matches the LEC binding better - a paper as white as the FS would have looked highly unnatural. But equally the FS paper hue probably works better with its binding. Both have a bit of showthrough, fractionally more on the LEC but nothing that annoys me.

The description of the FS in abysswalker's post seems to me spot on. The binding is gorgeous. I expect the gold blocking is superior. Many people like leather. I think the three colour-scheme is terrific. I like the LEC binding, but I can't say I prefer it, and it has clearly aged badly in a majority of specimens.

I also think the comment about the LEC printing style is on the money - for me a plus.

Three more things.

1. Space. If someone gave me the FS LE set in solander boxes, I'd be pleased as punch, but I'd need a new house.

2. Price. Excl. shipping I bought the LEC set of 37 plays for just over 30 USD each. Others have done much better. (Indeed ubiquitousuk, who initiated this latest round of posts and has written helpfully over at the FSD forum about the secondhand prices of the LEs, asked about the LEC set as a potential opportunity to change sets mid-collecting at financial advantage.)
Of course to some collectors this makes no difference. To me it did. But if space were no issue and the prices were the same, I would probably have gone the FS route - though primarily for the companion volumes!

3. The text! We haven't raised this yet I think. Do have a look - for this reason and others - at the first page of Macbeth from each edition below, LEC first. Do you like your "againe" and "Raine"? Your noun-capitalization? Do you prefer ”Hurley-burley” to ”hurly-burly”? Or do these impede your reading? I guess it's Herbert Farjeon vs Stanley Wells (OUP). I for one enjoy Farjeon's take! Proofreading without modernizing or something like that. But someone will come along soon and tell me he picked the happy ending for Hamlet or similar...





(I really wish the FS had sold all 3 750 copies of every single play and concluded further projects in this vein is a great idea!)

50ubiquitousuk
Ene 18, 4:48pm

>49 GusLogan: (et al.) thanks! Seeing these side by side is a real treat. Although I'm a big fan of the letterpress' internal design, I see why people praise the typesetting of the LECs so much.

As I noted above, I have paused "project LEC" for a while since I managed to get a bargain basement price on the non-limited "rainbow" Folio Society editions, which suffice to plug the gaps in my LE collection for now. But this discussion inspired me to take a closer look. So I have ordered a copy of the LEC Henry V (as well as the Heritage Press' stand-alone 1951 Henry V). When they arrive I will be in a position to do a 5-way Folio-Macy showdown video/blog post. Looking forward to seeing what that reveals!

51Django6924
Ene 19, 12:31am

>50 ubiquitousuk: "I have ordered a copy of the LEC Henry V"

The one from the Complete Shakespeare or the later one with illustrations from the Olivier film?

52ubiquitousuk
Editado: Ene 19, 8:11am

>51 Django6924: I meant the on from the complete Shakespeare (1940). I'm aware this isn't the most interesting volume in the set, but I bought it because (i) I really like Henry V, and (ii) I have some other interesting editions of that play to compare it against.

I also bought the HP version of the one with the Olivier-based illustrations (that's the 1951 one I mentioned in >50 ubiquitousuk:) so both will be in the video.

53blue.eyes
Ene 21, 6:19pm

I notice the spellings of many words of the first page of Macbeth (posted in this thread earlier) are slightly different in the LEC and Folio editions. Is the LEC version exactly how Shakespeare wrote the play?

54BionicJim
Ene 21, 6:51pm

>53 blue.eyes: There are no manuscripts that have come down to us from Shakespeare’s hand to see if he was a good speller, but the spellings in the LEC follow the First Folio which was printed several years after Shakespeare’s death and was based on actors’ working scripts. Besides printer error, there are several explanations for the spelling irregularities and use of capital letters, the most interesting of which, for me, is that it helped actors read the lines the way he intended (like we use italic and bold-face now).

55blue.eyes
Ene 21, 11:14pm

56GusLogan
Feb 20, 2:03am

>49 GusLogan: (sort of talking to myself here)

As noted in another thread here a further argument for the FS LE set is that it includes The Two Noble Kinsmen! I’m keeping an eye out for that one as an add-on to my LEC set, but it’s one of those of which they only did 1 000. I wish the FS had also tossed in the borderline/candidate plays. I can forgive them for not including the (currently!) lost ones!

