Hugo's Toilers of the Sea, Officina Bodoni or...?

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Hugo's Toilers of the Sea, Officina Bodoni or...?

1Constantinopolitan
Editado: Jun 14, 2015, 8:55am

I was looking at an online catalogue for a German exhibition of the Stamperia Valdonega.
http://hsl.chalco.net/erez4/fsi4/fsi.swf?pages_server=http://hsl.chalco.net/erez...

As you know, this printing house was run by the Officina Bodoni's owner's son. It allowed for larger print runs than a hand-press.
I have a copy of Victor Hugo's The Toilers of the Sea. It clearly states in the colophon that it is from the Officina Bodoni.
The catalogue however claims that it, the Stamperia Valdonega, is the printer. Quite likely my lack of German, and/or Italian is at fault, but if anyone can shed light upon this I would be grateful?






2parchmentredux
Jun 14, 2015, 10:06am

As far as I am aware, none of the LEC:s was printed at the Officina Bodoni.

3Django6924
Editado: Jun 14, 2015, 1:00pm

The Little Flowers of St. Francis clearly states on the colophon it was printed in the Officini Bodini and has their unique trademark. In the years before WW II I believe all Mardersteig books were printed at the Officina--the Dante Divine Comedy, for one, though I don't remember the others. However, although my German is a little rusty, the posting definitely states that the LEC books listed therein were all produced at the Stamperia, which was founded in 1948, among these being the Hugo novel.

Incidentally, Hans (or Giovanni) ran both presses until his death in 1977 at which time his son Martino assumed the role.

Added: I got my copy of the Hugo book, and perhaps the following from the Monthly Letter will explain why there is this confusion and why, although the colophon only mentions the Officina, the Germans are sehr korrekt:

Our edition of The Toilers of the Sea has been designed and printed by Giovanni Mardersteig at his Officina Bodoni in Verona, Italy. The Officina Bodoni...has a sort of secret compartment, a sanctum sanctorum, called the Stamperia Valdonega, in which the finer work of the Officina Bodoni is performed, including books for the members of The Limited Editions Club....

4parchmentredux
Jun 14, 2015, 1:08pm

I have read that no LEC ever was printed at the Officina Bodoni, but at the Stamperia or elsewhere. Officina Bodoni operated a hand press, the Stamperia a machine press. The Officina Bodoni LEC titles were typeset inhouse, but printed outside. If the finer work was performed at the Stamperia, I guess that means that the finest work was performed at the Officina. I have searched in vain for my reference book. It must be somewhere in a box, so of course I can't find it now when I need it.

5Constantinopolitan
Jun 14, 2015, 1:20pm

>2 parchmentredux: >3 Django6924:

Thanks both. Django, that's great information. I think, in practice though, that the Officina was for the high end stuff, not the other way round.
Don't you think that the book should have stated this information?

6parchmentredux
Jun 14, 2015, 1:25pm

>5 Constantinopolitan: Well, why do you think that it has happened that the Folio Society has described synthetic bindings as leather and synthetic cloth as silk?

7Constantinopolitan
Jun 14, 2015, 1:25pm

>4 parchmentredux:
Which reference book are you looking for? I have "The Officina Bodoni 1923-1977"; it was published posthumously and I've noted elsewhere an error or two in it. I think a complete, scholarly account and bibliography is needed.

8HuxleyTheCat
Jun 14, 2015, 1:26pm

>3 Django6924:
Ah, a little poetic license from Mrs Macy. (For which she is entirely forgiven in this particular case.)

9Constantinopolitan
Jun 14, 2015, 1:28pm

>6 parchmentredux: Good God! The rogues!

10parchmentredux
Jun 14, 2015, 1:28pm

> 7 It is annoying, but I can't remember the exact title. I saw it during the past year, an 8:o thin paperback. I have looked again, but it seems that I have misplaced it. I have too many books...

11Constantinopolitan
Editado: Jun 14, 2015, 3:03pm

>10 parchmentredux: Could it be the Catalogue of an exhibition at the British Library in 1978?

