A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy

The 14th book published by The Folio Society, and the second of the 1949 issues. It was designed by Charles Ede, set in 11/14 Baskerville type and printed by W.S. Cowell of Ipswich.

Cowell invented the “Plastocowell” lithographic process which the illustrator used in the book.

The Author

Laurence Sterne was born in 1713, and died of consumption in 1768 shortly after this book was published. He trained as a cleric, but became a full time writer with the publication of his most famous work, Tristram Shandy. This was published by the Folio Society in 1970

The Illustrator

This was the first Folio Society book illustrated by Nigel Lambourne. He illustrated several others, including Moll Flanders in 1954. His last involvement was in 1983.

The Story

The novel is a series of linked episodes of the travels of Yorick through France. He is an unashamed flirt and will try his luck with titled ladies and chambermaids. He travelled without a passport, which was a risk as England happens to be at war with France at the time (The Seven Years War). He manages to obtain a passport through the good offices of a French Shakespeare lover. Although, in terms of plot, the novel never really goes anywhere, we learn of Yorick’s love of life, love of meeting people and love for womankind in general. On the rare occasion he treats someone harshly, he very soon regrets it and makes amends.

Yorick never gets to Italy, Sterne’s sickness and death probably getting in the way of this extension.  Sterne’s close friend John Hall Stevenson, decided to continue this fictional travelogue in a book called Yoricks Sentimental Journey Continued. (Warning…large PDF file of the entire sequel)

The Illustrations

These were printed by the “Plastocowell” lithographic process. As far as I can understand it each colour layer is drawn on separate plastic sheets, and then transferred to a nickel plate for printing. I like the illustrations very much

List Of Illustrations

List Of Illustrations

Title Page

Title Page

All in all a very pretty book. The binding has a wonderful floral design . Each chapter in the book begins with a large pink capital. Although the dustjacket of my copy is a little grubby and worn, the interior is in great condition.

Tales From Tolstoy

This is the first book published by the Folio Society. There are 6 short stories/novellas. The earliest is  “The Raid”, written when Tolstoy in his mid twenties, and the last, “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” when he was in his late fifties. The other stories are “Two Hussars”, “Three Deaths”, “Polikushka” and “Two Old Men”

Although my book has seen better days, it is wonderful to have a copy of the first book from the Folio Society. It and its dustjacket have long parted and the cover has a moderate case of sunburn on its upper extremities.

Amongst Tolstoy’s themes in these stories are bravery, integrity, honour, honesty, piety, weakness, fate and self doubt.
The illustrator was Elizabeth MacFadyen. To the best of my knowledge these was her first and last illustrations for the Folio Society. Although I did not particularly like them at first I have come to appreciate them more. There is a wonderful sense of lighting in most of them.

I’ll put the list of illustrations and then the illustrations themselves.

And a page of the text

Folio Society Books – Introduction

The Folio Society was a vision of Charles Ede. A booklover from childhood, his aim was to make fine books available at a reasonable price. That he tried to do this in the immediate aftermath of World War Two in England showed how determined he was. The first books were published in 1947.  My focus will be on the early books but I’ll wander elsewhere from time to time.  For each book I’m planning to post a photo/scan of the cover and some of the illustrations. There will be some information about the book. Most of this will be derived from FOLIO 60, which is a comprehensive bibliography of the books from 1947 to 2006.

This blog was originally hosted on typepad.com, but I’ve transferred it across to wordpress (from Jan 24 2012). I’ll try to update, and rearrange each post so the appearance to a dog’s breakfast is reduced.