Monday, January 03, 2011

2010 Retrospective at Callum James Books

This year just gone has been a particularly productive one for Callum James Books. This is a short survey of the books published this year. First of all three more in Robert Scoble's Raven Series of monographs about Frederick Rolfe. Raven 10 The Crab and The Moon was about Rolfe's interest in and use of astrology. Raven 11 Cigars and Tree Carvings looks at Rolfe as a tutor to four boys, follwing their relationships and subsequent careers. Raven 12 The Pedestrian Uncle is a real tour-de-force of literary detective work which unearths, for the first time, the extraordinary career of Rolfe's uncle, Captain Patten Saunders, an amazing and amusing character who filled a life time with schemes, scams and relentless self-promotion. There are still three Ravens to go and then the set will be complete, sometime in 2011.

Also Rolfe-related, this year saw the publication of a small folio of photographs by Rolfe that were discovered in an album in the collection of the late Donald Weeks. The Christchurch Album reproduces faithfully, in terms of size, quality and colour, the photographs from this previously unknown photograph album, many of which are of Eric, the son of the art critic and editor Joseph Gleeson-White, who befriended Rolfe during his stay in Christchurch.

Three non-Corvine items were published this year in limited editions. The long-awaited Ganymede and Bacchus, two poems by the luscious Roden Noel, illustrated with prints direct from the blocks cut by Sue Martin. This publication fitted into the format in which we previously published Jocelyn Brooke's Six Poems. Later in the year we brought out a little gem of gay bibliography, Murray's Catalogue, which, until now has been a nearly impossible to find early list of pederastic titles that was used heavily by Tim d'Arch Smith in his work on the Uranian poets for his book Love in Earnest. And then we also put out Louis Wain In His Own Words, a reprinting of two interviews given by Wain to Victorian magazines, a fascinating early insight into a well-loved illustrator.

And finally, 2010 saw us move into a new kind of publishing. To compliment the hand-made limited editions that we have been working on now for five years, we are now also offering titles through These are traditional paperbacks, published by us but printed and distributed through Blurb. So far we have three titles available: The Romance of a Choir Boy by John Gambril Nicholson, Aspects of Wilde by Vincent O'Sullivan, and a larger full-colour production, Frederick Rolfe's Holywell Banners by Robert Scoble.

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