57RRCBS
Feb 25, 12:26pm

I just received a set I ordered of all 37 plays. I paid $1800 CAD including shipping, probably didn’t get a deal but have wanted these for a while and they were being offered by a Canadian seller so couldn’t resist! Very happy with them. The illustrations are quite beautiful as is the paper.

58terebinth
Feb 25, 12:55pm

>57 RRCBS:

Congratulations, the set should prove a lifelong joy. They're indeed heavy enough that shipping cost becomes a major factor in choice. I happily paid 1000 GBP for my 37 volumes which, a rare thing, were already located in the UK.

59GusLogan
Feb 25, 1:44pm

>57 RRCBS:
My heart is warmed every time I hear of a set kept together, congratulations! Anything interesting to report in the way of numbering, bookplates, slipcases, etc?

60RRCBS
Feb 25, 1:50pm

>59 GusLogan: Nothing other than it was in amazingly good condos with some pages still uncut. Had a nice evening carefully going through the set with my husband (though he’s starting to really worry about shelf space!).

61RRCBS
Feb 25, 1:50pm

>58 terebinth: Thanks! They’re definitely a treasure!

62MobyRichard
Feb 25, 4:37pm

>57 RRCBS:

Congrats! Not my emotional #1, but objectively I have to say the complete shakespeare set is the most impressive thing LEC ever did.

63GusLogan
Feb 25, 4:40pm

>62 MobyRichard:
Go on... what’s your emotional #1?

64MobyRichard
Editado: Feb 26, 12:40am

>63 GusLogan:

In Praise of Folly. There's no logic or metrics to it. It just is.

Simplicissimus might be #1 bang for your buck. Chronically underpriced.

65laotzu225
Feb 26, 3:51pm

>64 MobyRichard: Good to know! Some books I would have passed on have become of interest based on someone's recommendation. Moriae Encomium is one I've heard of but never tried.

66ubiquitousuk
Feb 26, 4:43pm

Less impressive than >57 RRCBS:, but I just received a parcel from the US containing the LEC Henry V (the one from the 37 volume set). Now I'm in a position to make a comparison between Letterpress Shakesepare, LEC, HP, and the Folio "Rainbow" shakespeare editions of this play for my blog/YouTube channel. I hope to get around to it soon and will post the link here.

For now, putting LEC alongside my Letterpress copy, my initial impressions are mixed. I feel that the Letterpress is an all-round better production (as one might expect for the price). But the LEC has some clear merits. In particular, I prefer the typographical design of the Macy and it's a bit lighter and easier to handle. I would certainly by very happy to have a complete set of the LECs.

67laotzu225
Editado: Feb 26, 7:31pm

>66 ubiquitousuk: The legendary Bruce Rogers designed the LEC Shakespeare set and a number of others of theirs, including The Wind in the Willows. I suspect Django6924 could rattle off the titles from memory. Will look forward to your analysis.

68Django6924
Feb 27, 6:51pm

From memory? It's not what it used to be, but to the best of my recollection:

Aesop's Fables, Bacon's Essays, Utopia, Plato's Republic, Epicurus, Robert Frost's Poems, Voyage to Liliput and Brobdingnag, L'allegro and Il penseroso, in addition to the Shakespeare books and WITW.

69MobyRichard
Editado: Feb 27, 11:27pm

>68 Django6924:

The legend! His Epicurus is not exactly underrated but well worth the price.

70BuzzBuzzard
Feb 28, 12:49am

I believe The Federalist Papers too.

71Django6924
Feb 28, 1:34am

>70 BuzzBuzzard:

Yes! As I was looking over my shelves tonight and saw that--how could I have forgotten that one!

72GusLogan
Editado: Mar 18, 4:52am

Here’s a sale with an unusually low minimum bid for the set, albeit not in great shape:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/203308432851

(No affiliation, just love for my fellow devotees - my apologies to any devotee who’d spotted it and was hoping to be alone in this though...)

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