12busywine
Jun 14, 2015, 4:16pm

>5 Constantinopolitan:, yes, in 1948 Mardersteig launched Stamperia Valdonega as a mechanized press to run alongside his Officina Bodoni (to produce books in larger editions, more quickly, but still applying high standards of design and typography).

13busywine
Jun 14, 2015, 4:22pm

BTW, my understanding, from 'A Century for the Century', was that prior to 1948 LEC's that say Officinal Bodoni were overseen by Giovanni Mardersteig, but were actually printed elsewhere "despite the somewhat misleading imprint and colophon information." After 1948, the LEC volumes were printed under Mardersteig's direct supervision at his own machine press operation, the Stamperia Valdonega that we are discussing.

14Constantinopolitan
Jun 14, 2015, 5:05pm

>13 busywine: Thanks for that info.
"The Officina Bodoni 1923-1977" lists 198 titles (plus 49 for the complete works of D'Annunzio). There is a prefix to the list which states: "Over the years a number of books have appeared which carry the imprint of the Officina Bodoni but though produced under the careful supervision of Giovanni Mardersteig were not printed on the hand press. Only the books included in the catalogue should be considered as having been printed on the hand press."

15Django6924
Jun 15, 2015, 12:04am

>13 busywine: "somewhat misleading"?

That's like saying those imitations Rolex watches (with the name "Rolex" on the dial) that came out of Hong Kong in the 1960s were "misleading."

Actually, wherever they were printed, and I suppose Herr (or Signor) Mardersteig was the presiding creative force because they are all consistent in style, they are beautifully done. It is rather a strain on credulity to think works such as the Dante and St. Francis--in 1500 copies each--could have been whanged out on a Dingler hand press (which is even slower than a Vandercook proof press).

Of course many great designers didn't have presses of their own, at least ones which could supply the LEC's needs--Francis Meynell, and Bruce Rogers come to mind.

16HuxleyTheCat
Ago 17, 2015, 1:11pm

This morning I took delivery of the 1978 Catalogue mentioned by >11 Constantinopolitan: - it's the best £1.75 I've spent in quite a while: illustrated, printed in two colours, and containing much fascinating information about Mardersteig and the Officina Bodoni.

According to this text, the 1936 Imaginary Conversations 'was' printed at the Officina Bodoni rather than elsewhere under Mardersteig's supervision.

Another interesting snippet:

"Thus the new type, later called Fontana, was derived from that of Alexander Wilson of the Glasgow Letter Foundry, with letters slightly wider and more open than Baskerville's. 'The Monotype Corporation agreed to make the type under Mardersteig's direction for the exclusive use of Collins for whom Mardersteig worked for a period during 1935-36. Nevertheless he was allowed to use it himself for an edition of Walter Savage Landor's Imaginary Conversations which he designed and printed for The Limited Editions Club of New York, whose founder (George Macy) considered it to be one of the ten finest books he had ever published'."

17kdweber
Ago 20, 2015, 3:00pm

>16 HuxleyTheCat: These threads are entirely too enabling. Just received my copy of Imaginary Conversations. Nice book but I wouldn't rank it as one of Macy's ten finest. Of course, we have to realize that this book was published in 1936, relatively near the beginning of his publishing career.

18HuxleyTheCat
Ago 20, 2015, 3:06pm

>18 HuxleyTheCat: Maybe, but it has to be worth having for being the apparently sole book actually printed by Mardersteig at the OB. I know I'll be getting a copy for that reason.

19BuzzBuzzard
Ago 20, 2015, 3:23pm

>17 kdweber: I felt in a similar way when I got this one a few months back. The book design is very conservative yet there is not a single aspect of it that could be bettered. There are not many LECs that introduced a new type for the first time.

20kdweber
Ago 20, 2015, 5:15pm

>18 HuxleyTheCat: I thought The Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi was also designed, printed, and bound by Mardersteig at the Officina Bodoni.

