Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Paris A Poem

Mike first acquired his press in 2009, and while researching forgotten material to bring back to print, he found Paris A Poem, which became the first book project for Pegana Press.

The history of this work is fascinating.  Written by Hope Mirrlees in 1919 who is best known for her book  Lud-In-The-Mist, the poem has been cited as a lost masterpiece of Modernism, pivotal and influential to those poets of fame to follow.  Mirrlees becomes our eyes and ears for a journey through the wonders of the metropolis.

It was first published at the Hogarth Press by Leonard & Virginia Woolf, and typeset to exact specifications as directed by Hope Mirrlees.  Movement becomes personified by typographic layout, guiding us through the city.  The gardens of Tuileries are laid out on the page to represent their exact spacings; Lilies of the valley become one on the page.

Portions of Paris A Poem were later suppressed by Mirrlees herself, and the originals have now become virtually unobtainable, locked away in museums and private libraries.  After reading the poem and its history, it seemed important to bring this work back to publication in as close to the original typography as possible.

Working from a scan of the original, the spacing and typography were laboriously reproduced by hand for the Pegana Press edition by Mike.  This process took about a year working in the middle of the night and on his days off, while also employed full time at a local business in town.

In 2010 Pegana Press finished printing Paris A Poem by Hope Mirrlees.  Fifty copies were sent to Ars Obscura in Seattle to be bound by master binder Joel Radcliffe, who provided us with the beautiful blue cloth binding with gold lettering and inset cover image designed for this edition by artist Brian Dunning.

But what became of the unbound copies?  Recently Mike decided to offer them in an alternate binding with newly printed paper covers in gray French Canson heavy stock paper with the original cover image printed in reflex blue ink.

I am hand sewing each with white linen thread using a Coptic stitch.  Then adding a touch of glue to add durability to the stitching.

You may find both editions of Paris A Poem by Hope Mirrlees, published by Pegana Press on our website.  We invite you to take a look.

Now I'll leave you with a quote from Paris A Poem.

The Seine, old egotist, meanders imperturbably to-
                                                          wards the sea,
Ruminating on weeds and rain...
   If through his sluggish watery sleep come dreams
      They are the blue ghosts of king-fishers.
--Hope Mirrlees

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Clark Ashton Smith: The Age Of Malygris

Mike has been working night and day on this book, and we are excited to announce that it's nearly finished.

The stories have been printed and the introduction is in the typesetting/printing process.  We will say more about the introduction in a future post.

This book will include two illustrations by Clark Ashton Smith and we hope to have it ready to release very soon, if all goes smoothly.

The Age Of Malygris This link will take you to the information on our website.  This "In Progress" page doesn't appear listed among our tabs, so follow this link for a contents listing and pre-order info.

We will continue to update the blog with tidbits as we get closer to the release of this book.

Until then, here is a quote from The Last Incantation.

...implacable he mused, while the sun of afternoon, declining on the city and on the sea that was beyond the city, smote with autumnal rays through the window of greenish-yellow glass, and touched his shrunken hands with its phantom gold, and fired  the balas-rubies of his rings till they burned like demonian eyes.

-- Clark Ashton Smith

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Keeping In Touch

It's been over two weeks since our last post, so I wanted to take a moment to share what we're up to at Pegana Press.

Mike is nearly finished printing the Age of Malygris Clark Ashton Smith book, and I have been working on the binding.  The book has been designed using sacred geometry, so it has different dimensions than the Dunsany Lost Tales editions.  I will be posting about that book very soon.

Today I  want to share a photo we just received from Joe Doyle, the curator of Dunsany Castle.  Many thanks to him for sharing this with us, and for giving us permission to post it.

This display is in the library at Dunsany Castle.  You can see the quills at the back of the desk and  two photos of Lord Dunsany in the foreground.

We are deeply honored that the Pegana Press Lost Tales editions are being displayed here.  (Lost Tales Volume 2, The Emperor's Crystal Deluxe edition on the left, and Lost Tales Volume 1 on the right.)

The little figurines on each side of the lion, are the work of artist Trevor Sproston.  These are his depictions of the gods Chu-Bu (to the right) and Sheemish (left side).  I found a more detailed photo of these statues inspired by Lord Dunsany's The Gods of Pegana, displayed on Facebook.

We hope you enjoyed the photo.  We will be posting about the upcoming Clark Ashton Smith book very soon, and other news as well.

Today's quote is inspired by Trevor's work.  It is from the story Chu-Bu And Sheemish which can be found in The Book Of Wonder published in 1912.  An amusing story of rival idols sharing space under the same temple roof, and how even the gods may be undone by petty jealousy.

To be a god and to fail to achieve a miracle is a despairing sensation; it is as though  among men one should determine upon a hearty sneeze and as though no sneeze should come; it is as though one should try to swim in heavy boots or remember a name that is utterly forgotten: all these pains were Sheemish's.
--Lord Dunsany   

And to Trevor, we say this: "There is dirt upon thy head , O Sheemish." "Dirt, dirt, dirt upon the head of Sheemish,"...