East of the Sun, West of the Moon: A Taschen vs Folio Society Comparison

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East of the Sun, West of the Moon: A Taschen vs Folio Society Comparison

East of the Sun, West of the Moon: A Taschen vs Folio Society Comparison


For this post I’ll be focusing on a comparison between two of the loveliest editions of East of the Sun, West of the Moon with Kay Nielsen’s incomparable illustrations. I think these are some of the most exquisite illustrations in children’s literature of all time.

First published in 1914, East of the Sun and West of the Moon is a celebrated collection of fifteen fairy tales, gathered by legendary Norwegian folklorists Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe on their journeys across Norway in the mid-nineteenth century.

The Folio Society edition is a faithful facsimile of that original 1914 Hodder & Stoughton volume, whilst the Taschen edition has been beautifully re-designed and includes double-page spreads, and fascinating essays that are illustrated with many additional artworks by Nielsen.

Video Review

Taschen vs Folio

East of the Sun, West of the Moon: A Taschen vs Folio Society Comparison
Taschen Edition

One of the first things you’ll notice about these two volumes is the size difference – Taschen’s volume is much taller and thinner than the Folio edition. The Taschen slipcase is a half case – with a very pretty design, but very flimsy materials, and is unlikely to stand up to any rough handling. The Folio slipcase on the other hand is typically robust, but made of simple plain red boards.

Similar to the original book, Folio has an elegant cover, featuring gilt cover and spine designs on cream vegetable parchment boards with silk headbands. The Taschen is much more bright and colourful and is brightly illustrated on both front and back boards. Both feature the same stunning endpapers on the front and the back.

East of the Sun, West of the Moon: A Taschen vs Folio Society Comparison
Folio Edition

Folio follows the original design with a frontispiece and front matter only modified to include the Folio Society name. Taschen opens with close details of Nielsen’s artwork and several sensitively designed new introductory pages, and the title page includes reference to the additional essays and appendix in this volume.

The Folio book includes a short illustrated preface. The paper is thick and luxurious and the print is large and clear. Taschen starts with the preface, followed by an essay on the origins of Norway’s folktales, history and background information, beautiful images, design work, Nielsen’s life, fantastic detail and glorious double page spreads – so many stunning illustrations and lots of fascinating history.

To compare the illustrations – the Taschen are very much larger. The layout and design is really beautiful in the Taschen, although the text is smaller and the pages are much thinner. The folio society reproduction of the images is to a beautiful and high standard, but so is the quality of the Taschen – the main difference is that Folio use a pebbled paper and Taschen use a glossy style.

East of the Sun, West of the Moon: A Taschen vs Folio Society Comparison
Calla Edition

The FS book is out of print, but copies aren’t terribly difficult to find on the second hand market. The Taschen edition is still available new, and I think it is so gorgeous it’s well worth the price – click on the photos below to find a link for whichever one takes your fancy. 

Also – although I didn’t show it in the video, the Calla Editions book is very similar in look and layout to the FS edition – I would say that the image reproductions are marginally less sharp, but it’s still available new and depending on where you live it may be more accessible than the FS edition, so I’ve linked that in below as well.

Links to buy:

► Buy Taschen’s edition – seriously, click that link to buy it now, it’s GORGEOUS. You will not regret it. Amazon | Book Depository | Abes

► Look for the Folio Society edition – absolutely beautiful but OOP, so you’ll need to source it second hand. Amazon | Abes | eBay

Buy the Calla Edition – very similar to the FS edition although this one has a cloth binding. Still available new. Amazon | Book Depository | Abes

► Or – if you have the funds – treat yourself to a sumptuous first edition from 1914. There was even a deluxe edition (800 copies) bound in vellum and signed by Nielsen himself! Abes | eBay

Taschen vs Folio

A few images from the Taschen edition for you to enjoy! (Click to embiggen.)


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Harold DeCourcy Greaves · 13 April 2023 at 11:42 pm

Hello, I’m Harold Greaves, a writer in Port of Spain, Trinidad. I write as H.D. Greaves and have many books on Amazon. You can look me up. Your article about the two books is fascinating! I’ve the Folio since 2000.

Harold DeCourcy Greaves · 13 April 2023 at 11:32 pm

Hello, fascinating comparison between two beautiful books! I’ve had the Folio since they published it in 2000 and I’ve kept it in mint condition. I’ve no idea what it’s worth, but I’m keeping it to reread occasionally and to admire the illustrations. I’m a Trinidad writer, now 84, still writing, with books on Amazon. I write as H.D. Greaves. So look me up.

    Daisy · 14 April 2023 at 6:37 am

    Hi Harold, and welcome to the site!

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