Thursday, December 29, 2011

Five Small but Perfectly Formed Publishers


Five publishers whose catalogues would be well worth perusing by anyone who has the same kinds of interests as this blog:




Elysium Press
Among their titles are the huge and superb An Obscene Diary: The Visual World of Sam Steward by Justin Spring which was published as a companion to The Secret Historian also by Justin Spring. The Secret Historian is a biography of Sam Steward aka Phil Andros (pornographer), Samuel M Steward (Professor of English) and Phil Sparrow (tattoo artist). Both books are completely un-put-down-able. Other recent titles from Elysium include The Photographs of Frederick Rolfe by Don Rosenthal and others by Stephen Tennant, Denton Welch, Baron Fersen and so on...






Ex Occidente Press
"Ex Occidente Press is an independent publishing house from that doubtful place that was once called "la Porte de l'Orient" by travellers, seers and esoterists, generals and freemasons, poets and spies, prostitutes and rakes, salon artists and theologians, but which is known nowadays under the name of Bucharest. " So says their website and who am I to argue. A simply unmissable website for anyone interested in the literature of the bizarre, the weird and the ghostly. If anyone were to ask me what they should collect as an investment that is being published now I would say buy each of these titles as they are published. Also, this publisher has a knack for creating books in such a way that you hold them in your hand and immediately sense the quality; this is a publisher producing some of the best quality books currently available from anyone, anywhere...







Old Stile Press
Of course, this list wouldn't be complete without mention of Nicolas and Frances, tucked away in a pastoral idyll at the bottom of the Wye Valley producing stunningly beautiful books combining word and image in an instantly recognisable way. The press has a fair number of titles which fall into the homoerotic bracket and that was how I first encountered them but they have much, much more to offer besides. The blog is currently headed by some breath-taking photographs of the environs of the press and the website is dripping with gorgeous books to buy.








Tartarus Press
Known for their beautiful cream-colour dust-jackets, the Tartarus Press is another which specialises in the strange and mysterious. Robert Aickman, Ambrose Bierce, Walter de la Mare, Beresford Egan are just the beginning of the catalogue. Also, among a great and glorious list of titles is the Wormwood Journal edited by Mark Valentine. Well worth an extended browse...








Valancourt Press
An independent publisher which describes itself as 'small' but has an extremely healthy output of scholarly editions of neglected classics in the field of Gothic, Victorian, Mystery, Gay interest, Edwardian, 1890s stuff... They even have a couple of Rolfe titles and have recently published a two volume edition of Forrest Reid's Tom Barber Trilogy: the first volume containing the trilogy, the second containing a study of Forrest Reid and explanatory notes by Michael Matthew Kaylor. James Jenkins, who runs the show at Valancourt started things up in 2005 and their list is quite an achievement for such a space of time.

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