The Odes of John Keats
An Affordable Facsimile of the Tallone Press Masterpiece
US: The Elizabethan Review, 2013
$14.95 plus $3.95 for shipping and handling in the US
John Keats once famously wrote, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." He might have been describing this publication of his own Odes. The book contains some of the finest poems in the language--"Ode to a Nightingale," "Ode on a Grecian Urn," and the magnificent "To Autumn"--and presents them in a fitting way with a design that is at once both elegant and substantial. This reprint of a masterpiece of typography should give pleasure to lovers of poetry, lovers of fine printing, but most of all to anyone who loves to read poetry. The classic simplicity of the 20 point Caslon type, the generous, airy use of white space,and the feel of the book will encourage readers to coax the poems open with intense but leisurely readings and re-readings.
--Warren Hope, author of The Student Guide to Robert Frost and The Shakespeare Controversy
he Elizabethan Review has published an affordable reprint of the Tallone Press masterpiece, the Odes of John Keats, printed originally in Paris in 1935. Now available for $14.95 on quality paper in its original 9 x 12 inch format, in 20 point Caslon, the reprint provides lovers of John Keats’s poetry the same experience offered bibliophiles in the early 20th century.
The 104 page book was originally designed and printed on letterpress by Alberto Tallone, founder of Tallone Editore of Italy. Only 140 copies of the first edition were published and just two libraries in North America carry copies: the Newberry Library in Chicago and the Houghton Library at Harvard University. In England, only the British Library carries the first edition. This is the first time the title has been reprinted. To review page samples, please visit page samples.
All the books printed by the Tallone publishing house are entirely set by hand with the fonts derived from punches cut directly by artists such as William Caslon, Nicholas Kis, Henry Parmentier and Charles Malin. These convey to letterpress printing a visual appeal and communicative strength similar to that of calligraphy, an achievement which elevates and intensifies the experience of reading. This is the case of the Caslon font chosen for Keats’s Odes: its solid and open outlines, cut in a spontaneous and bold way, enable the reader to experience the mystery of beauty exemplified in the poetry of John Keats.
The oversized format, dramatic use of white space and selection of founder's Caslon in 20 point type all combine to provide readers with a more intense reading experience and thus compel the reading, and re-reading, of the odes. Professors, librarians and designers will find it a valuable educational tool as well as a private pleasure.
The book includes all 14 odes of John Keats –Ode to Apollo; Ode to Pan; Ode to Sorrow; Robin Hood; Ode to Maia; Ode; Ode to Fanny; Lines to Fanny; Ode to Psyche; Ode to a Nightingale; Ode on Melancholy; Ode on a Grecian Urn; Ode on Indolence; To Autumn.
The reprint also offers a new Afterword by Enrico Tallone, current head of Tallone Editore, which delineates how Odes came to fruition in the middle of the Great Depression.
The book’s reputation for design excellence continues to this day. Private press historian Roderick Cave wrote of Odes in Matrix, the journal of fine printing, in 1994: “[The] typography has a plain, architectural quality reminiscent in some ways of Cobden-Sanderson’s work, or even some of the books printed in the neo-classical style by the Didots in the early 19th Century, but with the virtue of using the workaday, no-nonsense Caslon fonts, giving the book a vigor lacking in the frigid Doves Press and Didot volumes. To my mind, the large quarto Tallone Keats is in the same class as the Cranach Press edition of Hamlet or the Golden Cockerel edition of Four Gospels, but with the added distinction that its success depends entirely on the skills of the compositor and pressman.”
A discount of 15% applies on orders of 10 books or more. Libraries, universities and other organizations may submit purchase orders to the publisher at email@example.com for order fulfillment and invoicing.
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John Keats by William Hilton
Keats Memorial House in Hampstead, London
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