New W. A. Dwiggins book! Athalinthia stories and pictures

Created by Bruce Kennett

The personal side of Dwiggins. Cool stories, published together for the first time. Tons of never-before-seen art, much in color.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

14 days ago – Mon, Mar 06, 2023 at 10:52:44 AM

Here is today’s Tower of WAD, waiting patiently in the front hall/pantry for me to load boxes into the car. These deluxes all went out in the mail before noon today. I mailed out an even bigger batch on Friday. There are a few loose ends still to tie up — a few more books to send, and the t-shirts to do once Jim the screen printer has his shop move completed — but we are nearing completion of this most excellent adventure.

Are we there yet?! Are we there yet?!

Second (and final) batch of deluxes in hand here in Vermont
18 days ago – Thu, Mar 02, 2023 at 07:59:56 AM

On Monday we drove back to Maine to get the rest of the deluxes from Gray. From what I understand, this is the very last edition of this size he’ll ever bind. At this stage of his distinguished career, he prefers to work on one-of-a-kind projects, especially with lots of gold-tooling, or editions of just a handful of copies printed by letterpress. So we were very fortunate that he made something of an exception in agreeing to do this for us. A combination of factors: he and I have known each other for decades, and also, most important, the subject was Dwiggins! (Gray is a major WAD fan.)

We got back from our trip last night, so today I’m gearing up to carefully pack and send out the rest of the first-series deluxes (26–50), and then the second series. At least some of these will go out tomorrow, and the rest on Monday.

My very best to all of you in this little community, and again, thanks to each and every one of you for your help in bringing this work into print.


Boston-area backers . . . please join us the evening of Feb 28th
about 1 month ago – Tue, Feb 14, 2023 at 12:41:12 PM

Hello All, 

In two weeks, on Monday 27th, it’s Mabel Dwiggins’s birthday. The following evening Katherine Small Gallery is throwing a party for Athalinthia from 6 until 8 at their intergalactic corporate headquarters in Somerville. We would LOVE to have you join us. No tickets or Eventbrite hoops to navigate — just show up, raise a glass to Mabel and Bill, and talk about all things WAD with others who appreciate him. There will be some copies of vintage Dwiggins-designed trade novels there for sale, and a t-shirt or two. So come on ovah! 6 until 8 p.m., Tuesday, 28 February.

More news on remaining deluxes
about 1 month ago – Mon, Feb 06, 2023 at 06:55:20 AM

This note in from Gray:

“The books are sewn, trimmed, & backed; they have headbands & the spines are lined, & paper tubes affixed.

The boards are cut & prepared; the leather is cut & skived; I am halfway finished with the hand paring.

Stamping next week.

Going great guns.

Stay warm.”

Thank you, deluxe backers, for your patience in waiting for these to be completed!

Sewn blocks

Some news about the remaining deluxes, and the t-shirts
about 2 months ago – Wed, Jan 25, 2023 at 01:08:32 PM

It’s been quiet of late. I hope those of you with books in hand have been enjoying the stories!

Deluxe Edition

To the deluxe backers beyond the first twenty-five people, I thank you very much for your patience. Gray has been working steadily in the quiet of his Maine studio. He sent this note today:

I have assembled the endpapers, making the zig-zag, and I have punched 8,000 holes, one by one. I will be finished with the sewing this week, probably tomorrow, and by the first of the month will have begun on the covers. I hope to be finished before the end of February.

Gray sewing one of our deluxes. (Photo by Gray’s wife Chris Covert, who is a visual artist, primarily a painter.)

Ah, and look at the company we keep . . . that large, dark book on the right is Anatomy of the Wood Rat: Comparative Anatomy of the Subgenera of the American Wood Rat (genus Neotoma) by Alfred Brazier Howell (Williams & Wilkins, 1926).

“Rabelais” T-shirts

Jim Jackson, the screen printer in Dwiggins’s home town of Cambridge, Ohio, has been moving his shop to a different space, so he’s had a lot on his plate this month. The artwork is in his hands and as soon as he’s had a chance to prepare it for transfer to the screens, he’ll create a page on his website where we can all go to place an order. Earlier I mentioned the potential options: 1) six flat colors or  2) a CMYK reproduction of the image or  3) an iron-on transfer. There was much more support for the true, multiple-flat-colors version that would be faithful to Dwiggins’s original idea. So that’s what we’ll print. Stay tuned — as soon as I have a url from Jim I’ll post it here.

Dwiggins originally made this image for a label that spanned all five volumes of an edition of Rabelais (Limited Editions Club, 1936). The edition was designed and illustrated by Dwiggins, and printed by the great Fred Anthoensen in Portland, Maine. As you can see on my set of books, which are now nearly a hundred years old, the labels have faded terribly. But what a cool idea to have that single image span all five volumes!
Our T-shirts will be made from this proof, which I photographed many years ago at the Boston Public Library. It was stored away from light, so the colors are still fresh. If you scroll back up to the previous picture, you can see how the blue and orange inks have managed to stay relatively stable over time, whereas the hot pink and green have faded completely. Note also that Dwiggins hand-lettered each of the five titles individually, rather than trying to “boost efficiency” by using photostats.