New York: The Limited Editions Club, 1956. 1st Edition Thus. Thick octavo, publisher's pictorial cloth, coated cloth spine label gilt, sprinkled edges, original dark green paperbaord slipcase with printed paper spine label.
"She was not an existence, an experience, a passion, a structure of sensations, to anybody but herself. To all humankind besides, Tess was only a passing thought." Illustrated fine press edition of Victorian novelist Hardy's lushly poetic tragedy of nature, fate and the Industrial Revolution in the southwest of England. "He made her nobility a genuine power, of equal stature with a force of nature, as real as the wind on the heath, growing as she baptized her dying child, and set out alone on her tremendous pilgrimage among pastures and turnip fields and hay ricks to her death, like many a titled Englishwoman before her, on the gallows" (from the introduction by novelist and critic Robert Cantwell). Illustrated with numerous wood engravings, many of them printed in monochrome and full- or double-page, by English illustrator Agnes Miller Parker. Copy number 834 of 1500 signed by the artist on the colophon, this copy has been additionally inscribed to the title-page by German actress Nastassja Kinski, who played Hardy's doomed heroine in Roman Polanski's 1979 Oscar-winning film adaptation, Tess: "Love, Nastassja Kinski / Tess," with a small heart drawing. About Kinski, who was only 17 years old when the movie was made, film critic Roger Ebert wrote: "[She] is just right for the title role. She has the youth, the freshness, and the naiveté of a Tess, and none of the practiced mannerisms of an actress engaged to 'interpret' the role. That's good because Tess is a character who should stick out like a sore thumb in many scenes, and Kinski's occasional shy awkwardness is just right for the story of a girl who attempts to move up in social class on sheer bravado." Small chip to one corner of spine label; original slipcase with light wear to extremities. Near fine, and possibly unique personally inscribed by Kinski. Item #2634