Shakespear's Pound: Illuminated Cantos

Ezra Pound was undoubtedly one of the most influential and controversial figures in twentieth century poetry. His brilliant yet obscure encyclopedic epic poem Cantos explored the history of civilization, his hatred for war and his disappointments in man's imperfection. In the late 30s Ezra Pound planned a fine edition of the Cantos which was to be illustrated by his wife, the artist Dorothy Shakespear. She created alphabet designs for the initial capitals, tail pieces, and ancillary decorations. With World War II and the consequences of Pound's involvement with Fascist propaganda, the edition was never published. However the designs survived and now the LaNana Creek Press and Scolar Press have combined to present them in a limited edition based on a selection of pages from the Cantos. The selection has been made by Omar Pound, the son of Dorothy Shakespear and Ezra Pound. Dorothy Shakespear (1886-1973) always considered herself an 'amateur' artist but she is now seen as a significant contributor to Britain's first avant-garde movement of the 20th century, the circle of painters and sculptors to whom Ezra Pound gave the name of Vorticists. Her work figured in Blast, the major exhibition of their work in 1996. This limited edition has been designed by the LaNana Press' printer, Charles Jones, and it reflects the style and generosity of materials and processes that were the hall mark of private press publishing in 1920s and 30s. The book has a large page format (318 x 241mm) with the text set in type faces designed by Eric Gill: Gill Sans light and Joanna. Charles Jones has printed 200 copies on a Vandercook Universal III press, on Magnani Biblios mould made white wove paper. The edition is hand bound in Harmatan's tan leather with Japanese bookcloth overboards and slipcased. Each copy of the book is numbered and signed by Omar Pound and Charles Jones.