(Stamford: Overbrook Press, 1958). 302 x 222 mm. (12 x 8 3/4"). 2 p.l., 204,  (blank) pp.,  leaf (colophon). ONE OF 200 COPIES.
Publisher's full calf, spine ruled in blind with red morocco label, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, others untrimmed. Housed in a later morocco-lipped slipcase. WITH 43 FULL COLOR SILK-SCREENED ILLUSTRATIONS, comprised of frontispiece, title frame, 37 vibrant text watercolors, two headpieces, and two initials. With original prospectus laid in. A Century for the Century 58; Cave, pp. 209-11. Shallow chip across half an inch at spine head, leather (including label) with a few marks and scratches, spine with two small areas discolored, paper covering upper hinge with two-inch split at head, but the binding entirely firm and not at all unpleasant, and extremely fine internally, with no signs of use.
Highlighted by color illustrations possessing charm and verve, this is the Overbrook Press edition of l'Abbé Prévost's classic, originally published in 1731. The tragic tale of a young nobleman and his beautiful but mercenary lover, Manon, is the last volume in "Memoirs and Adventures of a Man of Quality." The illicit love and amoral behavior of the principal characters caused a scandal, leading to censorship--and brisk sales. For the present edition--the most ambitious publication of the Overbrook Press--the American designer, painter, and illustrator Thomas Maitland Cleland (1880-1964) was given free reign "to design and illustrate a book exactly as he wished, sparing no amount of effort, time, or expense," with the result being "a masterpiece of refined bookmaking." ("A Century for the Century") Cleland spent six years creating the silk-screened illustrations and combining them seamlessly with the text, using his favorite style, French rococo, which was perfectly appropriate for the content. Cleland was the primary illustrator among several employed by the Overbrook Press, which was founded in Stamford, Connecticut, by investment banker Frank Altschul, a hobbyist printer since childhood. Altschul was urged in 1934 by designer and compositor Margaret B. Evans of the Ashlar Press to continue that firm's work, which was drawing to a close. Altschul did, hiring Evans and then John MacNamara as pressman. The press printed a broad mix of materials, with an emphasis on technical expertise and craftsmanship. The present version of "Manon" reprints the 1753 text, from which the author eliminated some of the more objectionable passages and added a bit of sermonizing against immoral behavior. Even if the text has been partially sanitized, the illustrations, which are the highlight of this edition, are still (gracefully) amorous. (ST12683-308)
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PJP Catalog: 67.270