21HuxleyTheCat
Ago 20, 2015, 5:58pm

>20 kdweber: I'd forgotten Robert's post above about that one, Ken, as that book wasn't mentioned in my little catalogue, which states "The hand press has printed a total of nearly two hundred separate books, the greater part of which are to be seen in the exhibition". However, it also states that the exhibition is by no means comprehensive as that would be something difficult to achieve even in Verona.

Something else which may be of interest (and perhaps further muddies the waters):

"... Mardersteig was invited to take part in a competition organised by the Italian government for printing a national edition of the works of Gabriele D'Annunzio, then regarded as Italy's foremost poet...
...Mardersteig's prospectus and specimens printed in Bodoni types won the competition, and in 1927 he moved to Italy. 'At the suggestion of Arnoldo Mondadori a courtyard in his great printing house in Verona was roofed over and there the Officina Bodoni... installed a separate department for the production of the D'Annunzio edition. The hand press was used only for a special edition on Japanese vellum and for the printing of copies on vellum... whereas the normal edition was to be printed on machines installed for this purpose.'
This formidable task occupied the Officina Bodoni almost completely until the completion of the D'Annunzio national edition in 1936; between 1933 and 1935 no other books were printed on the hand press. Mardersteig was nevertheless experimenting with Monotype faces such as Garamond, Bembo and Poliphilus and acquired additional hand presses for printing copper engravings and lithographs.
In 1937 the Officina Bodoni was removed from the Mondadori plant to Mardersteig's spacious house in the Via Marsala, overlooking the city of Verona...
...For five years* Mardersteig was occupied with the production of the forty-nine volumes, many of them of 500 pages or more, all set by hand in Bodoni types. 218 copies were printed on the hand press; and also an edition of 2501 copies was printed by machine under Mardersteig's supervision."

*From 1927

22kdweber
Ago 20, 2015, 7:31pm

>21 HuxleyTheCat: Fascinating. In the Monthly Letter (#21, February 1931) Macy notes the OB move to Verona and Mardersteig's commission. The LEC specifically wanted to make use of the new machine-printing plant (Macy's words) set up for that purpose. So Mardersteig must have had a little free time.

23Constantinopolitan
Ago 22, 2015, 6:14am

>21 HuxleyTheCat:
Fiona a couple of months ago in the Fine Press forum I had a discussion about the paper used for the special edition of the Officina Bodoni collected works of D'Annunzio. I've some 30 of the 49 volumes in the special edition that are misleadingly translated as "vellum".
I posted the following:
I have a copy of Mardersteig's "Officina Bodoni" in English, he states: "The 209 numbered copies printed on the hand press are on Japanese vellum".
The "paper" may be vellum, I am not familiar enough with it to be able to identify it.

nisgoland replied:
The confusion about “vellum” might have been caused by a translation of the widely used Italian word “velina” (glueless) paper, which stands for some old style de luxe paper, as well as for the thin paper used years ago for typewriter carbon copies etc. The Italian word for the English “vellum” is “pergamena”. Just to make things worse, there is also a “pergamena vegetale”, which, of course has nothing to do with the animal skin real vellum. For ex:, my two copies of about 1903 Treves de luxe editions are bound in the – cheap – pergamena vegetale.
Your copy is on beautiful Imperial Japan paper.

24HuxleyTheCat
Ago 22, 2015, 6:21pm

>23 Constantinopolitan: It sounds like you have a wonderful series of books, Nigel, are they illustrated?

We've touched on the Japanese vellum issue previously on the FPF http://www.librarything.com/topic/150634#3952003

In addition to the Notre Dame de Paris mentioned in that thread I also have a limited edition of 50 copies of a Mosher Press publication, Tu Fu: Wanderer and Minstrel under Moons of Cathay (I reckon that's the most lovely title of any book in my collection, and it's a lovely little book too, with a proper vellum quarter binding and silk-covered boards http://www.librarything.com/work/13359702/book/92755418 ), which is printed on 'Japan vellum' and seems the same paper, maybe slightly lighter weight than used in the Hugo.

