Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes Signed Limited Edition

Originally published as a Hugo Award-winning short story and later expanded into a Nebula Award-winning novel, Daniel Keyes’s Flowers for Algernon explores themes of identity, intelligence, friendship, and the ethics of scientific experimentation. 

The narrative centers on Charlie Gordon, a man with an intellectual disability, who undergoes an experimental procedure that has already proved successful in Algernon, a lab mouse, dramatically improving the animal’s cognitive abilities.

The novel is told through Charlie’s journal entries, offering a vivid account of his change from a man with limited mental capacity to a genius. This transformation brings not only knowledge but also significant emotional and psychological challenges as Charlie confronts his altered identity. The novel probes the value and potential hazards of intelligence, especially when it surpasses one’s understanding or control.

Beyond a tale of personal change, the novel is a profound commentary on the ethics of experimentation on animals and humans, particularly focusing on issues of consent and comprehension among vulnerable subjects. It is praised for its sensitive portrayal of mental disability, serving as an educational tool that fosters empathy and acceptance. Flowers for Algernon continues to resonate, with its themes and questions about the human condition being as relevant today as the day it was first published.

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Edition Information ❦ Standard ❦ Deluxe ❦ Lettered ❦ Artwork ❦ Printing

Edition Information

Standard, Deluxe and Lettered Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Standard, Deluxe and Lettered states of Flowers for Algernon. Inset into the Lettered is pottery restored by artist Iku Nishikawa using the centuries-old Japanese art of kintsugi.

Our edition of Daniel Keyes’s Flowers for Algernon is limited to 451 copies and is published in three states: 250 Standard, 175 Deluxe, and 26 Lettered.

All copies are signed by impressionist painter Jacob Dhein, who contributed 8 oil paintings and 5 line drawings which are printed letterpress.

The books are letterpress-printed by Hand and Eye Letterpress and the Deluxe and Lettered states are hand bound by Ludlow Bookbinders. The text is set in Monotype Centaur and FF Quixo with a page count of 236 pages + front and back matter + 8 tipped in pages of artwork.

All copies include head and tail bands, a ribbon marker, and have a trim size of 170mm by 240mm (6.7in by 9.5in).

Shipping is expected by the end of Q1 2024 for all states. 

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Standard - US$275

The Standard state of Flowers for Algernon, limited to 250 unnumbered copies, is quarter-bound in olive Fancy Linen cloth with letterpress-printed Rossi 1931 floral paper, whose faded petals are evocative of the transient nature of intelligence and beauty, central to the novel’s exploration of the human condition.

The title and author’s name are letterpress-printed on a paper label affixed to the spine.

It is letterpress-printed on Swedish Munken Pure Rough 120gsm (80lb) paper with GF Smith Colourplan endpapers.

Each copy is enclosed by a custom slipcase (picture coming soon) handmade by Ludlow Bookbinders, wrapped in Fancy Linen fabric and lined with suedel.

The Standard state is currently being printed and is expected to ship by the end of Q1 2024.

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Deluxe - US$625

The Deluxe state is limited to only 175 numbered copies hand bound by Ludlow Bookbinders in full goatskin leather. It features extensive foil stamping, done with exacting precision in three passes, forming an intricate floral motif in green, gold and blue.

This pattern, meant to evoke the complexity and interconnectedness of life and intelligence, stands in stark contrast to the bright white, clinical background of the leather. Scattered among these blooms are petals captured in descent, a poignant reminder of life’s changing seasons and Charlie’s journey.

It is letterpress-printed on thick, luxurious Madrid Litho 160gsm (108lb) paper with light blue Hahnemuhle Bugra endpapers and gilding along the top edge.

The book is housed in a custom slipcase handmade by Ludlow Bookbinders. It is wrapped in a two-tone, blue Dubletta fabric with top and bottom caps in a durable cloth with leather embossing, and the inside is lined in white suedel.

The Deluxe state is currently being printed and is expected to ship by the end of Q1 2024.

