(Kentfield, California: Allen Press, 1972). 364 x 255 mm. (14 3/8 x 10"). 74 pp.Designed, printed, and bound by Lewis and Dorothy Allen. ONE OF 130 COPIES.
Original green cloth-backed boards with gilt-lettered strip of black paper bearing the title, edges untrimmed. Housed in the original olive-green cloth slipcase, back with black paper label and gilt lettering (case with a couple of scuff marks and a little fraying, otherwise excellent). With three color etchings by Michèle Forgeois, SIGNED AND NUMBERED BY THE ARTIST in pencil, with original tissue guards. Title printed in orange, olive, and black, text printed in black with orange, blue, olive, and blue-green highlights. Allen Press Bibliography 38. ◆Negligible yellow spot on one page, otherwise in pristine condition.
This is a beautifully printed and presented version of Euripides' greatest tragedy, an edition which, in the modest words of Lewis and Dorothy Allen, is "a good example of our attempts to wed typography and materials with the spirit of the text." Written toward the end of the 5th century B.C., "The Bacchae" tells the story of Dionysus' revenge upon Pentheus, King of Thebes, for his disbelief in the god's divine parentage. At the play's climax, Pentheus is punished for this impudence by frenzied Maenads--the female followers of Dionysus--who rip the king from limb to limb. Each element of the present edition was carefully selected, from the olive-green Parisian cloth and wood grained boards (evoking the play's sylvan setting) to the handmade paper produced at the Moulin Richard de Bas, one of the outstanding paper mills in the world. But the color etchings by artist Michèle Forgeois, charged with powerful symbolism, are perhaps the highlight of this work; as noted in the Allen press bibliography, the artist "did the etchings of the copper plates and printing of them at the Atelier Clot Bramsen et Georges in Paris. This studio, through the years, was used by such masters as Rodin, Degas, Manet and Rouault. The Forgeois etchings are numbered, signed by her, registered in Paris, and the plates cancelled--all according to the formula for a French 'édition de luxe.' They are original works of art in the full sense of the term." Founded in 1939 by Lewis and Dorothy Allen, the Allen Press produced 45 titles over the course of over 40 years. Cave says that "in setting by hand, and printing by hand on dampened handmade paper, the Allens have achieved a regular standard of work that is the envy of most other fine printers." (ST18999d)