Folio 75: The Neverending Story - Then and Now

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Folio 75: The Neverending Story - Then and Now

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 12, 2022, 10:00 am

First, a confession.

I was one of the FSD-ers that voted for The Neverending Story when the Folio Society polled its readers soliciting choices for their 75th anniversary edition, and I was delighted when it was selected. I was presidposed favorably toward the FS edition and my bias has only been reinforced upon arrival of my copy. That said, I thought it would be interesting and informative to see how the FS edition compares to and has evolved from the original 1st edition of the English translation copy published in 1983. First, a bit of background:

NOTE: Much of this information is taken from the Wikipedia article on the Neverending Story (link below):

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende was originally published in Germany in 1979 by W. German publisher Thienemann Verlag and it was an immediate sensation. It was Number One on the highly respected Der Spiegel bestseller list for 113 weeks and remained on their list for 332 weeks (!). The original text was printed in two colors, a pink color representing the story line which takes place in the real world and a forest green color representing the story line in Fantastica. The illustrations by Roswitha Quadflieg were outstanding, greatly enhancing this edition. Her full page illustrations are placed on the verso page opposite the opening page (recto page) of each chapter and they are drawn using the identical pink and forest green colors to illustrate how the two worlds intertwine. Roswitha Quadflieg is a gifted German artist who founded her own private press (the Raamin-Presse) in 1973 to serve as a platform for her artwork and illustrations. The Raamin-Presse closed in 2003 and it is considered one of the finest German private presses in the late 20th century, collected by German bibliophiles. Ralph Manheim's English translation appeared simultaneously in Great Britain and the United States in 1983.

While the FS edition pays homage to the original English language edition, it is clearly a modern 21st century update. The main similarity is the printing of the text in two colors. However, there are many important differences which I will list below and supplement with photographs of both books. The major differences between the two editions are:

1. Size of the books. The 1st edition is a small ocatvo (8vo) book 21.7 x 14.5 cm (8.5 x 6 inches) whereas the FS edition is quarto (4to) measuring 25.3 x 19 cm (9 7/8 x 7.5 inches).

2. Quality and design of bindings. The 1st edition is a very modest affair, an ordinary dark red cloth with silver lettering on the spine. The FS edition is a shimmering tan-orange cloth with tiny aqua blue polka dot accents and an illustration of two snakes - black and silver - intertwined in a full circle on the front cover. The titling on both front cover and spine is done in a Gothic-style lettering. Additonally, all three edges of the FS text block are illustrated, with a fierce serpent spanning the bottom and front edges of the text block.

3. The front and rear pastedowns and free end plates are a simple marbled pattern in the 1st edition. The FS edition is imaginative, a two-page spread illustration using metallic printed paper of young Bastian standing inside the front door of the bookshop (front) and the same illustration in the rear with Bastian having disappeared.

4. The FS edition maintains the two-color text although it uses the same tan-orange color as the binding cloth for one color while maintaining the original forest green for the second color.

5. The 1st edition title page is simple and direct. The FS title page is a two-page spread illustration with a wizard reading a book on the verso page and the titling on the recto page.

6. The FS edition features hand drawn decorative initial letters in the tan-orange and forest green text colors opening each new chapter, simulating the wood engraved initial letters found in Kelmscott Press, Golden Cockerel Press, etc., editions.

6. The illustrations are radically different. Roswitha Quadflieg's illustrations are elaborate and highly detailed, very much in keeping with the traditional fairy tale genre. The style is reminiscent of the illustrations found in during the Golden Age of Illustration (roughly 1900 to 1930) from artists such as Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Willy Pogany and Kay Nielsen. The FS illustrations by Marie-Alice Harel are typical of the current style found in modern 21st century sci-fi/dystopian/apocalyptic literature. Harel's eight full page color illustrations are bolder, brighter and more 'in your face'.

7. Unlike the original 1st English edition, the FS edition introduces an additional 33 illustrations of varying size in forest green around the edges of the text. This is quite effective and greatly enhances the FS edition compared to the 1st English edition.

Photos to follow. The first three photos show the two editions side by side. The next six photos are from the 1983 1st edition of the English language translation and the final nine photos are taken from the 75th anniversary FS edition.

