Like all publishers, I believe, we have a library containing copies of every book we've ever published. And since it contains first editions of Lustig-designed titles by Ezra Pound, Tennessee Williams, Nabokov, and on an on, we like to show it off to visitors. All of that handling, however, means that the books get out of alphabetical order. It's like a bookstore in that way, I suppose (I do not miss shelving books).
Today one of our interns, Annie, is going through the shelves and putting everything in the proper order. Not the most challenging or edifying task, but there are perks. She came across, for example, a collection of Inuit poetry — called Anerca — that one is urged to recite aloud with a drum accompaniment.
And then there's this:
See that little note that says it was originally published as The Hunt? Well, it turns out that New Directions published that book in 1952, and presumably sold the reprint rights to Berkley Books for this edition some years later. This is our edition:
Our cover is absolutely not sexy, while theirs puts sex front and center.
Comparing the description copy is interesting, too. Berkley's reads:
A young and beautiful girl finds herself trapped in a lonely cabin in the Rockies with two men — her murdering fiancé and his evil brother. Now a web of terror and hatred draws these three desperate people down into an orgy of violence and death…
While ours reads:
This powerful first novel by a new young writer of exceptional promise is bound to compel wide critical attention. It is the story of a murderer's flight, exciting both on the level of sheer physical narrative and in its reconstruction of an involved psychological motivation. Forces he could not comprehend drove Christopher to kill; insight came only in the dreadful aftermath, when the girl who loved him too much and the brother who understood him too little attempted his rescue.
The only common thread is a tendency towards hyperbole. Utterly fascinating.
One last comment: this "complete and unabridged" edition is all of 125 pages long.
ND editor Michael Barron interviewed Elaine Lustig for Bomb's blog. Read it here.
May 2013 News from New Directions
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Rebecca Ariel Porte, in a beautiful essay written for the Los Angeles Review of Books, dicusses Susan Howe's Sorting Facts: Nineteen Ways of Looking at Marker, addressing Chris Marker's films, as well. Definitely worth a read — here.
Writing for Bookslut, Christopher Merkel reviews the 65th anniversary edition of the classic modernist text. Read it here.