In the Penal Colony, Kafka – new edition binding!

I am pleased to present the first bound copy of In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka. This new translation by Breon Mitchell was done especially for this Deep Wood Press edition along with the sublime etchings by Dellas Henke. Please read earlier blog posts for details on the journey of this 2+ year long project. Here are the specs for this initial prototype binding structure made for show at the quickly approaching Oak Knoll Fest XX in New Castle, Delaware October 5-7th.

The book comes in at 35 pages of printed text with a title page printed in 3 colors on Somerset Book White making 4 sections. This copy is bound on leather cords laced into the boards and quarter bound with black Moroccan Goat and sienna Fabriano Text paper (circa 1950’s) with a copper foil title on the cover. The flyleaves on this copy are the same Barcham Green “Windover” stock used for the 3 deluxe copies of the edition. The endpapers and slip case covering are printed Cartiere Magnani Revere evoking the island our story transpires at. 10 1/8 x 13 1/4 x 5/8″ (25.5 x 33.5 x 1.6cm)

For the rest of the edition I plan to make drop spine boxes for the book but because of time constraints opted for the slipcase for this copy. The binding style may change as well but for now I am content with this “salesman’s sample”. A reminder; Dellas, Breon and myself are splitting this edition 3 ways giving us each 10 copies to sell, 2 artists proofs and 1 deluxe on the Windover stock. Pricing for the book is $1000 unbound in sheets and we will each sell bound copies as well but that price will fluctuate with whatever binding treatment it is given. My bound copies will start at $1350. Inquiries may be made to me here.


Kafka, Penal Colony, Oak Knoll XX!

Just in case you all thought I might be dead or lost or something I thought I’d get these bits out during a slow moment before ink once again rules the day. Yes, Kafka will be ready soon and those of you venturing to Oak Knoll Fest XX coming up in a few short weeks in New Castle, Delaware on October 5-7th will be the first to see it. This new exquisite translation by Breon Mitchell with six etchings by Dellas Henke is sure to please. The books are nearly ready and all the other bits necessary for trekking across the country are falling into place. Check back soon for some initial binding shots:  
If you can’t make it to Oak Knoll (going to be a great one) then I’ll have details up for book purchasing and final binding details on my return in mid October. I’ll also be attending CODEX VII in Febuary 2019 where I will have copies of the book as well as a preview of the upcoming Mad Parrot release of The Wind in the Willows as well as what is available of previous editions.

To the press soon! The Kafka progress


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Just moments ago I sent off the (I hope) final text edits and layout for In the Penal Colony to translator Breon Mitchell and artist Dellas Henke. Lucky for all of you we are perfectionists and because of that this new manuscript from Breon has undergone nine (I think) revisions in the past six months. I must say I’ve had too much fun doing this — for an otherwise usually grueling process it’s been fun sparring with my collaborators from anything from syntax to making calls on typographic “house style.”

Here is Dellas’s sixth etching for the book,”Entitled” to be used as the frontispiece.

All of the intaglio prints have been pulled and are awaiting another dampening for the text run. All but three more sets….

— We’ve decided to print an additional three special copies on some old Barcham Green “Windhover” stock saved by Dellas while he was working with Kim Merker and the Windhover Press during his graduate student days at the University of Iowa in the ’70s. I will contribute some lovely old stock Fabriano sheets from the ’40s for fly leaves or doublures. Some three discriminating individuals or institutions will enjoy these lovely folios of crisp sheets hand pulled by an iconic craftsman and paper mill and impressed with our impressions of this interesting little story.

UPDATE: The manuscript is finished! To the press soon!

I’ve not been idle while waiting for manuscript revisions. Progress has been made on my other Kafka project, The Hunter Gracchus, with completion of the last engraving and mezzotint intaglio work and adapting the other plates to the new size format. I’ll post some pictures of layout revisions soon.

Also, James Dissette and I have not neglected our Mad Parrot Press venture! We’ve brought Marc Castelli back on board to illustrate our new production of EM Forster ‘s The Machine Stops. Marc has worked with us in the past on our books under the Chester River Press imprint for both Heart of Darkness and The Chesapeake Voyages of Captain John Smith as well as other ephemeral projects. However, we’ve run into a snag with the Forster estate at the moment but hope to work it out to all of our benefit in the very near future. I’ll keep you posted of course as I’m always timely with my blog….

Looking toward fall:

I’ll once again be at the 16th annual Kerrytown Bookfest in Ann Arbor, Michigan peddling my books and demonstrating intaglio printing as I have for the past 16 years.

I’ll also be at Oak Knoll Fest XX in New Castle, Delaware on October 5-7th. Please join me and 40 other fine presses from around the world as we convene for this very special 20th anniversary gathering at Oak Knoll where the Fine Press Book Association was born.

All books convey a message through printed word and image. The fine press book is not just a vessel for an idea, but a message in and of itself. When the careful combination of paper, typography, printing, and binding accentuate the ideas contained within in a distinctive and artistic way, then the book as an object takes on special importance. How this evolving practice is viewed by artisans, collectors, institutions, and dealers is what Oak Knoll Fest is all about.