A lot of fine press books are a bit too precious. A beloved poem or short story by a favorite author hand set and lovingly printed on hand-made paper in a simple, yet elegant binding. They are nice--wonderful to hold and to look at, you can run your finger over the text and feel the bite of the type--but you wonder if anyone read them and how the author might have felt about having his or her text treated with so fine a touch. But sometimes you hit one that is a perfect match.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti's The House of Life (Boston: Copeland and Day, 1894) is far from our best exemplar of fine printing. Printed by John Wilson at the Harvard University Press for Copeland and Day, it restores the 1870 edition of the Rossetti's sonnets and does away with some unfortunate editorial changes in the 1881 edition. The poems were precious to Rossetti--when his wife died, he buried a manuscript copy with her.