Although it has been surmised that Carroll invented Alice to deride nouvelle mathematics he would no doubt have enjoyed the visual experience afforded by the geometrical rigor of Amaranthine’s Jabberwock edition.
Alice is Amazing! The pictures on the website look great, but, to have the copy in hand...it’s incredible! Thank you so much for the extras due to it being a preorder, very cool!
Here is our review. I did the first part on the edition itself, largely cribbed from your website. Andrew does all our illustration reviews, which is included. Please let me know if there are any mistakes. - Mark
Illustrated by Damir Mazinjanin
Amaranthine Books, 2021
Mark Burstein with Andrew Ogus
Marko Matijašević’s fine-press Amaranthine Books in Zagreb, Croatia, is “dedicated to creating beautifully designed special editions of great books.” (The adjective amaranthine pertains not just to the flower or its color, but also means “unfading; everlasting; eternally beautiful,” a fine goal.) Wonderland/Looking Glass comes in two editions: the Jabberwock (260 numbered and signed copies, $600, sold out) and the Bandersnatch (26 lettered and signed copies, $4,900). The books are in a tête-bêche format (one upside down relative to the other) and carry a “Foreafterword.”
The Jabberwock comes in a fully enclosed slipcase, with the optical-illusion cover illustrations woven with the Jacquard technique. The book is printed on Pergraphica Natural Rough paper and bound in blood-orange, richly textured cloth, with twenty color illustrations, two of them full-spread, and a small illustration for each chapter opening. One also receives a see-through Cheshire Cat bookmark, a standard-size deck of cards, and a notebook.
The Bandersnatch (weighing in at 30 kg = 66 pounds!) contains the same book, albeit draped in a luxurious, off-white fabric. It comes in a custom-designed “Alice Chess” set inside a wooden box, along with two chessboards, an oversized deck of cards with their own slipcase (the cards are too big for adult hands, just as regular cards would be too big for a child’s hands), and a pair of cotton gloves. The engraved boards are made of Slavonian oak; the chess pieces of copper and stainless steel, polished to high shine (hence the gloves).
The reason for two chessboards is that the design was inspired by “Alice Chess,” a chess variant invented in 1953 by V. R. Parton that employs two chessboards rather than one, and an alteration to the standard rules that allows pieces to transfer from one board to the other, like going through the looking-glass. Which is not to say you can’t play regular chess (or the chess problem as set out in the frontmatter of Looking-Glass) or even checkers on it.
And now, Andrew’s comments: Here is a singular and remarkable approach to illustrating the Alice books—or any book. Somewhat reminiscent of Barry Moser’s strategy, rather than picturing the various familiar events from outside the action as most books do, making readers passive, omniscient viewers, Damir Mazinjanin draws us in with what Alice herself sees while she is in Wonderland and through the looking-glass: we gaze through her eyes as if they were our own. We glimpse her body as she floats down the rabbit hole, the White Rabbit far below just as we would catch sight of ourselves while peering down from a great height — or even while simply checking our shoes. The pigeon’s enormous head is seen from above while Alice’s neck spirals down to a tiny body; a smiling Red Queen reaches forward to tousle Alice’s hair. Alice’s arms and hands break and reach into the pictures, recurring as simple shapes as she offers a comfit to a group of dubious creatures, seizes Bill’s pencil in the jury scene or the King’s on the table in Looking-glass house (the White King and Queen are mysteriously colored here); cross to shake those of the Tweedle brothers; or hold a knife and fork before the smirking mutton. The perspectives are simple, sophisticated, and convincing—and Alice’s. Only two colors, black and orange-red, are judiciously used to make the striking images. The text is elegantly and simply arranged. If only there were an affordable trade edition.
Not just a visual experience but a tactile one as well— a superb piece of design with a lot of attention to detail.
I so appreciate how the team at Amarathine design a book to create an experience for the reader--from the perspectives of the illustrations to the materials to the small design notes--the details echo the content and rhythm of the stories. Will purchase anything they create. Fantastic.
Thank you. The book is a real treasure. The design, binding and illustrations are first class. Well done !!
Work of art just beautiful
This book is beautiful beyond words.
Blown away buy the quality of the book 10/10 for atention for detail . Only complaint is that you have to remove the plastic seal to know what number your book is. Other than that 100% recomend and cant wait to see what they do next. Maybe stephen king?
Well I’ve just opened up my delivery box and I have to say I really should not be surprised. This is not just a book but a work of art. The attention to detail, the bonus items, the craftsmanship is at a level where the passion flows through the pages. The more I looked the more I discovered. I won’t spoil it but if you have a chance to buy just one book this year buy this book twice. When I heard about rights going forward I couldn’t purchase quick enough. I’m excited to be along for the Amaranthine ride!!
Brilliant concept. Flawless craftsmanship. Stunning artistry.
I’ve been following this project from the first hints that Amaranthine announced, to the official video announcement, to finally the finished product. I was impressed with what I saw in the video, but boy when the final product arrived I was blown away! The production is absolutely top notch and the creative concept ties extremely well into the story of Alice. Amaranthine has set the bar very high with this one and that is saying something after the fantastic productions of Dracula and the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Kudos to Amaranthine for bringing this limited to life and bringing this creative concept to fruition. This book is a work of art that is absolutely filled to the brim with details and Easter eggs. It has easily become a shining piece in my collection. I couldn’t be happier to own this edition!
It's the most beautiful book I own
Nicely designed and beautifuly made. I love the details they put in this copy.
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