[Mission, B.C.]: Barbarian Press, 2016. Tall Octavo, 27.5 x 15.3 cm. Cased in split boards, with dark blue silk spine bearing a printed paper label, matching silk corners, pale blue paper over boards, and printed device bearing Cavafy’s name in Greek majuscules to the upper cover; endpapers of a paler blue than that of the covering paper; top edges cut and trimmed, others untrimmed. pp. , xi-xiv, , 3-73, [5 + tipped-in corrigenda slip to the recto of the final rear blank]. A fine copy. Set in three of Jan van Krimpen’s types: Antigone and Van Dijck for the text, and Open Kapitalen for display; printed on Zerkall Smooth White Wove. Illustrated with five wood engravings by Peter Lazarov, printed from the blocks. One of 100 copies for sale. Item #124
Presented as a parallel text, with the Greek printed in Antigone on the versos, and Smulders’ translation into English appearing on the rectos in Van Dijck. Open Kapitalen initials used for the opening to each poem, in both the Greek and English.
“The Splendour of a Morning is a project which almost literally fell into our laps. Paul Razzell, past editor of Parenthesis in North America and proprietor of the far too short-lived Inferno Press, had chosen some years ago to publish a manuscript of thirty-seven of Cavafy’s poem in translations by a friend, David Smulders. Smulders had been living and working in Greece some years before, and having become fascinated with Cavafy’s poems he had translated some of his favourites for his own pleasure. Paul approached us to ask about possible illustrators for his edition, and we recommended Peter Lazarov, who subsequently provided Paul with five engravings.
Unfortunately Paul’s increasingly busy life continued to hamper his every attempt to get the book into production. He had designed the book by the time he decided, most regretfully, that he would have to close his press, at which point he offered the project to us. We accepted gratefully.
Paul’s plan was to publish the translations in a slim book with Peter’s engravings, a plan we were happy to embrace. However, at about this time a friend and subscriber to the press who was aware of our desire to add some commercially unavailable types to our collection offered to fund the striking of new matrices for two faces from the Monotype Corporation in England. One of these—a type we had hankered after for many years—was Jan van Krimpen’s Antigone, a Greek face of great beauty.
Consequently we redesigned the book, and we are introducing our new Antigone in this selection of Cavafy’s poems, which is published in Greek with the English translations en face set in van Krimpen’s Van Dijck. We were most fortunate to receive Anthony Hirst’s permission to use his Greek edition of Cavafy’s poems, first published in 2007 by Oxford; more than that, Mr Hirst generously offered to proofread the Greek texts for us. Peter Lazarov’s five engravings are printed from the wood. David Smulders, the translator, has at our request provided an Introduction and one further translation (‘Ithaka’).”
- Jan & Crispin Elsted.