New York: Dingwall Rock Limited, 1925. Item #02677
"Such As It Is It Is Terribly, Terribly Sincere And Is I Think My Best Book" (Harry Clarke)
[CLARKE, Harry, illustrator]. GOETHE, [Johann Wolfgang von]. Faust. From the German by John Anster. Illustrated by Harry Clarke. New York: Dingwall Rock Limited, n.d. .
First American edition, limited to 1,000 copies for the United States and signed by the artist, this being copy no. 81. Quarto (10 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches; 266 x 208 mm.). 253, , [1, tail-piece], [1, blank] pp. Eight color plates, fourteen black and white plates (six in line and eight in line and wash lithographed in two printings), and sixty-three line drawings in the text. Pictorial endpapers.
Original quarter vellum over gray boards. Original printed dust jacket. Minima dust soiling to vellum, very slight rubbing to corners, otherwise a fine copy in a very good dust jacket, slightly chipped at head and tail of spine. Housed in the publisher's (rather worn) cardboard slipcase.
Faust was published at the end of October 1925. “The book was handsomely produced in a signed and numbered edition, limited to two thousand copies of which one thousand were for sale in America. The book was printed on Van Gelder handmade paper and quarter bound in vellum at two guineas. Only the line drawings are satisfactorily reproduced; in this edition the printers’ attempts to reproduce the fine wash and line illustrations by photogravure and the often murky watercolours by process colour do not do justice to the originals. Many of the original drawings for head and tailpieces are heightened with gold and silver ink, but these were printed only in black and white. Reviews of Faust were mixed” (Bowe, p. 81).
From Dorothy Richardson’s review in the Irish Times (quoted in Bowe, pp. 81-82): “There is from first to last in these pictures no sunlight, but rather light filtered, coming as through a glass darkly. And it is this quality of filtered light, helping to make him so interesting a commentator on Goethe’s tale that is one of the distinctive charms of Mr. Clarke’s work.”
From AE’s review in The Irish Statesman (quoted in Bowe, pp. 82-84): “Wherever the imagination of Goethe conjures up the macabre, the witch, the imp and the devil Clarke will add a shudder which is congruous with the drama… The collector will buy this volume because of Harry Clarke’s part in it, not because of Goethe’s part in it… Nothing in these drawings represents anything in the visible world; all come from that dread mid-world or purgatory of the soul where forms change on the instant by evil or beautiful imagination, where the human image becomes bloated and monstruous [sic] by reason of lust or hate, the buttocks become like those of fat swine, and thoughts crawl like loathsome and puffy worms out of their cells in the skull. Shapeless things gleam with the eye of snake or hog, and in the midst of all this a faint and fragile Margaret moves, like a helpless innocence or frightened faun, and at other times she herself becomes sinister because of the sorcery which assails her… Clarke’s fertility of invention is endless. It is shown in a multitude of designs less elaborate that the page plates, but no less intense.”
“Harry himself wrote to [Thomas] Bodkin during the week of publication, ‘Am sending you a copy and hope you will not hate it. Such as it is it is terribly, terribly sincere and is I think my best book— ‘tis horrid I know—in fact I had to laugh at my creations or I would have become morbid—I think I shall illustrate no more…’” (Bowe, p. 82).
Bowe, p. 150, no. 10.