Title: Life is a Dream, translated from the Spanish...
Publisher: By the Author at 'Steep', Beech Avenue, Sanderstead.
Publication Date: 1928
Book Condition: Very Good
10 x 14.5 cm. [6 blank leaves], , 125, , [4 blank leaves]. Colophon leaf states "Fifty copies printed by Harry Graham Carter at 41 Doughty Street, London, W.C.1". Bound in full brown morocco, spine in four compartments with raised bands , double ruled in gilt with leaf and flower gilt tooling and lettering with date at foot of spine. Upper cover imperfectly gilt ruled into 12 adjacent squares with identical leaf and flower tooling in gilt in six of the boxes. Head and tail of spine missing about 2-3 mm exposing the bands. Lower hinge slightly worn, and corners slightly bumped and worn. Undecorated endpapers. Possibly a binding by Carter himself. The Doughty Street address appears to be Carter's professional legal chambers. Life Is a Dream (Spanish: La vida es Sueño) is a Spanish-language play by Pedro Calderón de la Barca. First published in 1636, the play can be dated around 1630, making Calderón's most famous work a rather early composition. It is a philosophical allegory regarding the human situation and the mystery of life. The play has been described as "the supreme example of Spanish Golden Age drama". The story focuses on the fictional Segismundo, Prince of Poland, who has been imprisoned in a tower by his father, King Basilio, following a dire prophecy that the prince would bring disaster to the country and death to the King. Basilio briefly frees Segismundo, but when the prince goes on a rampage, the king imprisons him again, persuading him that it was all a dream. The play's central themes are the conflict between free will and fate, as well as restoring one's honour. Other themes include dreams versus reality and the conflict between father and son. The play has been adapted for other stage works, in film and as a novel. Harry Carter (1901 82) was an English typographer and writer. After an education at Bedales School and Oxford University, then training to become a barrister at Lincoln s Inn, he turned to typography, first (1928-9) as an apprentice at the Monotype Corporation, then working first for a printer (Kynoch Press in Birmingham) and then a book-publisher (Nonesuch Press, London). During the Second Word War he served in the British army, and also during this time continued to design and cut type, and to do typographic history. After the war he worked for HMSO (the official state publisher in Britain) as a typographer. In 1954 he became Archivist to the Oxford University Press, working there until his retirement in 1980. In this capacity he became a leading figure in the work of discovery and cataloguing at the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp. Notable among his publications, under his own name and in collaboration, were Fournier on typefounding (1930), an edition of Moxon's Mechanick exercises (with Herbert Davis, 1958), Type specimen facsimiles (with others, under the editorship of John Dreyfus, 1963 & 1972), Civilité types (with H.D.L. Vervliet, 1966), Stanley Morison's John Fell (1967), A view of early typography (1969), the first volume of a History of Oxford University Press (1975), Charles Enschedé's Typefoundries in the Netherlands (1978), The Wolvercote Mill: a study of paper-making at Oxford (1957), A View of Early Typography: Up to about 1600 (1969). COPAC locates a solitary surviving example of this edition of just fifty copies, in the British Lirary. Probably the earliest work Carter published, while he was still a barrister and just on the point of giving up the legal profession permanently to become an apprentice at the Monotype Corporation- "one of the least-known best-known men in the world of books" (Harry Carter, Typographer by Martyn C. Thomas, John A. Lane, et al. 2005). It is a charming hand-made book and from the very birth of Carter's typographical career. Bookseller Inventory # 4231