Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hope-in-the-Mist & What Can Be Saved from the Wreckage? E-Books!


I have a particular fondness for my two Temporary Culture books, Hope-in-the-Mist and What Can Be Saved from the Wreckage? Firstly, because they were both labors of love, critical monographs on two fantasists of great importance to the genre. Secondly because Henry Wessells made such lovely books out of them.

The only drawback to those publications was that because a) there is a limited market for such studies, and b) Henry didn't want to have boxes of unsold books cluttering up his living room, they were issued in editions of 200 copies each, plus a very limited number of hand-bound hardcovers.

Both books went out of print very quickly.

This was a particular problem for Lud-in-the-Mist because it is the only book dedicated solely to Hope Mirrlees and thus any scholar who wants to write about her must somehow track down a copy.

So I am particularly happy to report that Temporary Culture is making both volumes available as e-books through Weightless Books.

Hope-in-the-Mist: The Extraordinary Career and Mysterious Life of Hope Mirrlees is a slim study of the life and works of a woman known in genre for her magisterial fantasy novel Lud-in-the-Mist and in Academia for her magisterial (and long lost) poem Paris, a Poem. The poem was published by Virginia and Leonard Woolf on the tabletop press and is suspected of being a serious influence on Mirrlees's friend T. S. Eliot. The novel is considered one of the founding works of fantasy by all hte usual suspects, including not only myself but Neil Gaiman. Who, not coincidentally, provided an introduction to my book.

You can find ordering information here.

What Can Be Saved from the Wreckage? James Branch Cabell in the Twenty-First Century is my attempt to make James Branch Cabell accessible again. I read everything that Cabell ever published (roughly fifty books, all told) and then passed judgment on them, holding the praiseworthy up for admiration and explaining why the lesser works are of interest only to the completist.(*) In the course of which, I give a quick sketch of the man's life and career, detailing how he took the most successful career of any fantasist of his times and drove it straight and unerringly into oblivion.

But fondly, I hope. There was a lot to like about JBC.

The introduction, believe it or not, was written by Barry Humphries, he of Dame Edna Everage fame. You can find the ordering information for it here.

(*) Neil Gaiman (and I'm sure he's not alone) believes that I've undervalued some of Cabell's works, the short fiction in particular. This is quite possible. Please feel free to decide for yourself. And if you end up feeling I gave the man short shrift, feel free to say so publicly. Fantasists can use all the publicity they can get. Above: The cover for Hope-in-the-Mist.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

James Branch Cabell is maybe the greatest casualty of the genre. And unfairly painted with the tar of the generic cynic; I'll take his coda in Figures of Earth for heartbreak over anything dumped out of Tolkien's everful chamberpot of sentiment.