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:

Athalinthia in today’s Boston Sunday Globe
almost 2 years ago – Wed, Jul 06, 2022 at 02:43:25 PM

The Athalinthia book is in the Boston Sunday Globe today.

Funding at 95%, so still not quite there. Please suggest to others in your circle that they join in, so that together we can make this a reality.

Happy birthday WAD!
almost 2 years ago – Sun, Jun 19, 2022 at 07:09:59 PM

Dear Wonderful Backers,

First of all, happy Bill Dwiggins’s birthday! He was born on this day in 1880, in Martinsville, a hamlet of seventy-seven souls in southwestern Ohio.

Thanks to your support, we are almost 80% funded. That’s great news.

However, we still need more people to pledge for rewards at the standard book level. My own resources for advertising the existence of this project are pretty limited — I’m a maker of books and not an on-line marketer. Whatever you can do to help spread the word, please do so. If you can post the url for the Kickstarter on your own social media account(s), that would be great. Or just bring it up as a topic whenever you have conversations with friends and colleagues, to be sure they know about it.

Remember, too, that Steve Heller’s article about Athalinthia is on view here, and this is a great link to share. It has lots of pictures, too!

Heartfelt thanks for your help in getting this across the finish line, and happy birthday, Bill!

(The photo at top was made by WAD’s devoted assistant, Dorothy Abbe, in the early 1950s. Dwiggins is sitting in the building that he designed and had constructed in 1937, across the street from his Hingham residence, for the dual purposes of design studio [upstairs] and private marionette theater [downstairs].)

Ceremony and theater
almost 2 years ago – Fri, Jun 17, 2022 at 09:03:22 PM

Dear Family of Backers,

First of all, thank you again for supporting this project. Please continue to spread the word so we can fund the remaining 25%!!

Some of you who own my biography of Dwiggins will already know what I’ll describe below. And some of you who follow me on FaceBook or Instagram will have seen my post earlier today (to you my apologies for the redundancy). But for the rest of you, here's a bit more about Dwiggins’s love of drama:

This illustration (pasted below) comes from the series of stencil prints that Dwiggins made for the Society of Calligraphers in the mid 1920s. Although those prints depicted the voyages of Sinbad, the image fits perfectly into the narrative of the new Athalinthia book: in the story “Syrillion,” the Queen of Ageb sends an official delegation to the capital city of Zaar in the neighboring kingdom of Athalinthia, to make a request of the King.

In capturing both the gravity and splendor of the occasion, this image shows Dwiggins’s love of pageantry, ceremony, and drama. Throughout the Athalinthia book you can see Dwiggins’s fascination with costumes and dramatic events; it’s easy to visualize how these interests later blossomed into his building an entire private marionette theater next to his house in Hingham, Massachusetts. WAD wrote the plays, engineered and built the marionettes, designed the costumes, imagined and constructed fantastic and elaborate sets, designed all the stage lighting, and carved furniture and props. His productions even had live music: the performances were accompanied by varying combinations of organ, piano, clarinet, recorder, and/or voice.

Dwiggins was a volcano of creative energy, so naturally this attracted friends and neighbors who wished to be a part of the fun. Some members of the troupe operated the actual marionettes during performances by “acting down the strings” while others lent their skills to electrical work, sewing costumes, set-building, or the writing of music and lyrics. Dwiggins’s wife Mabel was a key member, as were Elizabeth Coatsworth (the celebrated writer of children’s books) and her husband Henry Beston (naturalist and author of “The Outermost House”).

Steven Heller on Athalinthia, with tons of pictures from the book
almost 2 years ago – Thu, Jun 16, 2022 at 05:21:40 AM

Author and teacher Steven Heller has just posted about Athalinthia in his column for Print magazine: 

Steve’s article includes many additional examples of two-page spreads and illustrations from the new book — beyond what I had put onto the Kickstarter page — so go have a look!

I have a favor to ask of you:

The up-front costs of making this full-color book the right way required the goal to be as high as it is. I could have made a lower goal, printing the book on a digital press and making it perfect-bound, as so many short-run editions are produced these days. However, wishing to honor Dwiggins in every way possible, I didn’t choose that path, and instead opted to make a book with highest-quality production values and long life.

As is evident from the group of backers that’s already gathered together to support this project, many of us long to see this book in print. But in order for that to happen, we need additional backers in order to reach the goal. Please talk up the project in your own circle of friends and colleagues, and send them the Steve Heller link. If you happen to use social media, and feel comfortable doing this, please post about the project there. If we can spread the word far and wide, we’ll garner enough support to make this happen.

Heartfelt thanks,

Bruce (and WAD!)

Increasing your pledge
almost 2 years ago – Wed, Jun 15, 2022 at 04:46:15 AM

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