Iowa: Center for the Book, 1983. 1st Edition. SCARCE PERSONAL COPY OF SAMUEL BECKETT’S NOVELLA “COMPANY” SIGNED BY SAMUEL BECKETT, THE ARTIST & PRINTMAKER DELLAS HENKE & BOUND BY THE INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED CONSERVATOR, WILLIAM (Bill) ANTHONY. Signed documentation authenticating Anthony’s binding and that the volume is from Anthony’s personal collection is included.
This edition was published under Anthony’s direction at the Iowa Center for the Book where Bill worked for the majority of his career. This printing appears in Kelly and Hutner, A Century for the Century: Fine Printed Books from 1900 to 1999, 89). Only “fifty-two copies [were printed], press-numbered 1/52 through 52/52, and 9 un-numbered author’s, artist’s, and printers’ proofs” (Company). This volume is one of those nine particularly rare printings.
Printed by hand on dampened Arches paper by Cheryl Miller, L. J. Yanney, Kim Merker, and Cynthia Rymer, included are 13 folio plates. The frontispiece is hand-colored.
Other fine bindings by Anthony are in private collections and libraries, including the British Library, London; the Lily Library, Indiana University; and the Newberry Library, Chicago. “The spectrum of his work was broad, encompassing edition binding, fine binding, and conservation” (Verheyen, William Anthony, Fine Binder).
Company is a novella by Samuel Beckett. “In it, a man lies on his back in the dark, musing about the nature of existence and in particular, his own life. While there are several reminiscences about the narrator's own life (and these seem to have an autobiographical air about them), the main concern seems to be that of the paradox of consciousness itself and the nature of reality. If one is conscious about oneself and comments on the self from within the self, then where is the true location of the self? Is the mind that examines the self the true 'self' or is the 'self' that is the subject of mind the true self. The mind can set itself aside from and examine the body that houses it, the presumed 'soul' contained somewhere within it, or indeed any other manifestation of self that the mind cares to focus on. Company seems to ask: 'what is the locus of the self and how should a person proceed in relation to that amorphous and dynamic entity?' This relates to Plato’s Plato's paradox of the third man argument in which a third self (and then another, and another ad infinitum) is required to explain how a man and the form of man are both man, and so on.
“Company illustrates clearly the dilemma of the modern 20th century human, an existential crisis in which God is dead and life's 'purpose' seems entirely arbitrary. Beckett's solution in Company is to suggest that a plain acceptance of one's temporality is needed in order properly to function. However, far from being hopeless, such a life is hopeful in that its design is one's own responsibility and not that of some god or fate. Company is a call to action for those who accept the hard facts. 'Get on with it,' might be a fitting summation” (Wikipedia). Item #1216
CONDITION & DETAILS: Folio. 14 x 11.25 inches. Housed in a simple blue cloth case. Printed by hand on dampened Arches paper by Cheryl Miller, L. J. Yanney, Kim Merker, and Cynthia Rymer, included are 13 folio plates. The frontispiece is hand-colored. Pristine condition.