However, I also have another book which is partially printed on Japanese Vellum, of the Gampi variety, which is an entirely different thing altogether, and I assume it's what your D'Annunzio is printed on. My book is the Gwasg Gregynog Agnes Miller Parker Illustrations for Welsh Gypsy Folk Tales, and the Gampi Vellum is used for the engravings.

25kdweber
Ago 22, 2015, 7:14pm

>24 HuxleyTheCat: Fiona, that's a beautiful looking binding!

26HuxleyTheCat
Ago 22, 2015, 7:53pm

>25 kdweber: It is, isn't it :) I read somewhere that the silk design for each of the 50 copies was unique, and I have seen pictures of two copies with entirely different designs, but I have also seen a picture of a copy at PBA Galleries auction site that has the same binding design as mine. I don't mind about that, I'm just very happy to have the book which I picked up for a pittance on ebay, and despite it not being from a fine press, it is a favourite of mine.

27Constantinopolitan
Ago 23, 2015, 6:11am

>24 HuxleyTheCat: No, Fiona, they are not illustrated, which is in some ways a shame. D'Annunzio was treated with a reverence in Italy which was quite (to my clearly provincial sensibilities) extraordinary. The recent biography The Pike by Lucy Hughes-Hallett is subtitled Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War. This review gives a good flavour of the extraordinary man http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/non_fictionreviews/9810916/The-Pike-by-...
If anyone deserved striking illustrations to accompany his work it is D'Annunzio.
My set of books comes in a uniform blue cloth binding from a university library. I had thought of selling most of them to defray the costs of rebinding at least one. I imagine that an image of the aeroplane that D'Annunzio flew over Austrian occupied Trieste in 1915, to drop leaflets, would look good.
Thanks for the information re Japanese vellum, I'd missed that. I'd love a copy of the Welsh Gypsy Folk Tales.

28HuxleyTheCat
Ago 23, 2015, 8:08am

>27 Constantinopolitan: Nigel, I'm sure you're aware that WGFT is only one volume of a book (Agnes Miller Parker : Wood Engravings) containing two, the other (first) volume being engraving for the Fables of Esope. I would dearly love to have the entire book, but the cost is very large, while I had the chance to buy this single volume at considerably less than the cost of half the entire and I felt I couldn't pass the opportunity up.

Your plan to sell in order to defray the re-binding cost of a single book from the D'Annunzio series would be an appealing one to me. I understand what you mean about such reverence for such a man being difficult to fathom, however, one only has to look at the cult of celebrity today, and it seems the more of a rake and bounder the more appeal such people exert.

29Django6924
Ago 23, 2015, 11:44am

>27 Constantinopolitan: >28 HuxleyTheCat:

It may be that one has to read D'Annunzio in the original to have a better understanding of his appeal.

Over 50 years ago, I was diligently making my way through a list of "Good Reads" in a book which provided a Baedecker for the sort of literary background a modern-day Renaissance man should have when I was struck by the description of The Flame of Life as "a thinly veiled portrait of the author's affair with the Circe-like Eleanora Duse." Being at that time convinced (as I still am) that the Odyssey is the most entertaining of all pre-Shakespearian classics, and being familiar with D'Annunzio's name as the author of the screenplay for the silent Italian epic "Cabiria," my curiosity was piqued I hunted down a copy of The Flame of Life in the college library and read it.

My memory of the book is a little hazy after all these years, but I remember being compelled by the depiction of the obsession between the two characters, a great actress (Duse) and a supremely gifted poet some years her junior who desires to possess her (D'Annunzio). The language was, as I remember, overly descriptive and--rather like Gautier's in Mademoiselle de Maupin--replete with many fine figures of speech and turning of phrases, which in the long run got in the way of telling the story. Except for a young diva for whom the poet eventually abandons the Duse character, there aren't any other principals except Venice itself, which is wonderfully used as a symbol for the actress, who is just slightly past her zenith in ability and beauty, and is aware of her incipient decline.

