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:

First deluxes are completed
over 1 year ago – Sat, Dec 03, 2022 at 08:48:29 PM

Hello Everyone,

Gray had finished the first batch of deluxes! Although it is a nine-hour round trip to drive over there, in keeping with my desire to maintain direct, physical contact with everyone on the team, I'm going over to Gray’s studio in Maine on the 11th to pick them up in person. My partner Sylvia has generously offered to keep me company and share driving. 

We’ll read aloud as we often do on long car trips. Our current book is the WAD-designed Knopf edition of Thomas Mann’s The Black Swan but we’re almost finished with that; I have to pick out a couple more titles from the WAD bookshelf for us to take along. Robert Nathan is one of our most favorite WAD/Knopf authors but by now we have gone through all of his books. Plenty more to choose from, though.

When I am back from Gray’s I’ll pack deluxes and posters into the Priority Mail medium boxes and get those out to you. (And in some cases will include standard copies as well.) Given that there are twenty-five of these to do, with my carefully wrapping each book and then packing it with appropriate padding into the box, this is not something I wish to do in a hurry, and therefore I am not likely to pull this off in one day, so they'll be going out in the mail around the 13th or 14th. For US recipients that should mean delivery toward the end of the week, or Saturday. For international, I have no way to predict delivery times . . .

I’ve had very nice feedback from some who have already received their standard copies via media mail, and more books are arriving every day. Your thoughts and comments are always welcome. I hope as you dive into the stories, you will find the same pleasure and positivity in them that I do. And as always, thank you, each one of you, for helping to bring this book into the world. WAD must be very happy about this.

Books on the way
over 1 year ago – Sat, Nov 19, 2022 at 03:12:00 PM

Greetings All,

Sylvia and I drove over to Maine so that we could spend the day yesterday helping to wrap and ship out standard copies of the book to all of you who backed at that level (plus books and posters to backers outside the US). I am very pleased with the appearance of the lithowrap binding and Superior did a great job lining everything up.

Penmor set up an area in the pressroom where we could work comfortably, just as they did in 2018 when I was there for several days to help with packing and shipment of “W. A. Dwiggins: A Life in Design.” I delight in being in that building and feeling around me the quiet, competent energy of this crew that cares so much about doing work carefully, thoughtfully, efficiently. Quality and pride a daily part of life, not just slogans on their promotional materials.

With me in this picture is Jeff Richardson, who is the inside person on every job I do with Penmor. He takes care of the tiniest details of production once a project has entered the system and has a job ticket. I've worked with him for decades and love that he combines an enthusiastic and fun demeanor with an absolute steel-trap mind.

Packages will go out Monday via Media Mail to US addresses. Everything outside the US will go via US post office shipment. I'm grateful to one of the Canadian backers for alerting me to the aggressive fees/charges made by UPS to recipients, for incoming shipments from the US — we were able to change over to USPS so with luck all those packages will get to Canada without any “surprises.” Thanks, Chester!

Gray Parrot is still expecting to have the first batch of deluxes ready in December, so I'll drive over to his place in Warren to fetch them and will mail them out once I am back in Vermont. (It's a 4-hour drive each way to go to Penmor or to Gray, but I really like the personal contact.)

I hope each of you will be pleased when your book arrives. Let me know immediately if you have any issues or disappointments. And thanks again for helping to make this happen!!

Packing books in the pressroom workstation. That’s Penmor’s Jeff Richardson on the right. And yes, I'm wearing one of the new Athalinthia T-shirts — how could I not?! :-)

Standard copies mail out at the end of the week
over 1 year ago – Mon, Nov 14, 2022 at 09:58:27 PM

Hello Everyone,

I am away until this coming Wednesday but have learned from Penmor that the books have arrived there from the bindery! So the current plan is that I'll go over to Maine on Friday to help with the packing and shipping. Books will leave Lewiston Friday or Monday and will travel via Media Mail to addresses in the US, so will probably take seven to ten days to arrive, depending on how far away you are from Maine. Books to Canada will go via UPS and I have *no* idea how long those will take! Books to the rest of the world will travel via USPS International Priority Mail and again, I cannot tell you when you'll see them. But it'll be soon.

Thanks again to each of you for helping to make this book a physical reality. I know WAD is up there whistling tunelessly, with a grateful twinkle in his eye.

Forgot to post binder's label picture
over 1 year ago – Thu, Nov 03, 2022 at 08:23:20 PM

Plus you get to see WAD’s brush work from his dining room mural. I think it is a miracle that someone was able to dismount that mural — which I assume WAD painted directly on plaster – and then move it to Boston for installation at the BPL.

Prototype deluxe in hand
over 1 year ago – Thu, Nov 03, 2022 at 05:27:26 PM

Greetings One and All,

Gray just sent me the prototype of the deluxe and it is every bit as beautiful as I knew it would be. I feel the quiet presence of his craftsmanship and skill in every small detail. Such an honor to work with an artisan of this skill.

I'll put pictures below. A note for deluxe backers: I had written at the outset that Gray and I would sign the deluxes, but he let me know a while back that he *never* signs books. His standard practice is to place his wee and discreet binder’s label near the gutter on the rear endpapers, so that’s what we’ll do with this edition, too.

It looks as if we’ll have bound copies of the standard edition arriving at Penmor around the middle of the month, so we’ll be mailing out out as soon as we can. First batch of 25 deluxes still on schedule for December mailing, too. Those of you who ordered both a deluxe and a standard will be getting those together in one box, at the time the deluxes mail out.

Thanks again for helping to bring this book into the world.

Here's an overall shot of the deluxe spine and covers. Yummy Nigerian goatskin.
I had Owosso make a laser-engraved brass die for Gray to use in foil-stamping the center artwork. They did a fantastic job and Gray’s stamping is superb (way better than my photo quality). The two author names were set in Metrolite by Michael Babcock on his Linotype machine. He then sent the slugs to Gray to use for direct stamping. What I like about this is that the spine art is 100% authentic Dwiggins: his hand-lettered artwork made for the 1948 Waak cover (re-purposed to go here), and the top and bottom names are made directly from slugs cast in his hot-metal Metro. (The only non-WAD bit is that I made the double hyphens in the main title.).)
And here's a peek at the endpapers. Dwiggins had a major interest in Sinbad. During the mid-1920s he issued a series of prints through the fictional Society of Calligraphers that depicted various scenes from Sinbad’s voyages. (Several of these are reproduced in the Athalinthia book.) What you see on the endpapers is the mural that Dwiggins painted for the dining room wall in their house in Hingham. His idea of what Sinbad’s home port would look like. I was utterly charmed when I went to use this for the endpapers, worried about how I might have to crop it, and the aspect ratio of the mural was almost exactly that of the endpapers! For fifty years, this mural has been on display at the Boston Public Library, mounted on the wall of one of the three rooms devoted to exhibiting all things Dwiggins. Sadly, in their recent renovation of the special collections area, the BPL management decided that Dwiggins was not that important, so they eliminated those three rooms. I’m very disappointed about this development, but at least the image gets to appear here, in our book.