The Mimiambs of Herondas, Herodas, Translated by Jack Lindsay, Decorated by Alan Odle, with a Foreword by Brian Penton. (The Fanfrolico Press, London, nd [c. 1929], #351/375 [first edition, and first Fanfrolico to be printed in London])
11 7/8″ X 9 3/8″, unpaginated 72pp, hardbound no DJ, original buckram-backed decorated Japanese paper boards with plain green cloth spine and gilt lettering, top edge gilt, other edges deckle, poor condition, boards show major wear, spine worn off, binding still good, boards still attached, interior pages are fine, Cloister types on Van Gelder Antique handmade paper
Herodas was a Greek poet and the author of short humorous dramatic scenes in verse, written under the Alexandrian empire in the 3rd century BC. Mimes were scenes in popular life in South Italy and Sicily, written in the language of the people, vigorous with racy proverbs such as we get in other reflections of that region. The Mimes of Herodas have been known to us only since the discovery and publication of the “Kenyon”, M. S. Buck, by the British Museum in 1891 (from a parchment containing 7 legible mimes half of the 8th and a fragment of the 9th). This was Fanfrolico’s first London book. It was published “for subscribers to The Franfrolico Press”. This new translation of Mimiambs of Herondas was translated by Jack Lindsay and beautifully illustrated by Alan Odle whose grotesque and subversive style was a precursor of surrealism. This is a beautiful printed book in great condition and quite rare.
Fanfrolico Press, Australia’s first ‘private press’ in the arts-and-craft tradition, was founded by Jack Lindsay, P. R. Stephensen and John Kirtley, originally in North Sydney in 1923. The press specialized in printings artful, limited editions of classics and forgotten works that were suited to the extravagant style of artist like his father, artist, sculptor and author Norman Lindsay who illustrated many of their books. Fanfrolico was scornful of modernism and with its florid style determinedly backward-looking. They did surprisingly well, despite the lack of business expertise of their young, ambitious “bohemian” owners, eking out a living despite the risky move to London in 1926 and upheavals in ownership that saw the departure in 1927 of Kirtley, and then Stephenson in 1929. Sometime in 1930 they published their last book.