Thursday, July 19, 2007

You go looking

for the new John Wieners, A Book of Prophecies, put out by Bootstrap Productions, but St Marx books does not have it in stock. As Prophecies is a little bit, sortof, definitely, the Book-o-the-Moment, you are letdown, BUT there await other booktreats, including new Robert Walser, so you allow life to continue.

from St Marx:

The Assistant
Robert Walser, New Directions, 2007
Before Night Falls Reinaldo Arenas, Penguin, 1993
Singing from the Well, Reinaldo Arenas, Penguin, 1987
Snow Part Paul Celan, The Sheep Meadow Press, 2007
Being & Event Alain Badiou, Continuum, 2006

Other odd-end acquisitions of recent times:

Heliogabalus Antonin Artaud, Creation Books, 2003
Ulysses Annotated Don Gifford with Robert J Seidman, U of California P, 1988
Unsung Rod Mengham, Folio/Salt, 1996
Personae Ezra Pound, Liveright, 1926 [fifth printing: 1938]

Also, there was a little visit to the Strand, with the following purchases:

You've Always Been Wrong Rene Daumal, Nebraska, 1995
Standards of Bibliographical Descriptions Buhler, McManaway, Wroth, U of Pennsylvania P, 1949
The Review of Contemporary Fiction Dalkey Archive Annual 1, ed John O'Brien, Spring 2007
Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices Brenda Love, Barricade Books, 1988


The Pound edition is particularly handsome. It was purchased in MA along with the Mengham, which proves to be one of the earlier titles from Salt (1996), when it was located only in Australia. Since, Salt has become one of the more interesting presses in the UK, though they are guilty of putting out a few too many books, a rare fault indeed. I'd always wanted one of the Gifford Ulysses Annotated & was lucky to find a copy at Alabaster Books, which is having a nice 30% off sale. The book is fun to read even without looking at the text. Would it not be interesting if all of the books on Joyce survived into the future but by some quirk none of the primary texts made it? What would the world think of Joyce then? Maybe they'd put his face on some of their currency, which is not to say this shouldn't be done currently, & in this country. New titles from a bunch of modern-era chaps are ultra welcome: Celan, Artaud, Walser, & Daumal, who had close ties to the 'pataphysical realm.

The new issue of the Review of Contemporary Fiction is something of an oddity. Dalkey Archive was particularly formitive in my early reading & book buying career so it is strange to see an issue of all reprints, especially one that arrives after what seemed like a delay in the regular production of the magazine. The issue in itself is valuable, but I'm not totally convinced that its arrival doesn't indicate some sort of problem at Dalkey HQ. They recently moved, I believe, so perhaps the state of the new issue has something to do with that. Or of course the issue could indicate none of this, but I am worried. RCF has always been a great resource for in-depth info on neglected & interesting writers, the format of the magazine being one of it's strongest aspects: usually three 50-page articles on various writers followed by several dozen reviews of recent books of note. In this issue, however, excerpts are provided from Dalkey's back catalog, & it functions something like a greatest hits. There is the standard O'Brien rant-intro against the state of publishing quality work in this country, which is good to see as always. But then the reviews themselves seem dated, all featuring books from last year, in addition to one from 2005, & none from 2007. In each instance that an interesting book was reviewed, I found that not only had I already heard about it, but in many cases I'd already bought it & read it. Given that the review section of the RCF has always been a showcase for new things to buy & read, this is something of a letdown. Exactly if the fault lies with me acquiring things too fast or with Dalkey being too slow, I cannot say for sure either way. But I am concerned about RCF with this latest move. With hope they will be back to normal functioning status with the next issue. If not we may be in the process of losing one of our more necessary sources for excellent literary information.

The Daumal acquisition was a nice prelude to the 'pataphysical deluge that was to follow, one that I am still sorting out, & will report on soon.


Anonymous said...

hey! i'm going to cali this weekend and won't be back until is the website i was talking about where i made extra summer cash. Later! the website is here

kathryn said...

Even though it might be too late, thanks for the information about Dalkey's Review of Contemporary Fiction! Wish I had known to check it out sooner.

Patrick Lovelace said...

old issues are still great. & there's still hope they get back on track...