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2295Re: [mythsoc] Baynes' Narnia

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  • Wayne G. Hammond
    Sep 6, 2000
      David Lenander wrote, in two messages:

      >The single volume
      >edition is the only one I've seen so far to feature colored editions of the 7
      >Chronicles.

      The colored pictures are also in a seven-volume paperback set (available
      separately and boxed) published by HarperCollins U.K. in 1998.

      >It's surprisingly easy to use and compact, all things considered.
      >Of course you lose the original design of the volumes, with the illustrations
      >laid out with some sense, not that this edition is as stupidly laid out as
      the
      >deluxe _Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe_, which included the original
      black and
      >white illustrations supplemented with new full-color plates. I wouldn't be
      >without this one, either, simply because I like the new Baynes illustrations.
      >However, the larger-format book destroys the original format, plus the glossy
      >paper stock resulted in the ink for the black and white illustrations (I
      think
      >blown-up from original size, but I'm working from memory here, and I might be
      >wrong about that) pooling on the page before drying and the details of
      Baynes'
      >lines are often obscured. Baynes had done the new plates on spec, and I'm
      happy
      >that the publisher published this edition, but it was done stupidly. And
      they
      >told her (reportedly) that they didn't want to do the rest of the
      Chronicles in
      >this format.

      I don't find anything particularly wrong with the layout of the deluxe LWW,
      and the poor reproduction quality of the black and white pictures didn't
      result from the glossy paper but from degradation of the art since the
      fifties, being reproduced over and over again, from reproduction to
      reproduction as the original art has been mostly dispersed. The black and
      whites are only good to poor in most other editions and printings of the
      Narnia books, following the first few printings of the original U.K.
      editions. (The American editions didn't include the full number of
      illustrations that were published in Britain.) The black and whites in the
      deluxe LWW in fact vary in size relative to the first edition, some
      pictures larger, some smaller.

      However, the glossy paper did give an unfortunate shine to the pictures,
      particularly the color ones. Pauline remarked on it, compared to the same
      color illustrations as reproduced much more nicely, on a beautiful
      off-white matte finish stock, for the Narnia Calendar that came out the
      same time as the original (1991) printing of the deluxe LWW. The exception
      in the book is the superb endpapers which show Narnia coming out of winter
      into spring.

      And yes, HarperCollins did decide not to publish any more of the Narnia
      books in the same deluxe format, which I regret very much.

      >My favorite editions are the Puffin paperbacks that Wayne
      >mentioned, which my former roommate brought back to me from the U.K. in the
      >mid-70s. These featured full-color covers by Baynes, along with a box.

      Two different boxes, in fact, at different times.

      >Even in
      >reduced format-size I still love these. Unfortunately, the paper stock is
      >yellowing and brittle, and I'm reluctant to let Claire read them except under
      >strict observation. I recommend the one-volume edition with the colored
      >illustrations as the best reading copy for children currently available
      here. I
      >think that the color does appeal to the children reading them for the first
      >time, even though in some ways I'm rather torn about the loss of the pristine
      >black-and-white illustrations.

      I would think the one-volume edition unwieldy for small hands, though of
      course sturdier for hard use. I wonder about the appeal of color, though.
      When black and white illustrations are well done, as by Baynes, or Shepard,
      for example, they have quite a lot of appeal without needing color, and I
      believe that children quite as well as, or even better than, adults pick up
      (subconsciously) on quality draftsmanship and design.

      >I visited the site Wayne mentioned, and while I didn't have time to really
      >explore it all, apparently the new paperback edition with Baynes color
      >jackets is already out in the U.S. The format is "digest-size," which means
      >they are larger than the Puffins I have, and may explain why the box is
      >clearly NOT the original art done on the Puffin edition, but simply some of
      >the cover art adapted for the box. (Alas). The format may be better for the
      >interior art than my old Puffins, though we shall see.... I worry that since
      >Pauline had designed wrap-around covers for the Puffins, the new ones may
      >dispense with the back illustration as the format is different.

      Actually only four of the seven volumes in the Puffin editions were
      complete wraparounds. The other three had solid-color spines interrupting
      the front and back cover art. Later Puffin had all solid-color spines.
      (Pauline did a number of wraparounds for Puffin. Her 1961 _Hobbit_ is
      probably the most famous. Her _Borrowers_ covers were good too, though
      there Puffin eventually dispensed with the back cover art in favor of
      blurbs etc.)

      >Interestingly, the page also shows the the other editions are being
      >re-released (as of next week?), with a new jacket on the deluxe LWW, for
      >instance, and an into by Doug Gresham to the one-volume (or was there an
      >intro in the original that I'm just forgetting?).

      There was an introduction in the original, but by Brian Sibley. I see, by
      the way, assuming that the graphic on the Narnia.com website is correct,
      that the British one-volume edition with the colored art now has a jacket
      like the American one-volume, based on Pauline's poster map of Narnia.
      Originally it was based on the winter-to-spring endpaper, nice but not as
      dramatic -- though more graphically interesting than the largely black and
      gold jacket on the other one-volume edition HarperCollins published in
      1998, for the adult market, with only black and white illustrations (or
      some of them).

      Wayne
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