Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Henry Wessells' Wonderful January Sale



Over at Temporary Culture, my friend Henry Wessells is having a book sale of some 112 items marked down 25% from their usual prices. Two items caught my attention.

The first is my own Blue As the Moon. As fans of Dragonstairs Press (Marianne Porter, prop.) know, once in a blue moon--in fact, literally on the day of a blue moon--Marianne prints a limited edition of 69 copies of a chapbook created for the occasion up for sale. Then, at midnight, any unsold copies are burned in the wood stove. 

This is Marianne's way of celebrating the transience of the printed word, of art, and of life itself.

Dragonstairs Press doesn't have much of a secondary market. Marianne makes the chapbooks and other items, they sell out, and people tend to hold onto them. So when an out-of-print item comes available, it's an occasion.

Blue As the Moon is being offered at $32, down from $40.

The other item is a hardcover copy of Hope Mirrlees' "lost masterpiece of modernism," Paris, a Poem, beautifully designed and letterset-printed by Pegana Press.

 By my reckoning, this is the fourth time this poem has ever been printed. The first was as a chapbook that Virginia Wool printed on her tabletop press, back in the 1920s. The second was a bowdlerized (by Mirrlees herself) version in a mimeographed academic zine dedicated to Woolf. The third time, restored and explicated by Julia Briggs was in Bonnie Kime Scott's Gender in Modernism. So this is the second stand-alone version of the poem ever, and the first in hardcover.

Also, as I said, a beautiful book.

This item is being offered at $750, marked down from $1,000. Which at first blush looks expensive. But in fact it's a bargain. There are only two copies still available from Pegana and they cost $2,200 each. (Hand-crafted books of this caliber ain't cheap.)

You can find the entire catalog here. It's a fun thing to browse.



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