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Frankenstein gothic

Mary Shelley

Centipede Press

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Lynd Ward

Patrick McGrath

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Frankenstein gothic
Frankenstein gothic

6.a Quarter leather binding over pictorial boards, with a folder of prints, presented in an oversized cloth traycase: 22 - $1000 (Red roman numerals)
6.b.i Quarter cloth binding over pictorial boards in cloth slipcase, with numbered limitation page: 175 of 500 limitation – $225
6.b.ii Quarter cloth binding over pictorial boards in cloth slipcase, without numbered limitation page: 325 of 500 limitation  – $225

Published as Centipede Press; 2006
Original price: $1000/$225

As with the previous book (Nosferatu: History, Criticism, and Interpretation), this is an important book in the Press because it too introduces a whole “series” of related books that would be published over the next seven years (so far). The book is Frankenstein, and it is the first book in what Centipede Press refers to as the “Gothic” series.

[Two side notes here! Hope you enjoy spelunking in rabbit holes
The first: this is the first version of Frankenstein to be published by Centipede Press. The second version would come the following year, under the Millipede Press imprint. Confusingly, the early Centipede Press newsletter, Post Mortem (big thanks again to Lurker, a member on thedarktower forum, who sent me many old newsletters), mentions the later Millipede Press version of Frankenstein as the first book in the “Millipede Press Gothic Novels series”, but the format of the subsequent Gothic novels mirrors the Centipede Press release. Confused yet?
The second: The rest of the books (so far), for those interested, are: Dracula (also 2006), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (2012), The Golem (2012), and The Monk (2013).]

The titles are all oversized books, and until The Monk, they retained the same look (The Monk is very similar, but was made after Jerad started using dustjackets for most books). All of the books in the Gothic series have Deluxe versions, which all have the same format: quarterbound leather books using the same art on the front board, placed in an extra-oversized traycase (the books are annoyingly hard to shelve, but totally worth it), and accompanied by a suite of (usually signed) prints from the book.

Onto the book itself!

Oversized and slipcased, with gold stamping on the spine

Unfortunately, and for reasons I don’t know/understand, this particular book was especially susceptible to flaking on the spine. For this and many future books, the spine is a black faux-leather looking cloth, with printed boards. I don’t know why, but this book (and only this book, in my experience) has a lot of issues with the material on the spine flaking off.

It’s harder to see in the pictures, but the edges of the spine that are a lighter gray is because the material is flaking off. 

Pictorial front and back boards

The inner beauty of this tome is largely due to the amazing woodcut illustrations by Lynd Ward. They’re gorgeous

You probably noted that there are two separate states listed for the non-deluxe version of this book: 6.b.i and 6.b.ii. This is because not all of the books were bound with a numbered limitation page! (Only the deluxe version has signatures – the non-deluxe does not have any in either state).

There were 500 copies of this book produced, but only ~175 had numbered limitation pages bound in. I believe it was because the others were damaged in some way, but that’s my half remembered recollection of “why”, recounted to me from some other collector, so take that for what it’s worth.

Given the smaller number of limitation pages, and the propensity for damage to the spine, it’s really rare to find a F/F version that has the numbered limitation page.

Bibliography by Timothy Booksker adapted from thedarktower forum

Synopsis from Centipede Press website

The best edition of Mary Shelley’s classic, with the celebrated wood engravings by Lynd Ward, which many agree are the finest Frankenstein illustrations ever published, appearing complete for the first time in over 70 years.
       Includes a new introduction by Patrick McGrath. Oversize, 8 × 12 inches, with head and tail bands and a ribbon marker, with a color frontispiece with a protective translucent sheet overlay. Bound in cloth with two-toned silk panels, and enclosed in a two-color cloth slipcase.
       This is part of our Gothics series and the books share the same spine typography, so they will look especially handsome on your bookshelf.

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