Bambi by Felix Salten, Illustrated by Kurt Wiese, Early American Printing, 1931

Salten, Felix. Bambi: A Life in the Woods. New York: Grosset & Dunlay, 1931. Translated by Whitaker Chambers. Illustrated by Kurt Wiese. In original green hardcover boards with embossed titles and a deer illustration on the cover, embossed titles to the spine. Deckled edge and illustrated endpapers. The book has numerous half, quarter, and full page illustrations throughout. 

Presented is an early American printing of Felix Salten’s noted children's novel, Bambi: A Life in the Woods. Originally published in German in 1923, Bambi was translated into English by Whittaker Chambers and first published in New York by Simon and Schuster in July of 1928. The printing available here is a 1931 printing by Grosset & Dunlay, by arrangement with Simon and Schuster. This book, presented in its original green cloth stamped boards, has a forward by John Galsworthy and delightful illustrations by Kurt Wiese. 

Bambi follows the life of the titular young deer as he grows into adulthood. Bambi’s experiences of life in the forest and his interactions with humans comprise what is considered to be one of the earliest environmental novels. The book is a testament to the countless hours the author spent alone in the heart of the forest, pursuing one of his favorite hobbies, hunting. The sheer wonder of experiencing nature on all sensory levels comes through in his sharp, masterful descriptions of the teeming life surrounding him. 

From the outset of its publication, the book proved incredibly popular, so much so that it has since been translated into over 30 languages. In his forward, novelist John Galsworthy called the book “a little masterpiece.” The book earned rave reviews and sold six hundred and fifty thousand copies in the dozen-plus years before Bambi was adapted into the well-known and beloved 1942 Disney film. The film was also successful and was nominated for multiple Academy Awards and was added to the National Film Registry. 

Felix Salten (1869-1945) grew up in Vienna, Austria where he lived and worked until forced by the Nazis to flee to Switzerland in 1936. A noted writer, journalist, and critic during a fervently creative cultural era in Vienna, Salten founded the city's first cabaret, wrote operetta librettos, and penned books about his travels to Palestine and to the United States. He was an authoritative voice on matters of the theater, served as active and honorary President of the Vienna P.E.N. club, wrote a weekly column for Theodor Herzl’s Zionist newspaper, and was, in the words of his harshest critic Karl Kraus, “'the best journalist in Vienna.” Although Salten wrote many novels and short stories, Bambi is still his best-known work. 

Kurt Wiese  (1987-1974) was one of the most prolific and gifted children’s book illustrators of the twentieth century. With more than four hundred books to his credit, Wiese’s first books were among the titles that established the genesis of the American picture book. Wiese worked for the three preeminent children’s book editors in his time, Louise Seaman of Macmillan, May Massee of Double­day, and Ernestine Evans of Coward-McCann. His illustration style for Bambi focused on silhouette and form, printed in a warm, orange-hued woodblock style. The critic Barbara Bader wrote that Wiese had “an outstanding visual memory. He could work in a variety of mediums and styles, draw animals and people with equal sympathy, convey ideas and information effectively, and he became, almost immediately, the most versatile and productive artist in the field of children’s books.”

CONDITION:

Good condition overall. In original green hardcover boards with embossed titles and a deer illustration on the cover, embossed titles to the spine. No dust jacket. Deckled edge and illustrated endpapers. The book has numerous half, quarter, and full page illustrations throughout. Stain from water damage to the top corner of the front board, water stains continue in the corner of the first few pages. The rest of the text block is very healthy. 223 pp. Book Dimensions: 9 1/2" H x 6 1/2" W x 1 1/2" D.




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