THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE.

(London: [Printed in Wales by Gwasg Gregynog for] The Land Press, 1988). 290 x 215 mm. (11 1/2 x 8 1/2"). 146, [2] pp. ONE OF 140 COPIES (this copy unnumbered).

DRAMATIC BLUE CRUSHED MOROCCO BY DENISE LUBETT (signed in colophon), upper cover with inlaid rifle stock in grays and browns, lower cover with inlaid hilt of a soldier's saber, smooth spine with blind-tooled titling, gray endpapers, all edges silvered. In a custom blue cloth clamshell box. With 11 collotypes reproducing Civil War photographs by Gardner, Sullivan, and others from the Library of Congress collection. In mint condition.

This powerful novel of courage and cowardice in the American Civil War is offered here in a beautifully printed private press edition with wrenching photographs of actual battle scenes, in an ingenious binding by a leading contemporary binder. Described by its author as "a psychological portrayal of fear," "Red Badge of Courage" stands out for its sensitive portrayal of a soldier's reaction to the horrors of war. The contemporary photographs chosen for this edition are some of the earliest such documentation of the grim realities of battles and their aftermath. The publisher asked four binders--Angela James, Jen Lindsay, Denise Lubett, and Romilly Saumarez Smith--to design bindings for the work. Lubett contributed two designs, the caps of a Union and a Confederate soldier, and the sword and rifle seen here. Lubett chose these implements of destruction "based on swords and rifles in common usage during the war. Born in Paris in 1922, Lubett studied bookbinding under John Corderoy at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts and at the London College of Printing. She set up her own binderies in England and France in 1966. In 1971, she was elected to membership in the society of Designer Bookbinders. Three of her bindings are pictured in the catalogue for the exhibition on "Modern British Bookbinding" held in Brussels and The Hague in 1985. In the chapter she wrote for "A Bookbinder's Florilegium," she implicitly described her personal binding credo when she said that "great purity of style and design usually bring forth great beauty." She also said in the same chapter that "if we [refuse to] bind books so that they become too fragile to handle [and] . . . if we can ascertain that this bound book can be handed down for a number of generations, then we will have achieved a better and more significant role as modern bookbinders." The present very appealing example of her work certainly lives up to these pronouncements. The printing here is an appealing product of Gwasg Gregynog, begun by the University of Wales in 1974 as an effort to revive the spirit of the original celebrated Gregynog Press. The house and grounds of the press were given to the University in 1960 by Daisy Davies, who, with her sister Gwen, had owned the Gregynog Press, which produced its last book in 1940.
(ST14377b)