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Rabelais - Fine Books on Food & Drink

Asbury

Asbury, HerbertThe Great Illusion. An Informal History of Prohibition

Garden City: Doubleday & Company Inc.; Country Life Press, 1950. Octavo (20 x 15 cm.), 344 pages. Index. FIRST EDITION. The final work from the historian, journalist, editor, and the author of classic studies of American mores including Gangs of New York, The French Quarter, and Barbary Coast. Asbury's first published work, the story of a small town prostitute, was also partially responsible for the rise of H.L. Mencken's American Mercury. This present work is a remarkably detailed portrait of America and the long march (that began before the nation was formed) toward Prohibition. Asbury was more than an observer and recorder of the period between the Volstead Act and Repeal, he also edited and supplied the introduction for the famous 1928 edition of Jerry Thomas' The Bon Vivant's Companion: Or, How to Mix Drinks (he also signed the limited edition copies). Some age-toning to text block; otherwise fine in publisher's silver-titled black cloth. In slightly edge worn dust jacket, with some light soiling. Generally very good. Inscribed by the author, "For Sara and Ezra Stone, with a bow the babies and the bird [?], Herbert Asbury, New York, Oct. 10, 1950". Stone was a radio actor, most famous as the voice of Henry Aldrich ("Hen-reeee, Henry Aldrich"), and later a writer director who worked with greats including Milton Berle, Fred Allen, and Danny Thomas, and on popular TV shows including The Munsters, Lost in Space, and The Flying Nun. [Not in Noling, Beverage Literature (though Asbury's edition of Jerry Thomas' work is included)].
Webster

Webster, NoahRevised Edition. The Elementary Spelling Book, Being an Improvement on "The American Spelling Book"… The cheapest, the best, and the most extensively used spelling-book ever published

New York: Published by D. Appleton & Co., 443 & 445 Broadway, 1859. (17.5 x 10.5 cm.), [2], 168, [2] pages. Illustrated. Publisher's advertisements front and rear, including endpapers. Date of publication from address of publisher (Appleton moved to this address from 346 & 348 Broadway in 1859, and publisher's advertisement at rear is dated 1859; note the text on the printed boards still states "346 & 348 Broadway"). ~ Revised edition. A later edition of Webster's greatly influential spelling book. "In 1783, Noah Webster published A Grammatical Institute of the English Language. It was a concise dictionary for adults and a precursor to the 1828/1829 compendium, An American Dictionary of the English Language. Webster modeled his spellers and dictionaries after English imports, but included American words, definitions, and pronunciations. He believed that Americanizing spelling, grammar, and pronunciation would unify the new nation. Webster revised the first speller in 1787 under the title of The American Spelling Book and included tables of pronunciations, common abbreviations, and reading lessons for schools at the back of the book. Webster's son, William, adapted this sequel for school children in 1844, shortly after his father's death. This edition was used by the majority of literate Americans well into the mid-20th century." (Smithsonian Insitution online catalogue). A few pages with small dog ears; some light soiling. In publisher's black-printed blue, paper-covered boards (thus the popular name, "blue-backs"), backed in faded red cloth. Small chip to cloth in front hinge, some bumping to corners, otherwise very good. [Skeel, page 129].
Bernstein

Bernstein, Dennis & Warren LehrerFrench Fries. A New Play, written by..

Purchase; Rochester: Ear/Say, Visual Studies Workshop, 1984. Quarto (27.5 x 21 cm.), 104 pages. Three colors on acid-free Mohawk Superfine. Hardcover [ketchup-resistant faux-leather cloth, die-cut over boards]. Color separation by Phil Zimmermann. Subtitle from second title page following copyright page. ~ FIRST EDITION, review copy. One of 700 copies, though not - as called for - numbered or signed, likely as this is a review copy. Laid-in are the printed Order-Coupon indicating, "review", and a tri-fold prospectus, printed in color offset like the book text. An artist's book often considered to be a masterpiece of offset lithography. Described by Johanna Drucker in The Century of Artists' Books as, "a carnivalesque-pop-art amusement- motel-and-theme-park of visual and typographic devices." The authors state "French Fries is a quick service circus of culinary discourse, argument, dream, loss and twisted aspiration" (introduction). The project statement describes the work, "This book/play presents a day in the life of the original DREAM QUEEN restaurant (a restaurant that grew to become the third largest burger chain in the western hemisphere). Before the book/play begins, 83-year-old Gertie Greenbaum is found dead in a pool of blood and ketchup. Four customers and three employees (each set in his or her own typographic voice and color) give testimony to how Gerite died, and continue their day discussing food, money, religion, politics, love, loss, dreams, memories, and fading aspirations. The text is illuminated with icons and images that evoke the fast food tableau, and the internal projections of the characters." And others have commented, "Lehrer pioneered what might be best termed 'typographic performance' in his 1984 book/play French Fries, a hot type cacophony of word and image that is today considered by historians one of the lynchpins of the deconstructionist era..." (Steve Heller, Eye Magazine); "Without a discernable grid, the typography [in French Fries] flows freely across the pages, interspersed with images and marks evoking the ambiance and mood of the situation. Except for the work of the famous French designer Robert Massin, I had never seen an approach to typography quite like this before... I could experience the relationship between the text and its visualization, and I saw how effective it could be. Somewhere between seeing the books of Edward Rusha and Warren Lehrer's French Fries, I discovered that my options as a graphic designer had expanded by tenfold" (Rudy Vandlans, Emigre Magazine, The Last Issue). Clean and bright; small bump and light soiling to head of spine. Still, near fine. With the color prospectus and order coupon laid-in. Scarce. [ ].