Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Raven Two: Alfred James Rolfe: The Real Sebastian Archer
by Robert Scoble

Following the outstanding success of The Quest for Cockerton, the first in the Raven Series of original essays on the life and work of Frederick Rolfe, 'Baron Corvo', I am now pleased to announce the publication of the second in the series.

The protagonist of Rolfe's novel of Venice, The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole, is a struggling writer named Nicholas Crabbe,whose tribulations mirror those suffered by Rolfe himself in that sparkling city. Crabbe is eventually saved from his troubles by an unexpectedly generous offer from his publishers for a novel he has been writing, entitled Sebastian Archer. The Corvine scholar Robert Scoble has tracked down the real person upon whom the hero of Sebastian Archer was based - Frederick Rolfe's younger brother, Alfred. In a life full of incident, Alfred spent his childhood at a prestigious London school, emigrated at an early age, met with misfortune in the Australian outback, but ultimately carved out a successful career nurtured by a happy marriage.

The Raven Series has been planned as a set of scholarly essays which will add substantially to our knowledge of the life and work of Frederick Rolfe. Each essay will be published in a strictly limited edition, and there is little doubt that complete sets will be sought after by collectors in the years to come.

Of a full edition of 70 the first twelve are case bound in dark green paper-covered boards with gilt titles, signed by the author, and include photographs of Alfred and the places and people associated with him. Numbers 13-70 form the ordinary state of the edition and are sewn into blue card covers with a paper label and glassine covers and contain fewer illustrations.

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