London: J.M. Dent & Co., 1896. Item #03799
"The First Good Rackham"
[RACKHAM, Arthur, illustrator]. FITZGERALD, S.J. Adair. The Zankiwank & the Bletherwitch. With Pictures by Arthur Rackham. London: J.M. Dent & Co., 1896.
First edition. Small octavo (7 5/8 x 5 1/2 in; 193 x 140 mm). xii, 188 pp. Seventeen full-page and twenty-four black and white text illustrations.
Original dark green cloth pictorially stamped and lettered in gilt. Top edge gilt, others untrimmed. Engraved bookplate on front paste-down (which has caused light offsetting to the facing endpaper). Neat ink presentation and small "Merry Christmas" postage stamp on front free endpaper. Some very light rubbing to extremities, some light foxing or toning throughout but still an excellent copy of Rackham’s first book featuring “fantastic” creatures.
"It is... with the illustrations for The Zankiwank and the Bletherwitch that the true Rackham fantasy begins to emerge consistently, and this might well be called the first good Rackham. Even the subtitle [on the half-title only] of this book augurs well for Rackham, as it is described as 'An Original Fantastic Fairy Extravaganza,' and as the titlepage demonstrates, there is almost no limit to how extravagant the illustrator might be. There is no color in this book, but its forty [one] line illustrations reveal a new Rackham to the world..." (Gettings, p. 100).
"Here, in the imaginative silhouettes of the attenuated, weirdly double-jointed ostrich-like figure of the Zankiwank, Arthur is finding a commercial, even a career outlet, for the 'fantastic and the imaginative' which had preoccupied him from an early age" (Hamilton, p. 40).
Latimore and Haskell, p. 8. Riall, p. 15. Hudson, p. 166. Gettings, p. 173.