Monday, May 19, 2014

OT8: Victoria Day 2014

The last Monday before May 25th is celebrated as Victoria Day in Canada in honour of our dominion’s first sovereign, Queen Victoria. Luck was not with me this time and I didn’t receive any tomes pertaining to this monarch from the Biblio-Mat so I dug up the next best thing I had.

Victorian-esque. Kind of.

While not related to Queen Victoria, Self-Reliance was written in Victorian times. The kicker is that this copy was printed in 1902, one year after the end of the Victorian Era. Not quite dead-on but it’s the closest I’ve got to a Victoria Day related book.

The straight man to Thoreau's tree-hugging land-squatting hippy.

I picked this up from the Monkey’s Paw a while ago and it was an instant buy as soon as I saw it on the shelf for two reasons. The first being that Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance is one of my favourite essays and it was actually the subject of the last paper I ever wrote in university. The second was that this copy is an amazingly preserved specimen from the Roycroft press, which was one of the earliest art collectivesfor printing. The sheer history of it was too great to pass up.

Light reading on a long weekend.

The Roycroft press was essentially an artisan press, focusing on craftsmanship over mass production. The cover to Self-Reliance appears to be rough cut leather with a satin lining. The interior pages are very much handcrafted and naturally uneven. There’s a gorgeous inscription on the inside cover that is interesting in that it’s in raised ink, which combined with the penmanship would lead me to believe it was created professionally either by the press or another print shop.

Because it's more fun to stylize an X than a C.

Beautiful pages and layout designs make this a gem to hold and read. Considering it was printed just after the Victorian Era, the condition is impeccable.

As artisan as it gets.

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