January 1, 2009


E. McKnight Kauffer cover for Rabelais Gargantua and Pantagruel, Modern Library
E. McKnight Kauffer's cover for Gargantua and Pantagruel
by Rabelais (
Modern Library, 1928)*

What I hope to add to this site in 2009:

1. "Lions of Literature" column by Gilbert Alter-Gilbert. A-G. & I want to do these bi-weekly. [See the first column, on Leon Bloy.]

2. More interviews with A-G.

3. More guest posts from Cary Loren.

4. Guest post from Jacob McMurray of Payseur & Schmidt.

5. Der Orchideengarten scans. (Bound copy of 12 issues arrived -- unbelievably great.)

6. Graphic design scans (I'm slowly teaching myself the history of graphic design), including stuff from vintage copies of Gebrauchsgraphik (German magazine).

7. Andrew Mangravite interview/guest post. (I need to spend a lot of time in a university library to finish it... procrastinating.)

8. Collaborative posts with archivist/musician Brooke Sietinsons.

9. Overview of Bill Zavatsky's Sun (journal and small press), with his help.

10. Further exploration of "the world fantastic" (French sci-fi, Czech horror, Chinese weird tales, Peruvian gaslight, Scandinavian fantasy, Russian decadence, and on and on).

11. More Topor (and Gourmelin).

12. Posts about some strange women writers (Carrington, Kavan, Colquhoun).

13. Some type of project with Ben Waugh of the LibraryThing group Chapel of the Abyss.

14. Book giveaways like Giornale Nuovo used to do.


Accomplished from my 2008 list: Gilbert Alter-Gilbert interview; posts about obscure German Romantics; coverage of Jarry, Schwob, Cendrars, Walser, Cioran.

Everything else left unfinished! I should have consulted the list when the blog almost died (from March 20 to May 30 2008 I managed only 3 posts).

*American-born designer E. McKnight Kauffer lived and worked in the UK most of his life. Buy Mark Haworth-Booth's excellent E. McKnight Kauffer: A Designer and His Public.

I purchased this edition of Rabelais for Kauffer's great cover. The book doesn't list a translator, but the jacket tells us, "The Modern Library version, condensed by Professor Donald Douglas, is as faithful in spirit as it is intelligent in its selectiveness." In his intro, Douglas says he was forced by law to "cleanse Rabelais" and that it was ridiculous but necessary.

Anyway, I'm reading Burton Raffel's translation.


  1. I can't wait to see all these plans materialize! You already have one of the best art/lit blogs on the internet right now, and I can only imagine where it will take you in the future.

    I'm interested in seeing Ben Waugh participate. The breadth of his knowledge and the depth of his library is fantastic. I've often wondered who in the world he is.

    Lastly, Raffel's translation of G&P is what I read too. There's nothing like that book. I've (inadvertently) offended a few people by enthusiastically quoting from its choice scatological purple prose from time to time!

  2. McKnight Kauffer was a brilliant graphic artist. This is not very typical of his work - except for its strength and clarity. I look forward to reading your posts over the coming year - someone has to champion all neglected authors and artists. Happy New Year.

  3. Happy new year & best of luck with these interesting goals! Your blog is one of the few places on the net (to my knowledge) where one can see a genuinely varied and non-faddish sampling of publications design & illo work from the past.

    You are creating a very interesting & useful resource for professionals & amateurs alike … plus, Cendrars & Walser & Jarry, oh yes!!!!

  4. Will,
    Glad the blog didn't die. The posters above are correct: this site is important. Best for 2009,