New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916.. Oblong octavo, [viii], pp., eight full-page color and twenty full-page black and white illustrations (included in pagination), other black and white decorations and initial letters in text, original pictorial blue cloth, front panel stamped in reddish brown, blue-gray, white and black. First edition. The author's first and only book. Frederick Judd Waugh (1861-1940), a highly regarded marine artist, hoped to write and illustrate a book that would have the appeal and gain the attention that ALICE IN WONDERLAND enjoyed. However, THE CLAN OF MUNES did not sell well and the publisher sold the remainder en bloc and most of these later were destroyed. Today the book is almost impossible to find and is known only to a few devotees of fantasy art. The genesis of this series of drawings is recounted in Bryant's American Pictures and Their Painters (1917), "That Mr. Waugh's perception of the unusual has led him into a strange wonderland is abundantly verified in his book, THE CLAN OF MUNES... These queer little figures are fashioned from weather worn spruce tree roots that the artist picked up on the island of Monhegan when there painting marines. It is interesting to know the beginnings of the fantastic little beings so graphically described both in word and picture by the artist. He says, 'I began seeing little people with queer tall caps and then made careful drawings of roots and placed these little people near them, and by and by I began to think it would be a good plan to form a story or a series of stories about these drawings.' Certainly Alice never saw stranger antics in Wonderland than these of grotesque little creatures performing under the spruce tree. The remarkable drawing and artistic arrangement of them make a pleasing picture; and the curious little beings have a fascination because of the constant revelation hitherto undiscovered wonders." Reginald Bretnor in AMRA 2:9 (1960) writes: "From one extreme, we go to another, and find a class of stories - by no means a very numerous one - which either are nothing without their illustrations because they are an essential part of them, or else, despite their own intrinsic merit, have been so identified with a given set of illustrations that it is hard to think of one without the other... As for those designed for adult readers especially, one of the best examples... is a book that is virtually unknown: Frederick J. Waugh's THE CLAN OF MUNES. The munes were roughly - very roughly - of human form. A Northwest Coast Indian wizard created them out of such substances as gnarled driftwood; and the motifs of the Northwest tribes dominate the illustrations, particularly the splendid color-plates. Waugh was a very well known painter, and this was his only book, but in it he succeeded in doing what every writer of fantasy and science fiction must try to do - in achieving the creation of an entirely new and yet completely coherent world out of the material of actuality. Unfortunately, THE CLAN OF MUNES is long out of print, and Scribner's, who published it in 1916, inform me that only a few hundred copies were sold, and that the plates are no longer in existence." Several stains and some fading of cloth, small ink stain to fore-edge of some leaves toward the back but it only penetrates a bit into the right margins, sketch in blue ink on front free endpaper (regrettably not by Waugh), a tight, good copy with nearly fine interior. A decent copy uncommon, important book. (#158351)
(Inventory #: 158351)
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