Monday, January 16, 2012

The British Library, two new publications

The British Library has just published two extremely attractive books, in December 2011 and January 2012.

The first, entitled, Love Letters: 2000 Years of Romance, invites the reader into an intimate realm, reminding us of the importance of the written word. From pre-Roman times to the 1970's, numerous examples make for fascinating reading. The letter included in the collection written by my father to my mother in the early 1940's is accompanied by a beautiful frieze at the bottom of the last page, which depicts various horses. On the front cover of the book is his angelic little archer who has just released an arrow from its bow. This arrives at the very epicentre of the aim a heart-shaped target, shown beneath the text on the back cover of this lovely book.

In the forward to the second book, a beautifully-produced edition of Grimm's Household Tales, the writer Sarah Waters tells of how she first came across this famous collection of short stories in 1977. 'I knew them through sanitised re-tellings', she writes, 'but this edition (with my father's illustrations) was something altogether different. For me the Grimms' tales will always be at their best when accompanied by the pictures of Mervyn Peake. It's wonderful to see them brought together again in this glorious edition'. The front cover itself, attracting the viewer by the ravishing beauty of Snow White, voluminous hair spreading out across her shoulders, and her tiny, white, and delicate hand resting on the small branch of a tree, is enough to turn both heads and the pages of this alluring book.


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