Addressing the cult of celebrity aspect, D'Annunzio was famous for more than just his romantic hijinks. Apparently his literary style was quite remarkable when read in the original, and in addition to his prodigious literary output, he was an early aviator (somewhat like Saint-Exupéry), and participated in a remarkable aviation exploit in WW I, which did much toward restoring Italy's self-respect after the disaster at Caporetto. It's also of note that unlike most of today's "celebrities," his associations were with not just the rich and famous, but with writers, filmmakers (his son was a film director), artists (his association with Tamara de Lempicka became the subject of a famous long-running play in Los Angeles), cosmopolitan figures such as Axel Munthe, and political theorists. Indeed, were it not from being nearly killed in an assassination attempt, D'Annunzio, whose political writings were one of the primary foundations of Fascism, might have been the first leader of the Fascist party rather than Mussolini. However much his political ideas are to be condemned, he was far more than just a playboy.

30HuxleyTheCat
Ago 23, 2015, 12:11pm

>29 Django6924: Robert, it's undoubtedly to my shame, but without the Officina Bodoni connection I would never have heard of D'Annunzio, so my comment was based upon the article linked-to, which isn't overly generous to the man. Probably personal experience of some small brush with 'celebrity', both politicians and others, has also left me rather bitter about the sycophancy surrounding anyone who is a 'name' and the way that those people then treat the little people.

31Django6924
Ago 23, 2015, 1:23pm

>30 HuxleyTheCat:

Shame? Honi soit qui mal y pense! Someone once said that once we realize that imperfect understanding is the lot of mankind, there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes. It seems moreover today that there is so much information available that it is impossible to be knowledgeable (of even aware of) everything that might come up in conversation. Then too, we all have our special interests and can't be blamed for devoting more time to them.

That's why I enjoy forums such as this one; I have learned so much from the members here--particularly from those such as yourself who have special interests which interest me, and which provide me with helpful knowledge I wouldn't have the time to glean for myself. That's why I never mind when people state different opinions than the ones I hold, because often my opinion is based on inadequate knowledge.

32HuxleyTheCat
Ago 23, 2015, 2:44pm

>21 HuxleyTheCat: "Honi soit qui mal y pense!" I see that inscription every day on my way into work, but haven't really given it any consideration previously.

Regarding information overload, I heard a statistic recently that whereas at the end of the Eighteenth Century it took a hundred years for the amount of knowledge or information in the world to be doubled, that is now happening in a period of days. I don't know if it's true but I know it feels like it.

33Constantinopolitan
Ago 23, 2015, 2:52pm

>29 Django6924: Robert, thanks for those reflections on D'Annunzio. He certainly was a character and however unrestrained a brave one. Denouncing pasta in Italy was not the least of his heroic provocations! Mardersteig got on well with him and spoke warmly of the visits he paid to the great man's house above Lake Garda during the Officina Bodoni printing. D'Annunzio had a battleship in his garden-high above the lake- and would fire its enormous guns on propitious occasions.

34featherwate
Ago 23, 2015, 4:26pm

>33 Constantinopolitan:
"D'Annunzio had a battleship in his garden-high above the lake- and would fire its enormous guns on propitious occasions."
Now that's what I call true grandeur! Eat your hearts out Chatsworth, Longleat, Woburn, Blenheim with your tricksy waterworks and measly safari parks. Returning from the fray with your own battleship and putting it out to grass behind your house like a faithful warhorse, that's upstaging the neighbours, imperial style!

One question: how in the name of Nero did he get it there? Images of Fitzcarraldo fill the mind...

35Django6924
Ago 23, 2015, 4:39pm

>34 featherwate: "how in the name of Nero did he get it there? Images of Fitzcarraldo fill the mind..."

