Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Don Quixote de la Mancha (Random House, 1946; Abbeville Press, 1979)

Don Quixote de la Mancha
(Random House, 1946; Abbeville Press, 1979)

The original 1946 first printing of this book is among the most sought-after publications illustrated by Dali.  It is distinguished from the 1979 reprint primarily by size and by the cover design.

The 1946 version is about 5" x 7.25", whereas the 1979 reprint is about 6.25" x 9".  The 1946 version has the same cover art as the 1979 reprint, but the title and "Illustrated by ..." are both printed on the clear dust jacket of the 1946 version, whereas this information is printed directly on the cover of the 1979 reprint.  So, when collecting the 1946 version, be on the lookout for the clear dust jacket with the book information printed directly on it.

Other than the outside of both versions, the inside is exactly the same.  The 1979 reprint is simply in a larger font.

As far as the illustrations are concerned, there are 10 double-page full-color reproductions and numerous b&w illustrations of various sizes throughout.  For my money, the 1946 version is superior because of the color and print quality on matte paper.  The 1979 reprint images are slightly larger, but the slightly glossy paper is not appealing, and the reproductions suffer a little in overall quality, IMHO.

Either print version is somewhat difficult to find, and each usually commands a respective premium. 

The 1946 first printing sells for an average of around $80, and the 1979 reprint sells for an average of around $55.  The prices are close enough, and the editions are of equal availability, that one can hold out for the more superior 1946 first printing.

The images shown here are from the 1946 version.


Anonymous said...


I have the 1946 book but with a green cover. Not the red/black one on this page. Does mine just miss the cover or is it another version? It says 1946 inside and looks exactly the same as on this page.

Dali Collector said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dali Collector said...

I have never seen that cover before. Perhaps it is a library edition. If so, the book would likely be worth considerably less than the typical copy esp without cover art.

Nan Kane said...

Who did the translation? There seems to be a lot of discussion about this with Edith Grossman and Burton Raffel getting the highest marks. Did either of them translate this edition? Thanks, Nan

G Davis said...

I have one of these, too. Mine states Printing by Parkway Printing Co. on the Copyright page. Does yours, or does it only mention Wolff? These are the first(? copies) and second(5000 copies) printings, I understand, bound in the Green #8 binding.

olimliber said...

I have a 1957 edition by Emecé of Dali's drawings of Don Quixote. The book is quiet simple, but it has an original drawing by the artist in blue pen (it was a sort of dedication) and his signature. I'd like to know its value.

Terry-Book Collector/Dali fan said...

It is one of several covers for Modern Library. If it is a first edition on the spine will be printed Modern Library. All other editions say Illustrated Modern Library. There was a similar confusion on the ML's The Brothers Karamazov illustrated by William Sharp.

Terry-Book Collector/Dali fan said...

It may be one of several made by Modern Library. One of the key things I've learned is that with Modern Library Illustrated editions there is no first printing designation. Early printings of the illustrated books say simply Modern Library on the spine. I ran into this difficulty with The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky. Modern Library printed four editions all slightly different. Later editions had the words Illustrated Modern Library on the spine. First editions have only Modern Library on the spine. This is perhaps a variation like the four editions of Karamazov.

Anonymous said...

I know someone who has a copy of this book, the red/black version with the gold-printed plastic cover. However, it begins with a misprint: pages 1-7 are missing, replaced by pages 376-390 (I may not have the page numbers correct, writing from memory here). Pages 1-7 do not appear anywhere else in the book, and pages 376-390 repeat in their correct positions. Do you think this makes the book worth any more or less?

Dali Collector said...

IMO, that would be an undesirable error making the book worth less, or nothing at all. Not worth owning.