My opinion: I am not a fan of Marie-Alice Harel's eight full-page color illustrations and they feel out of place in this fantasy whereas Roswitha Quadflieg's illustrations for the original German edition are on the mark. Quadflieg's gentler, subdued illustrations are more appropriate for my tastes. I would have greatly preferred to see the FS anniversary edition with illustrations that harken back to the Golden Age of Illustration, similar to what Niroot Puttapipat did in his outstanding illustrations for the FS Limited Edition of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. However, Harel's set of 33 integrated illustrations which surround the text block are exceptional and I wish she had employed this style of illustration in her eight full-page color illustrations.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the FS 75th anniversary edition of The Neverending Story. This edition got nearly everything right and it is clearly in the deluxe FS category. Unless you are averse to the entire fantasy and fable genre, this edition is highly recommended for FS collectors.

lokakuu 12, 2022, 10:26 am

Thank you for comparing these two editions, and for the photos. This is really interesting.

lokakuu 12, 2022, 10:30 am

>1 dlphcoracl: Thank you very much. I'm in your exact same position: big fan of the book, suggesting it for years to Folio and voting (and requesting friends to vote) in the poll. I also own the First Edition, which keeps in good shape except from some fading in the spine.

Couple notes:

- Binding and paper of the first edition: first edition is notch bound, but (at least in my case) it holds significatively well for a forty year book. Paper is also good, looking slightly tanned but it also holds very well.

- The Folio is great. I was surprised by the size and weight of the paper. It was such a craved edition because lately trade editions of The Neverending Story had been getting worse and worse, with some of them not even printing in two colours.

Having said that, I totally agree with you about the colour illustrations. Except from one or two, they are excessively abstract. Which is curious because Howl's Moving Castle illustrations aren't like that.

The eight illustrations of the Folio edition are the following:

- Atreyu receives the Auryn.
- Ygramul the many.
- Atreyu and Falkor against the Wind Giants.
- The Childlike Empress
- Graograman the many coloured death
- Amarganth the Silver City
- Xayide's soldiers
- Dame Eyola.

If I had to choose eight illustrations I'd have gone with the following:

- Atreyu receives the Auryn
- Atreyu and Morla the Aged One
- Atreyu crosses the sphinx first gate or Atreyu sees Bastian in the mirror of the second gate.
- Atreyu sees the Childlike Empress
- A more elaborate Amarganth illustration
- Bastian questioned by the sages of the Star Cloister.
- The Battle for the Ivory Tower.
- Bastian in the Image Mine

I'll try to get my hands on the other special edition, the one they did in Germany (which looks like a Jim Kay Harry Potter). Fortunately there's a translation to portuguese and that's a language I can speak.

thanks for your post!

lokakuu 12, 2022, 11:36 am

>3 dyhtstriyk:

What is your opinion of the eight full-page color illustrations by Marie-Alice Harel? Do you have a preference for her illustrations or Roswitha Quadflieg's original illustrations for the German/english editions ?

lokakuu 12, 2022, 11:46 am

I haven't read the book, so I'm not sure how well the new style of illustration integrates with the narrative, but the style for the full color illustrations broadly reminds me of Symbolist painters, such as Odilon Redon and Nicholas Roerich. In terms of the weight, the color choice, and, obviously, the use of heavy symbolism, though the illustrations here are a bit more directly representational than some of the more abstract end of Symbolist paintings.

Not exactly being a fan (yet), I am not sure how much my preference should count here, but to me a symbolist take on The Neverending Story seems a bit more intriguing than yet another golden age of illustration homage (much as I appreciate some of those, especially the work of Vess).

To be honest, I have gone from "I have little interest in this title and couldn't imagine buying a Folio Society edition" to about 75% confidence at the moment that I will add it to my next order. It truly does look like a beautifully designed edition, as thoughtfully put together as some of the Folio Society greats such as the Heaney Beowulf.

lokakuu 12, 2022, 12:14 pm

>4 dlphcoracl: I'd have preferred a reimagined version of Quadflieg's illustrations. As I had mentioned, Harel's illustrations are nice but except from one or two (the ones that feature Atreyu), the rest seem too abstract.

lokakuu 12, 2022, 7:36 pm

>1 dlphcoracl: I would definitely be requesting a replacement from Folio for that crushed bottom spine. This book is priced for perfection and I wouldn’t accept anything less!

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 13, 2022, 9:13 am

>7 UK_History_Fan:

Thank you. I will!

Addendum: I sent an e-mail to Folio Society Customer Service with appropriate photos attached requesting a replacement copy and they responded and shipped a replacement copy within 24 hours. Although many things have changed at the Folio Society over the years, their customer service has not. It remains responsive and exemplary.

joulukuu 20, 2022, 7:16 pm

>4 dlphcoracl: her illustration of Grograman is downright powerful. It's one of my favourite sections in one of my favourite books and the lion in the illustration seems to just make eye contact with the reader.

joulukuu 28, 2022, 5:29 pm

>8 dlphcoracl: I ordered the second last copy of Period Piece before Christmas. It shipped along with Christmas Carol and LE Frankenstein. Then a day later I'm given a refund without apology nor an explanation. The package arrived without Period Piece which of course disappeared in the meantime from their site having "sold" the last copy a day after mine. That's not good customer service.

