The Neverending Story

Michael Ende

Illustrated by Marie-Alice Harel

Translated by Ralph Manheim

Selected by Folio readers

To mark Folio’s 75th anniversary, Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story is published as a magical new edition, beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist Marie-Alice Harel and bursting with exquisite design details.

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‘A rich, enjoyable read … drawing in the most potent elements of fairytale, myth, and invented fantasy.’
  1. Observer

When ten-year-old Bastian is inexplicably drawn to a mysterious old book, he is transported through its pages to a world beyond his wildest imagination; an enchanted kingdom populated by dragons, unicorns, giants and sprites. A loner who is tormented by bullies, Bastian becomes the unlikely hero of the story when he joins forces with young warrior Atreyu to save Fantastica from the dark power, The Nothing, and find a cure for its dying Empress. Drawing on a hitherto hidden strength, he must cross the Swamps of Sadness and the Silver Mountains to reach the infamous Ivory Tower; only then can he conclude his quest and return home. The overwhelming winner in our Readers' Choice survey, The Neverending Story is published as a spectacular collector’s edition to mark Folio’s 75th anniversary. From the beautiful illustrations by award-winning artist Marie-Alice Harel to the decorative chapter openers and opulent art silk binding, this edition is a must-have for anyone who was captivated by this extraordinary book in childhood and remains under its spell today.

An edition signed and numbered by the artist is available here.

Bound in blocked art silk

Set in Poppl-Pontifex with Duc De Berry display

432 pages

Text printed in 2 colours throughout

Decorated title-page, 33 integrated illustrations and 26 decorative drop caps

8 full-page colour illustrations including a double-page spread

Metallic printed endpapers

Printed page-edges

Printed and pearl blocked slipcase

10˝ x 7½˝

‘It was bound in copper-colored silk that shimmered when he moved it about ... there were large, beautiful capital letters at the beginning of the chapters. Examining the binding ... he discovered two snakes ... biting each other’s tail, so forming an oval. And inside the oval, in strangely intricate letters, he saw the title: The Neverending Story.’

The Neverending Story is one of our most requested titles, so it is no surprise that it won our 75th Anniversary Readers' Choice survey. First published in German in 1979, it went on to be translated into 36 languages, including renowned translator Ralph Manheim’s celebrated English version, and adapted as a successful film in 1984. To create this special collector’s edition, we have faithfully followed Michael Ende’s own description of the book when Bastian first holds it. Printed in two colours throughout, there are more than 30 integrated illustrations and decorative chapter openers, as well as printed page-edges and an art silk binding with a striking design of interlocking snakes. The only deviation from Ende’s description is the addition of eight gorgeous colour illustrations and endpapers by an artist with a flair for the fantastical. So, although we are told that in Bastian’s book: ‘there seemed to be no pictures’, this beautiful Folio edition will be all the more coveted for Marie-Alice Harel’s artwork.

It is decreed that only a human child can save the Empress of Fantastica and, as Bastian Balthazar Bux reads more of the book, realisation dawns that he is an intrinsic part of the story; the future of the beleaguered kingdom is in his hands. Grieving over the recent death of his mother, Bastian’s immersion is pure escapism and yet, when he trades his memories of the real world – culminating in his name – in exchange for Fantastica’s salvation, he ultimately treasures his identity, despite his sadness. In many ways a classic fantasy, influenced by Greek myths and traditional fairy tales, The Neverending Story is also a powerful allegory on the primacy of reading and the imagination. That an unassuming boy can harness the power of words to save a magical kingdom is the ultimate literary gift, and perhaps why this incredible book within a book continues to have such a profound impression on readers of all ages.

Michael Ende (1929–1995) grew up in Bavaria. His childhood was badly affected by the Second World War: he experienced the trauma of air raids in Munich and Hamburg and served in the resistance in 1945. As a young man he aspired to be a playwright. After studying at drama school, he worked as an actor and began to write cabaret sketches and film criticism. His first novel for children was published in 1960. Ende rapidly began to enjoy financial success and a high reputation: he was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award and his books were adapted for radio and TV. His books, with fantastical settings and a sometimes surreal style, sold millions of copies and were widely translated; Ende was particularly popular in Japan, and travelled widely there to promote new releases. For many years he lived near Rome, and latterly in Munich.

Ralph Manheim (1907-1992) was one of the most acclaimed translators of the 20th century. Born in New York City, he graduated from Harvard University at the age of 19 and spent time in Munich and Vienna before Hitler’s rise to power. His career as a translator began with Hitler’s Mein Kampf, published in America in 1943. He was also involved in the translation of the transcripts of Adolph Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem and the works of Bertolt Brecht. Manheim likened the art of translation to acting, his role being ‘to impersonate his author’. He moved to Paris in 1950 and lived there until 1985, when he moved to Cambridge, England. He is well loved for his translations of Grimm’s Tales for Young and Old, ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ and Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story. He died in 1992.

Marie-Alice Harel is a French illustrator based in Edinburgh. She started her career as a Geosciences PhD and researcher before taking up illustration full-time in 2016. Her illustrations, predominantly watercolours, can be found in books, picture books, galleries and magazines and she teaches life drawing and illustration at the Edinburgh Drawing School. Marie-Alice was winner of the 2019 Book Illustration Competition, run by The Folio Society with House of Illustration, for her artwork and binding design for Howl’s Moving Castle. She has since illustrated Castle in the Air (2021), House of Many Ways (2021) and The Neverending Story (2022) for Folio.


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