Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Hauntingly Beautiful Partnership of Poe and Dulac

We have all heard tales of the short, strange life of one of America's first professional writers, Edgar Allen Poe. He was born in Boston to actors who separated when he was only a year old. Poe's father was never to be seen again and his mother died the following year. Poe was taken in by the Allan family and raised to adulthood. His gambling and lifestyle alienated him from his adoptive family. He married his 13 year old cousin in 1835 who would die young in 1847 and Poe would follow her two years later at the age of 40.

A less famed but no less noteworthy character is the French born and British naturalized Edmund Dulac. His personal life is far less entertaining than Poe's but his career as an illustrator was impressive. Dulac rose to fame illustrating 9 volumes by the Bronte sisters for J.M. Dent publishers. The next three years found him doing illustration work for several different magazines. He would then begin work illustrating gift editions of classic works for Hodder & Stoughton with The Arabian Nights in 1907. He would illustrate several similar editions for Hodder & Stoughton over the next decade but would end this association at the outbreak of the Great War. After World War 1 Dulac began illustrating children's books and stamps; work which he would continue until his death in 1953.

We at Oddfellow's Fine Books and Collectables have had the privilege of carrying a breadth
of work by both of these great men. Our most recent Dulac find is also a Poe find! The Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe Illustrated by Edmund Dulac and published by the Hoddard & Stoughton publishing house in 1912 is stunningly beautiful. The covers are in a royal blue cloth with an elaborate and macabre embossed pattern highlighted in black and set off by a gold gilt title. Inside, we are treated to decorative end papers with a subtle "The Bells" theme. likely reminiscent of the first Poe/Dulac book published by Hoddard, The Bells and Other Poems. The poetry is printed on thick, textural paper that begs to be touched as much as read. There are dozens of beautiful designs and illustrations printed within the text as well as 28 full color, full page lithographic prints. 

These, like many of Dulac's works are haunting in their beauty and bring to life the words of Poe. $250. Please see this and thousands of other titles we have to offer by visiting our website at:

No comments:

Post a Comment