Life of Michelangelo

Sat Jun 15 23:56:04 EDT 2002

My copy(leatherette) of Michelangelo has the seven line publisher's note 
facing the title page, and does have the listing of titles in the back. As 
stated previously, the DJ on my copy(it is pictorial, with the Moses statue 
illustrated on the front) does not list Apuleius, indicating a Spring 1928 
printing. However, the list of titles at the end of the book does list 
Apuleius, and not Dostoyevsky- Brothers Karamazov, indicating a Fall 1928 
printing of the book. The recent Flaubert- Salammbo and this discussion gives 
an indication of how Modern Library collecting sure is interesting.

<< This is the first of two or three postings in response to 
 issues raised by John and Pete.
 John's copy of Symonds' LIFE OF MICHELANGELO in 
 the "transitional" balloon cloth binding isn't a first.  
 LIFE OF MICHELANGELO was published in October 1928 in the 
 imitation leather binding.  The "transitional" binding was 
 used for three months from January through March 1929.  The 
 jacket is Henry's Dj 4 (p. 178) with a fall 1928 list 
 (includes Apuleius, Golden Ass but not Dostoyevsky, Brothers 
 SCHOPENHAUER (both published October 1928) were the first 
 titles to use the newly designed typographic jacket.  It's 
 possible that John has a first printing bound in a later 
 binding, but for most collectors, that doesn't count as a 
 full-fledged "first."
 LIFE OF MICHELANGELO was also available in a special binding 
 and jacket as part of the 1928 Christmas gift box sold 
 mainly in department stores.  The yellowish green binding is 
 stamped in a diamond-shaped pattern and the reddish orange 
 jacket features a drawing of Michelangelo's "Moses."  The 
 book has a fall 1928 list at the end of the volume; the 
 jacket has a spring 1928 list (includes Dumas, Three 
 Musketeers but not Apuleius).  I wrote about the gift boxes 
 in a recent issue of ML COLLECTOR.  I assume that jackets 
 for copies sold as part of the gift box were printed in 
 summer 1928 so that the gift boxes could be shipped to 
 department stores well in advance of the Christmas season.  
 Pete's copy with the spring 1928 jacket sounds like the 
 pictorial jacket from the gift box on a copy in the standard 
 imitation leather binding.
 LIFE OF MICHELANGELO is one of many titles in which 
 the "First ML" statement appears on more than one 
 printing.  "First" statements were generally removed from 
 the plates after the first printing.  Sometimes through an 
 oversight they weren't removed.  I've seen a few titles in 
 which the "First" statement was retained through several 
 printings.  Usually this was the result of carelessness.  It 
 wasn't the result of malicious intent to confuse 21st-
 century collectors and booksellers.  I have noticed, 
 however, that whenever the ML committed a major blunder, 
 like omitting Dewey's introduction (pp. 1-13) from the first 
 printing of HUMAN NATURE AND CONDUCT, the corrected second 
 printing almost always retains the "First" statement.  In 
 such cases I guess it means "the first ML edition the way it 
 was supposed to be."
 I've identified two printings of LIFE OF MICHELANGELO 
 with "First" statements.  These can be distinguished by the 
 publisher's note facing the title page.  One has a 7-line 
 publisher's note stating that the publishers will be pleased 
 to send, upon request, an illustrated ML catalogue.  The 
 other has a 3-line note reading, "Turn to the end of this 
 volume for a complete list of titles in the Modern 
 Library."  Both printings have fall 1928 lists at the end of 
 the volume.  My copy in the imitation leather binding and 
 Henry's Dj 4 has the 7-line publisher's note.  My copy in 
 the gift box binding and jacket has the 3-line publisher's 
 note.  I have no idea which came first.  The 7-line 
 publisher's note was usually used on ML books without a list 
 of titles at the end.  It's possible that copies with the 7-
 line note were printed first, and the second printing 
 substitued the more appropriate 3-line note.  It's possible 
 that copies earmarked for the gift box were printed first.  
 It's also possible that a portion of each printing was bound 
 up in the imitation leather binding and a portion in the 
 gift box binding.
 I'd be interested in hearing from other collectors with 
 stated firsts of LIFE OF MICHELANGELO with fall 1928 lists 
 at the end whether they have copies with the 7-line or 3-
 line publisher's note, and which binding they have 
 (imitation leather, gift box, or transitional balloon cloth).
 I'll post separate messages to the list giving more 
 information about the transitional binding and Dostoyevsky's 
 Gordon B. Neavill
 Associate Professor
 Library and Information Science Program
 Wayne State University
 Detroit, MI 48202
 aa3401 at 

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