In parts, I believe:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_cruiser_Puglia

36HuxleyTheCat
Ago 23, 2015, 4:42pm

"Fitzcarraldo" Ah, they don't make 'em like that anymore!

37featherwate
Ago 23, 2015, 5:06pm

>36 HuxleyTheCat:
Fiona
Certainly not since 23 November 1991. RIP K.K., I hadn't realized it was so long ago.

38featherwate
Ago 23, 2015, 5:41pm

>35 Django6924:
Thanks, Robert. Not a terribly lucky ship in life - from the start:
"Her keel is laid down in October 1893, and she is launched on 22 September 1898. Fitting-out work proves to be a lengthy process, and she is not ready for service until 26 May 1901. By this time, her design is over ten years old and the ship is rapidly becoming obsolescent."
'Tis ever thus with defence commissions.

39Constantinopolitan
Editado: Ago 23, 2015, 5:56pm

>34 featherwate: From The Pike: " 1925 D'Annunzio...spends the rest of his life in the mountain slopes above Lake Garda. He will gradually transform it into a bizarre piece of installation art...
Mussolini has taken his political place and it suits him that the Italian public should believe DA is wholeheartedly behind the new regime, but in truth they are suspicious of each other. The poet has to be kept onside. Money is a point of leverage. "When a decayed tooth cannot be pulled out it is capped with gold," says Mussolini.
Mussolini greatly increases the strangeness of the Vittoriale (DA's home) by contributing to the jumble of objects...dismantled and transported on over twenty flat-bed railway trucks, comes the forward half of a battleship, the Puglia. Offloaded at the railway station and laboriously transported along the lake shore and up the mountainside to DA's fastness it is there reassembled. Set in concrete its missing rear recreated in stone, it juts out from the side of the cypress covered slope, above DA's rose garden. The gift comes complete with some real live sailors whom DA drills on deck."
You can see the ship and DA on Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hH9PhdK3mdQ

>36 HuxleyTheCat: >37 featherwate: You've reminded me that I've never watched Fitzcarraldo. I really must. I travelled up the Amazon in the 1970s on a succession of small boats (one of which was called Fe em Deus IV; as the previous 3 had probably sunk, the crew's faith in God was sorely tested). When I got to Manaus the opera house had been closed for decades. Sic transit...

40HuxleyTheCat
Editado: Ago 23, 2015, 6:57pm

>38 featherwate: "By this time, her design is over ten years old and the ship is rapidly becoming obsolescent." It does indeed sound like HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH. Hm, did I actually write that! I'll be fired tomorrow.

>39 Constantinopolitan: Fitzcarraldo is a wonderful film and well worth watching, particularly if you have been on location. I loved Aguirre too, but Fitzcarraldo is perhaps more watchable. Not sure I can say the same about this one (viewed, I'm sure you'll understand, by way of education) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e41BWQrOdg

ETA - The Ealing comedy The Maggie is my required viewing for this week, which seems appropriate for the nautical theme to which this thread is turning.

41featherwate
Ago 24, 2015, 6:59pm

>39 Constantinopolitan:
Thank you for the additional info on D'Annunzio. I love the lapidary cynicism of Mussolini's "When a decayed tooth cannot be pulled out it is capped with gold." The inborn pragmatism of a true dictator.

>39 Constantinopolitan:
>40 HuxleyTheCat:
I'm sure I once saw an excellent “making of” documentary about Fitzcarraldo which revealed (predictably) that Herzog was as obsessed as his hero had been. Can't find it anywhere on IMDb tho', so possibly it was a television production from the South Bank Show or BBC2.

