Two Ponds Press has a vision: to celebrate and reinvent the fine art press. The Press succeeds in doing just that by working with artists from all over the world to create new and exciting pieces of fine printing. The works are something to behold, and the Press is currently in the process of crafting books that include poetry, children’s lit, culinary art, photography, and much more. Read on for a brief introduction to the works of Two Ponds Press and more about the process and people behind them.
There’s hardly a more memorable father-son duo in modern literature than Kingsley and Martin Amis. “Duo,” though, may not be the most accurate term. The pair never worked together, nor did they agree as far as art was concerned. In fact, each man was distinct in temperament and personality, writing novels unique to his own aims and tastes. Differ as they may, both have offered a powerful portraits of their times, with rich narrative voices to bring their visions to life.
Walter Benjamin, in his 1940 ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ discusses the way in which historical narratives constantly reshuffle themselves. Because we can’t see into the future, he says, history always leads to the precise moment of the present, and must change with each new historical moment in order to seem coherent. As it is with history, so too is it with the literary canon. Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (1851) was transmuted from a rare flop by a popular author to one of the most important works in English only when it became clear that novels of the 20th century were deeply indebted to it. By the same token, Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1603) can be seen to have a significant Oedipus Complex, but only after Sigmund Freud’s exegesis on the topic was it possible to recognize it as such. Though perhaps more subtle, it is in this way that Argentine short story impresario Jorge Luis Borges can be seen to have reshaped the way we read Charles Dickens.
As summer slowly comes to an end, lazy afternoons feel stickier than usual. The air is still, the trees are quiet, and humidity hangs over the front porch like a blanket. On days like these, I find a box fan and a suspenseful novel help pick up the pace. For a quick and captivating read, consider one (or many!) of these seven Nelson DeMille novels.
Literary societies have been around for hundreds of years. Cornell's Browning Society dates back to 1877. The society, dedicated to the study and promotion of Robert Browning's poetry, led to more widespread popularity of the poet to the point that he acknowledged the society's critical role in his career. Similar societies sprang up, inspired by the Browning group, and today many groups exist for a variety of writers. Some groups focus mostly as social clubs in which hobbyists gather with other like-minded fans to discuss the objects of their literary affection, while others are more scholarly, focusing on discussion, research, and in some cases publication and preservation of texts and estates. The Brontë Society is more like the latter.
Few simple things in life are as satisfying as opening the cover and flipping through the pages of a brand new book. This is perhaps exponentially more true for those who work in the art of bookbinding by hand. Indeed, bookbinding is something to behold. Binders must be meticulous with every bit of stacking, folding, glueing, and stitching; and there is also the design aspect of the binding to consider. For those who are unfamiliar with bookbinding, we've compiled a few introductory videos to give you a taste of the beautiful work being done by fine binders.
Even among bibliophiles, the subject of early dust jackets is an often unexplored area of knowledge. Yet early dust jackets have an important place in book history: they reflect historical attitudes towards bookbinding, publishing, and advertising. The mystery and challenge of the dust jacket is that as they were initially intended to be disposable, few early examples remain today. In fact, no one knows with any certainty when dust jackets were first produced by publishers. Early dust jacket specialist, Mark Godburn, suggests that less than one percent of the total number issued now survive and writes that there is no archival record of dust jacket use before 1870. It's not surprising, then, that title holder of "earliest dust jacket" has changed many times according to new discoveries.
Born in Trinidad in 1932, V.S. Naipaul earned a Nobel Prize in Literature “for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories." Naipaul struggled in the fledgling years of his writerly life to find a distinct voice, first in Trinidad and later during his tumultuous years at Oxford. He would show off that vaunted scrutiny in his earlier comic novels before taking the same blend of high style and high insight to a career’s worth of more tragic novels and travel writing. For the sheer power with which colonial histories are unearthed in his writing, Naipaul remains one of the most lauded writers alive. Here are some interesting facts about him.
Sometimes, the persona of the writer outsizes the body of writing itself. Few examples of this are clearer than that set by poet and novelist Charles Bukowski. He committed to his pages the environment he knew best—that of lowlifes, the forgotten, and the destitute. This sort of life—with all its modest adventures to be found in saloons, motels, booze, and sex—has captivated the adolescent mind for years. And these readers are the chief reason Bukowski is kept alive at all.