EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF THE MOON: Old Tales From the North

EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF THE MOON: Old Tales From the North

(London: Hodder and Stroughton, [1914]).

AN IMPORTANT AND SCARCE FIRST EDITION OF NIELSEN’S BEST BOOK. Fifteen old Norwegian folk-tales from Asbjornsen and Moe’s ‘Norske Folkeeventyr’, have been selected and magnificently portrayed by Nielson. Only his second book commission, this collection of paintings earned him enormous public recognition and equal standing with Dulac and Rackham as a leading children’s book illustrator. Here, in its larger format, we are offered the luxury of viewing all 25 illustrations with utter clarity. “In these elegant paintings, he combined qualities of Oriental design with those unique features of his native Scandinavia: The melancholic mystery of a bleak Nordic twilight seemed to cast a magical spell on the images themselves. If it were not for the outbreak of war that year, there is no doubt that Nielsen would have continued to produce many more of these remarkable paintings for children, to establish him as a great master of the Northern fairy tale.”-Susan Meyer.
These captivating old tales at once exotic and somehow familiar, of princes and princesses, giants and mythic goats, all combine to give us a glimpse into the Norwegian imagination. And we cannot help but agree that: “The quaintness, the tenderness, the grotesque yet realistic intermingling of actuality with supernaturalism, by which the original Norske folkeeventyr are characterized, will make an appeal to all, as represented in the pictures of Kay Nielsen. And these imperishable traditions, whose bases are among the very roots of all antiquity, are here reincarnated in line and colour, to the delight of all who ever knew or now shall know them.”-Preface.
[Surely,] these old-wives' fables "are the romances of the childhood of Nations: they are the never-failing springs of sentiment, of sensation, of heroic example, from which primeval peoples drank their fill at will" (- from the Introduction). This is one of only five books that Nielsen illustrated before going to work as an animator for Disney.
The best of the first editions is quite scarce and in a larger and more decorative format then the more common American edition. This copy is handsome and bright and quite a nice copy indeed. Item #30274

First edition. The best of the various issues of the first editions. Illustrated with 25 beautiful tipped-in color plates by Kay Nielsen, each with captioned tissue guards, as well as numerous detailed black and white illustrations also by Nielsen throughout the text. 4to, publisher’s original navy blue cloth with gilt lettering and elaborate pictorial decorations on the spine and upper cover, and with decorative illustrated endleaves printed in black and gilt. 206 pp. A bright and clean copy of this rare book, the blue cloth rich and unfaded with vivid gilt, with only a bit of shelving at the tips and edges, the colour plates are all very fine and are truly fine impressions, the inevitable foxing to a few of the leaves at the front and rear and scattered very lightly throughout.

Price: $3,500.00