(Berlin: G. Grote'sche, 1884). 170 x 107 mm. (6 3/4 x 4 1/4"). xxxv pp.,  leaves, 227,  pp.,  leaves. No. 182 OF 300 COPIES.
APPROPRIATELY OMINOUS DARK BROWN CALF CUIR-CISELÉ BINDING, covers with swirling acanthus-leaf vines emanating from two interlocked dragons at the foot of each board, upper cover with shield labelled "Faust" in raised lettering, with an inverted pentagram etched below, lower cover with a single flower blooming on one of the vines, flat spine with title in raised letters and portrait of Mephistopheles in relief, all edges black. Facsimile title printed in red and black. A hint of shelfwear to lower edges otherwise A NEAR-MINT COPY, with no signs of use inside or out.
Housed in a binding full of portentous appeal, this work reproduces the extremely rare 16th century German chapbook that inspired generations of Faustian literature. German publisher Johann Spies published the first printed form of the Faust story in 1587, compiled from various anecdotes involving an actual medieval German necromancer. The story of the world-weary Faust, who makes a pact with Mephistopheles in exchange for the granting of a series of gratifying wishes, was immediately popular and continued to resonate with authors across centuries, including Marlowe, Goethe, and Mann. The arresting binding here is a marvelous example of the cuir-ciselé (or "cut leather") style in which the binder creates designs in high relief, often to dramatic effect. The design is outlined first on damp leather, and then brought into relief by depressing the background, usually by stamping a succession of dots very close together by means of a pointed tool. Although the style originated in Germany, Austria, and Spain in the 15th century, it was taken up again in the late 19th century by binders such as Marius Michel and Charles Meunier. Our binding is unsigned, but clearly the work of a professional hand that was sensitive to the spirit and aesthetic of the book. The present facsimile was produced in a limited quantity while only a small handful of copies of the original 1587 chapbook are recorded in OCLC (one at the BL and the rest in Germany), making this an important literary resource as well as a beautiful object to behold. (ST15075)
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PJP Catalog: ELIST 10.007