James Branch Cabell : An Illustrated Bibliography

THE ART OF AUBREY BEARDSLEY, edited by Arthur Symons

Hall Code
*AB-A1 (ML)
First Printing 1918















Full Title:

Title page recto type "B": [All enclosed in a double rule] THE ART OF | AUBREY BEARDSLEY | [rule] | INTRODUCTION BY ARTHUR SYMONS | [rule] | [Boni & Liveright device] | [rule] | BONI AND LIVERIGHT, INC. | [rule] | PUBLISHERS [two devices, each of three dots in a triangle] NEW YORK (see image above).

Title page verso: Copyright, 1918, by | BONI & LIVERIGHT, INC. | Printed in the United States of America (see image above).


New York: The Modern Library, 1918. Catalog no. 4, with 52 titles, correct for 1918.


Sextodecimo [16.8 cm. (6 5/8-inches) x 10.8 cm. (4 1/4-inches)]. [i] half-title; [ii] cat. no. 4; [iii] blank; [iv] frontispiece; [v] title page; [vi] publication data, [vii] Contents (verso blank); pp. 9-12 Illustrations; (13) fly-title to Preface (verso blank); 15-36 Preface; [37] fly-title to Illustrations (verso blank);[38-164] text; blank leaf. The illustrations are on the odd pages beginning with [39] and ending with [163]; even pages [38] to [164] are blank.


Toledano Binding Style 1. Flexible leatherette in green (also likely in brown and blue). All edges trimmed, tops stained green. Spine all in gilt: THE | ART OF | AUBREY | BEARDS | -LEY. Front cover: [border in blind]; [centered, in gilt] Boni & Liveright device (see image above).

Frontispiece: le stryge

Photographic portrait of Beardsley with his facsimile signature as a subscript. Oddly, this photograph, which is surely the most famous photo ever taken of him, is nowhere credited in the book. It was made in 1894 by Frederick Henry Evans. According to the story, Evans, when he first went to pose Beardsley, exclaimed "There's not much to be done with a face like yours ... you're only a gargoyle, you know?" 1 Beardsley immediately responded by placing his face in his hands to imitate the pose of Le Stryge (The Vampire), the most famous gargoyle on the Cathedral of Nôtre Dame. Evans was delighted, of course, and the photograph was made. And yes, we know that, technically, Le Stryge is not actually a gargoyle, but a grotesque, and both Evans and Beardsley certainly knew that too. Stlll, the fact that Le Stryge is not a gargoyle at all has never stopped it from being the most famous of all the gargoyles of Nôtre Dame, and perhaps the best known gargoyle of all time (see frontispiece image above, Le Stryge at right).

1. Aubrey Beardsley: A Biography, by Matthew Sturgis, Overlook Press: Woodstock, New York, 1998, p. 214.


Grey-green marbled endpapers of the style used by The Modern Library from 1917 until early 1919 (see image above).

Dust jacket:

Not seen, but would probably have been Modern Library style DJ-B.


Illustrations no. 11, "Of a Neophyte and How the Black Art Was Revealed Unto Him," and no. 14, "Baron Verdigris," are reproduced above. See the Index Page for Jurgen.

Early editions of works in The Modern Library were usually printed on a good book paper that was noticeably higher in quality that the pulp paper used for most inexpensive books of the period. With this title, The Modern Library took another step up: this edition is printed on a superior clay-finished art paper. It is also clear that great care was taken with the illustrations, which are are beautifully reproduced to a very high standard.