BTW, it is ESSENTIAL to have the subtitles as well as the sound turned on when watching Huxley's entertaining YouTube bio of D'Annunzio. Only from the subtitles will you learn that he was a sexual Google Image who lived in a villa called The Cup and Sheena (which I always thought was the name of a Southend pub), that he was variously known as “the lava man”, “the non-zero”, “Señor Don O”, “the nausea” and a “small-town Bologna appeaser”, and that when he enthusiastically embraced fascism he adopted the nom-de-guerre “Nancy Gabrielle” (hinting perhaps at another side to his character, one that might have been quite at home in Pasolini's Salò).
Only in the subtitles, too, do we meet one of his less impressed acquaintances, Leander Pushy “the beautiful prison cortisone”. As this description reveals, she was an anti-inflammatory agent, one of many such stunningly attractive but sexually repulsive men and women whom Mussolini infiltrated into Italy's overcrowded jails in order to reduce the erotomania rampant therein by simultaneously arousing and dousing the inmates' carnal desires. (Not many people know about this.)

You do not, however, need subtitles to appreciate Sarah Bernhadt's description of D'Annunzio's intense and piercing eyes. They were, said the great actress....well, find out for yourself what she said they were. It will lodge in your memory forever.

42Constantinopolitan
Editado: Ago 25, 2015, 6:08am

>40 HuxleyTheCat: >41 featherwate: Ah those eyes, those teeth! After seeing (and reading the extraordinary subtitles) it's a wonder that the dental profession still bother. Brush your teeth with Muckleans.

43koszakedv
Ago 25, 2015, 1:07pm

>41 featherwate: The documentary is "Burden of Dreams" from 1982, and it's really good.

44featherwate
Ago 25, 2015, 6:30pm

>43 koszakedv:
Fantastic, Ferenc, thank you! And there's a Criterion Collection DVD available, which is good news.

45Lukas1990
Editado: Mayo 3, 2:37pm

Reviving an old thread with some info on The Gallic Wars. Stamperia Valdonega was established circa 1948 (if memory serves me right) so if the book (published in 1954) was really printed and bound by them why does Macy (?) claim it was Officina Bodoni? Prestige?



46kdweber
Mayo 3, 3:22pm

>45 Lukas1990: I think the consensus opinion is that these books were overseen by Mardersteig (father or son), typeset at the Officina Bodoni and printed on higher speed presses with the later volumes actually printed on the Stamperia Valdonega's presses.

47Django6924
Mayo 4, 1:37am

>45 Lukas1990:
Ken is right on the mark about this. The printing capacity of the Officina Bodoni was very limited with the bulk of the work there done on hand presses. To meet the schedules imposed by printing 1500 plus copies for the Limited Editions Club, the design was done at OB but the actual printing was done on the mechanized high-speed presses of the SV.

I got this information from an article about Mardersteig, but damned if I can find it. It was great because it actually listed the various presses used at the OB.

48abysswalker
Mayo 4, 7:45am

>47 Django6924: maybe the long article in one of the 1972 issues of The Book Collector?

I think most of the Mardersteig-printed LEC colophons state Stamperia Valdonega explicitly.

My guess is that the prospectus/announcement for The Gallic Wars is either “rounding up” or a simple mistake. I wonder whether the SV was actually a separate entity in the eyes of the Americans at that time, or seen as more of a department of the OB.

I’m not aware of any substantial bibliographic sources on the SV particularly, and Schmoller only touches lightly on it in his book. Anyone else know of good sources?

49abysswalker
Mayo 4, 9:25am

I just checked the Mardersteig LEC volumes I have close at hand. Cicero, Petrarch, Livy, and Suetonius are all “planned at the Officina Bodoni and printed at the Stamperia Valdonega” while Ovid says only made at the Officina Bodoni.

50Django6924
Mayo 4, 10:28am

>48 abysswalker:
You may be correct--I used to read those when I worked at the USC Library.

I checked my readily available pre-war Mardersteig books, The Little Flowers of St. Francis and Imaginary Conversations:



Unless Herr Mardersteig has, like Paris in Herodotus's account, "become confused and diverged from the truth," these pre-war books were printed at the Officina. (However, there is an interesting use of prepositions in these colophons: the Landor says the books were printed at the Officina and the Little Flowers colophon states the books were printed in the Officina and has the Officina's device which the Landor doesn't; could this be significant? Are we getting carried away?)

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