New York: George H. Doran, 1922. First American edition. Hardcover. Quarto (9 1/8 x 6 1/2"). (1) 204pp., 25 plates, including frontispiece. Original yellow cloth with red lettering to cover and spine. Illustrated endpapers. Color frontispiece. Illustrated title page with decorative border. Decorative head-, tailpieces on each page and initials. Historiated head and endpieces
Illustrated with 25 magnificent tipped in plates in full color as well as numerous in-text b/w illustrations, "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" is a celebrated collection of fifteen fairy tales, gathered by legendary Norwegian folklorists Peter Christen Asbjornsen and Jorgen Engebretsen Moe who had spent years in the mid-nineteenth century journeying across the fjords to remote fishing, farming, and mining villages to transcribe the local lore.
A cast of trolls, ogres, and witches roots the stories clearly in Norse pagan mythology, but what makes them distinctly Scandinavian is the outsized, often personified role of the natural world: the North Wind is a character, brawny and menacing, and nature itself is a character, alternately gloomy and glowing.
'Kay Nielsen - a Dane, ironically - had been commissioned to contribute illustrations, including a series of watercolors and pen-and-ink drawings that are arguably his finest work. His drawings are for the most part flat; their depth comes from their dusky, warm colors and patterns. The figures are almost stereotypically Nordic: pale and idealized, somewhat androgynous.' (See: Dan Piepenbring's review of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, in "Paris Review," December 3, 2015). To this day, Nielsen’s illustrated edition of Asbjornsen and Moe’s tales is considered a jewel of early 20th-century children's literature.
Binding with some light wear along edges, small chips, minor soiling and lightly rubbed and sunned. Previous owner's name inked to front free endpaper. Block slightly age-toned. Block and back endpapers with slight smudging. Binding and interior in overall good- to good+, plates in very good condition. g to vg. Item #47839