New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929 First edition, first printing. Publisher's decorative navy cloth designed by an artist with the monogram ELF in the style of Margaret Armstrong, with an illustration to the front board of flowers and grapes within a vine border in gilt, blue, and purple, lettered in gilt. About fine, with only some very minor rubbing to the extremities, else fine. A beautiful copy. The Man Behind the Book is a collection of short nonfiction texts that are divided into three thematic sections: "Lights in Poetry," "Problematic Natures in English Language," and "Four Noteworthy Modern Novels." In these essays, Van Dyke describes great works of literature and how they were influenced by the lives of the men that wrote them. As he explains in his preface, "In every book that is worth reading, it seems to me, something of the writer is disclosed," because, "You must live before you can really write." Books discussed include Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Thornton Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop; authors include George Meredith, Geoffrey Chaucer, Walt Whitman, Lord Byron, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. This copy is bound in the publisher's decorative trade binding - a popular form of advertisement and branding for publishers around the turn of the 20th century. Specifically, this binding mimics those designed by Margaret Armstrong for the blue cloth series of Van Dyke's works, which are identifiable as a set by their decorative bindings. As Gullans and Espey explain in their descriptive bibliography Margaret Armstrong and American Trade Bindings (1991), "So highly individual are the semi-uniform bindings that [Margaret Armstrong] invented for her authors that, when she declined to do more work than interested her, the publisher frequently went to other artists who would design in the style she established for the author.". Illus. by ELF. 1st Edition.. Hard Cover. Near Fine. (Inventory #: HVD024)
19th & 20th Century American and English Literature, Modern First Editions, Signed and Presentation Copies
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