Do you want to see one of my birthday presents? Or at least the illustrations contained within.
The book is Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm – for a change it is a book I’ve always intended to read – and the illustrations are by George Him. So of course they are wonderful. As is Mr Crownfolio, who gave it to me.
The book itself, however, is less easy to classify. It’s published by the Heritage Press (who even write about their edition here), but with a slip case that makes it look like something issued by the Folio Society, which is why I haven’t bothered to show it on here. Why bother when I can fill the page with illustrations like these instead?
Puzzle one is that the book does not appear on the bibliography on the George Him website. None of which matters, but is all a bit odd.
A further mystery is that when you have a look at the Wikpedia page on Zuleika Dobson (should you, say, happen to be Googling that book along with George Him), the illustration is of a 1961 Penguin Classics version of the book, cover design also by George Him.
There must have been a craze for both the book and Him round about them. Understandable, but still a bit peculiar.
All of which does rather frustrate my googling though and means that I may never be able to find out exactly what this copy is doing and why. But never mind, because it is absolutely delightful to look at.
(There are loads more illustrations, by the way, but I didn’t want to crush my lovely copy on the scanner. Sorry about that.)