ANGLO-SAXON ELEGIES.

(London: Folio Press, 1988). 250 x 165 mm. (10 x 6 1/2"). 77 pp.Translated and introduced by Kevin Crossley-Holland.

SINGULAR TAN CRUSHED MOROCCO, GILT, BY ANN THORNTON (her small gilt cipher at upper right corner of front pastedown), covers with delicately tooled abstract design, smooth spine with gilt titling, handmade paste-paper endleaves, leather hinges, handmade paper flyleaves, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. In a fine marbled paper clamshell box backed with orange raw silk, paper label on spine. With snake device on title page and eight full-page engravings by Hannah Firmin, all printed in sanguine. Text in modern English and Anglo-Saxon on facing pages. As new.

Finely printed on luxurious paper, this is a pleasing combination of Old English literature with modern English arts and crafts: a collection of eight poems from the 10th century Exeter Book, with engravings by an award-winning illustrator and a covering by a Designer Bookbinder. Ann Thornton was elected a licentiate of Designer Bookbinders in 1992 and a Fellow in 1995. She prefers traditional methods and materials for her work, which is represented in the British Library, the Royal Library of Copenhagen, and many private collections. The elegies here are concerned with separation--from homeland, from a lover, from God--and the resulting feelings of longing. Thornton's design here echoes that theme, the gilt forms on the covers resembling a fence or stockade walling someone or something out. The illustrations are likewise full of barriers embodying those faced by the poems' protagonists, from turbulent seas to hostile soldiers to brambles and walls. Artist Hannah Firmin (b. 1956) is best known for designing the cover for Alexander McCall Smith's "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency." She learned printmaking from her father, Peter Firmin, and also studied at Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art. Translator Kevin Crossley-Holland (b. 1941) developed an interest in Anglo-Saxon literature while in college, and went on to translate three editions of "Beowulf." He has also produced children's versions of the Arthurian legends and of Norse and Celtic mythology.
(ST17263-21)