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Lettered - US$2,695

Limited to 26 copies, the Lettered state of Flowers for Algernon is a testament to craftsmanship, combining exquisite leatherwork with the centuries-old Japanese art of kintsugi in a binding that explores the ephemeral essence of beauty and the inherent vulnerability of life.

Kintsugi pottery in Flowers for Algernon by Conversation Tree Press
Pottery repaired using the centuries-old Japanese art of kintsugi by artist Iku Nishikawa.

It is handbound by Ludlow Bookbinders in full Pentland Goat leather from J. Hewit & Sons with a piece of pottery, restored by kintsugi artist Iku Nishikawa in the “golden joinery” Japanese art, inset on the front board.

This traditional Japanese art of repairing pottery highlights breaks and fractures, treating them as a significant part of the object’s history, rather than imperfections to be hidden. Just as the novel explores the beauty and tragedy inherent in the human experience, kintsugi emphasizes the beauty in imperfections and life’s fragility. It is a poignant reminder that even amidst fractures and flaws, there exists a unique beauty, much like the narrative arc of Charlie’s transient intellectual blossoming and subsequent decline.

The leather has been worked into an elevated, circular border that wraps around the kintsugi-repaired pottery, with concentric, blind-stamped circles radiating from the centre.

Pentland leather cover of Flowers for Algernon with kintsugi-repaired pottery.

The book is printed on smooth, luxurious Liber Charta 170gsm (120lb) paper, a new mouldmade paper developed by John Purcell Paper. It exemplifies the best qualities of the now-discontinued Zerkall paper and has quickly become the top choice for printers and wood engravers alike.

The head and tail bands are meticulously sewn in by hand and the top edge is gilded. Hand-marbled paper is used for the endsheets, featuring a custom design from Freya Scott at Paperwilds, inspired by a confocal map of a mouse’s brain captured using a Zeiss Microscope.

Custom marbled paper from Freya Scott at Paperwilds

The book is housed in an enclosure wrapped in chocolate Alcantara, a suede-like, durable Italian fabric used in luxury cars and products. The front of the enclosure features a circular cutout displaying the raised leather border and pottery.

Inside, the book rests within a drawer covered in maroon suedel with the base lined in handmade Richard de Bas paper made with real flowers. The Richard de Bas paper mill in France is renowned for its traditional craftsmanship in papermaking, producing high-quality handmade papers using age-old techniques since its establishment in the 15th century.

Richard de Bas paper in a Conversation Tree Press book

Each copy will include a sketch by artist Jacob Dhein, who also signs along with Phil Abel and Robert Hetherington, the printers; and the binder from Ludlow Bookbinders who bound this specific copy.

The Lettered state is currently being printed and is expected to ship by the end of Q1 2024.

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Impressionist painter Jacob Dhein has lent his vibrant and expressive touch to our letterpress-printed, limited edition of Flowers for Algernon. This marks the first fine press edition of the novel as well as Jacob’s debut book illustration project, and it promises to be as impactful as his canvases. 

His artwork, known for its expressive brushstrokes and the ethereal interplay of light and shadow, perfectly captures the emotional resonance of Keyes’s narrative. Every painting and line drawing brings Charlie Gordon’s and Algernon’s world to life with the same vibrant energy and delicate humanity that Jacob’s paintings are celebrated for.

This edition is not just a tribute to a book that is as relevant today as the day it was first published, but also a testament to the beauty that can be achieved when the worlds of literary and visual arts collide.

Jacob has created a series of eight oil paintings and five line drawings, each to be carefully reproduced through letterpress printing alongside the text of the novel.

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We are proud to be collaborating with Phil Abel and the team at Hand and Eye Letterpress. Hand and Eye has a distinguished history of not only letterpress-printing their own editions, but collaborating with Folio Society, No Reply Press, Lyra’s Books, and, of course, with Marcelo Anciano on their very own Areté Editions.

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