Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Nicely Made Book

Carl Van Vechten, Peter Whiffle: His Life and Works, (Knopf, 1922).

Van Vechten would have been amused to know that I found a copy of his first novel in the "Biography" section of my local second-hand bookshop. I bought the third printing of May 1922, which was "set up and printed by the Vail-Ballou Co., Binghampton, N.Y.," with "paper furnished by W.F. Etherington & Co, New York, N.Y." and "bound by the Plimpton Press, Norwood, Mass."

The paper comprising the book's cover is what I would call an artisanal stock; it's colorful, ribbed and textured, reminiscent of a pressed and preserved leaf. I was attracted to the book primarily due to the care with which it had been made, though I am enjoying the writer's wry descriptions of the milieu in which literary and artistic modernism were forged.

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