Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Superb Deluxe Limited Issue (1919)
Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Book ID: 66093
Tales of Mystery and Imagination. London: Harrap, 1919. Full vellum binding with gilt lettering and vignette to upper cover. Top edge gilt and others untrimmed. A fine bright copy. Housed in custom-made slipcase.
SIGNED LIMITED EDITION, one of only 170 Deluxe Copies on Handmade Paper. Numbered and signed by Harry Clarke.
Poe’s magical tales are accompanied by 24 full page black and white illustrations, which are stunning. He uses large areas of black and intricate lines which have a strong effect. A spectacular version of Poe’s popular tales. Clarke had begun illustrating Poe’s hauntingly macabre otherworldly tales when he was twenty, having just left the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art, but was formally commissioned by the London publisher, George Harrap, to prepare a set of 24 black and white full page and 12 ‘ornamental’ text illustrations to Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe in 1918. These would appear in a cloth edition in October 1919, as well as in three different collectors’ bindings of velvet Persian yapp, full morocco and in a limited, de luxe, full vellum edition of 170, signed and numbered on handmade paper. This impressive project came about as a result of the success of his illustrated Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales which Harrap had published two years earlier. Widely acclaimed and subsequently pirated, critics were stunned at how ‘his tremendous imagination vitalis[ed] pictorially with amazing power and invention the Tales of Mystery and Imagination.’ Such was their success that Harrap issued a further edition of his Poe Tales in 1923 with eight new colour plates tipped in, several additional line decorations and a new cover and jacket.
A superb example of this stunning book. This deluxe edition was originally published at 5 guineas. The Christmas Bookman of 1919 announced the book at the top of their seasonal list of gift books.