Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cork: The Other Brown Paper

One of the most unusual items in Rauner's collections is a lavishly illustrated and illuminated edition of Don Quixote printed on cork. Published in San Feliú de Guixols (a municipality in Catalonia, Spain) in 1955, the edition marks the 350th anniversary of the first printing of Cervantes' classic. According to the dedication, the text is taken from the 1907 edition with illustrations from the 1780 Real Academia Española edition.

This edition is actually one of several printed on cork. The first was published in 1905 - presumably to mark the 300th anniversary of Don Quixote. Other cork editions include a 1906, 1907, 1933, and a recent 2005 version printed in Portugal.

But why cork? Cork is one of Spain's most well known exports and Catalonia is one of the leading areas of production of the material. Don Quixote is the most well known literary work of the country. Perhaps this is an expression of national pride with a twist of commercialism thrown in. Spanish culture and Spanish goods in one luxury package.

Cork box that houses the two volume set.

Ask for Bryant PQ6323 .A1 1955

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