Monday, October 29, 2012

John Updike, "From the Journal of a Leper", limited edition from Lord John Press

Here's another John Updike limited edition from the Lord John Press. Originally published in the New Yorker in 1976, this 1978 bound edition of "From the Journal of a Leper" is limited to 300 numbered copies and 26 lettered copies (that I believe were bound in some amount of leather).
"From the Journal of a Leper" is a strange little story about a man afflicted with "spots, plaques, and avalanches of excess skin, manufactured by the dermis through some trifling but persistent error in its metabolic instructions, expand and slowly migrate across the body like lichen on a tombstone." Not technically leprosy in the traditional sense, but a troubling bodily condition that Updike can use in all its metaphorical capacity. The narrator is a ceramicist, whose smooth, perfect vases provide the story with a well-toned balance to its otherwise epidermal focus.
The book is beautifully printed in red and black, with a delicate, ornate insignia on the title, limitation, and final page.
This is copy #2 of 300, signed by Updike. The limitation page with printing details is below:
This is the second book I've featured from the Lord John Press, and it will certainly not be the last. Lord John Press has produced limited editions like this from Ray Bradbury, Norman Mailer, and many other high-profile, collectible authors. I'm shocked that these are still floating around the used market--while they're not primary publications by these writers, many are deceased and the fact that you can still get these books for under $100 is pretty remarkable. I found From the Journal of a Leper on eBay a few weeks ago for about $40. Check them out!

Currently reading:
Woes of the True Policeman by Roberto Bolano

Currently listening to:
"A Winged Victory for the Sullen" (and the winds of Hurricane Sandy)

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