As for the "crushed" spine. Give me a break. A book will slowly deteriorate in time. The minor dings it receives on its way to me is fate and I own them. The whining and wringing-of-hands over small stuff is distasteful.

joulukuu 29, 2022, 1:22 am

>10 ProbisPateo:
It’s an online asynchronous forum - you’re allowed as many breaks as you like!

joulukuu 29, 2022, 3:30 am

>10 ProbisPateo: A book will slowly deteriorate in time. The minor dings it receives on its way to me is fate and I own them.

That's certainly my position. Most of the books I buy are decades old and have gathered multiple imperfections along the way, and some, if of hard to come by texts, are downright Poor. I've bought I suppose a couple of hundred books from the FS and haven't sought a replacement yet, though I've had my share of bumped corners and rubbed gilding, and on one volume from my first ever shipment the title on the spine wraps around one side and doesn't reach the other. I'm passably meticulous in taking care of things while they're here, so, except for the few that are most resolved upon fading, there's little or no visible deterioration in books once I have them - but hey, that's this household. Anyone who's consciously attempting to acquire and maintain a library in pristine condition - who both notices and cares about every crushed spine and suchlike - is surely entitled to insist that the new books he buys start out unblemished.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 1, 2:01 am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

joulukuu 31, 2022, 2:53 pm

When I get a new book, I'd like it to be undamaged. If I damage it afterwards, my bad, and that's not something that usually happens with hardcover editions. (With paperbacks, a certain degree of wear just from reading is unavoidable.) My tolerance level for blemishes decreases with the price tag, a paperback is a different matter from an expensive collector's edition. So I understand completely that a crushed spine on a relatively expensive 'new' book is something some buyers wouldn't be happy with. If that's different for others, no problem, to each their own. But mocking someone who'd like their new book to actually be new / mint seems less than appropriate to me.

joulukuu 31, 2022, 3:14 pm

>14 SF-72: Seems inappropriate to me as well. They bought perfect items, not dinged ones.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 31, 2022, 6:47 pm

>13 Cat_of_Ulthar: I assume that with your philosophy if you bought a new car & it was delivered with scratches on the paintwork & a cracked windscreen you would just smile & put it down to the surface noise of life ?

*i would also advise not wrapping your books in a muslim (sic) - he/she probably wouldn’t like it !

joulukuu 31, 2022, 7:09 pm

>14 SF-72: totally agree!

tammikuu 1, 2:05 am

>14 SF-72:,>15 What_What:,>16 antinous_in_london:,>17 RRCBS:
My post was intended as a bit of whimsy rather than to mock anybody but I clearly misjudged it. My apologies to all.

Less controversially, may I wish everyone a very happy new year :-)

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 1, 7:53 am

>18 Cat_of_Ulthar: To be fair, those sentiments are shared by many people; I’m not sure what the split is, but there’s definitely a large proportion that don’t mind small dings.

Either way, happy new year to you, and everyone!

tammikuu 1, 3:01 pm

>18 Cat_of_Ulthar:
>19 What_What:

I agree with What_What, it's definitely not you alone. But I really appreciate your gracious reaction.

A happy new year to you, too.

toukokuu 23, 2:29 pm

Tämä käyttäjä on poistettu roskaamisen vuoksi.

toukokuu 30, 1:52 pm

Thanks for the detailed comparison at the head of this thread!

I also voted for The Neverending Story and in many ways it's an outstanding production.

I reviewed it here:

Of the color illustrations, the one of Grograman is my favorite. It would have been nice to have more two-page spreads, for more of a sense of the spread of the landscape. (So often I want to make different choices of scenes to illustrate in Folio books! Sometimes I cannot understand the illustrator's selections.)

I also wish there had been actually illustrated capitals, as in the first edition. I'm not that enamored of Roswitha Spence's, though. They actually look a bit amateurish to me. (I also own that edition.)

Enjoy this lovely book, all who have it.

kesäkuu 12, 1:09 pm

Hi All:

Can anyone, who has the SE version of The Never-ending Story, tell me if the art silk on the back binding of the book has white blotches?

kesäkuu 13, 9:34 am

>23 Atheistic: It's very prone to scuffs. Mine has a few. Seems you can't get a copy without some.

kesäkuu 13, 11:13 am

Ok thanks for confirming. I appreciate it!

kesäkuu 13, 11:51 am

I feel the need to say that my copy is blemish-free.

kesäkuu 13, 11:55 am

I bought it and it had the blemishes on the back cover but worse than that 4 pages were wrinkled (for lack of a better word) so I sent Folio Society pictures and they replaced it. However the second copy also has the blotches. Not going to make an issue of it but was curious as to how widespread it is.