Dreams of a lonely lighthouse

Félicien Rops - Parallélisme
Félicien Rops – Parallélisme, heliogravure (c.1896) – The Art Institute of Chicago, via Wikimedia Commons

Under lockdown, many people lived through Internet, physically separated from the outer world, and regular readers of this blog were probably more assiduous in their visits, waiting eagerly for the next post scheduled three days after the preceding one. Accordingly, floating in a virtual world, I spent much time searching the Web and preparing new posts.

Meanwhile, for many, love, deprived from physical contact, living at distance, became an ideality, filling dreams and desires.

My Love and I took hands and swore,
Against the world, to be
Poets and lovers evermore,
To laugh and dream on Lethe’s shore.

— Michael Field (Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper), “It was deep April, and the morn,” in Underneath the Bough (1893)

Poets and Lovers exists since one year and a half, it was born privately on March 17, 2019, becoming public on the 20th. This its 218th post.

Published articles

As before, most posts in the last six months have been revised versions of articles previously published on Agapeta. I have also presented new poems and songs, in particular verse written by six girls in the École Freinet in Vence, and I presented a new author, Paul Verlaine, with four poems already shared, and four more to come.

I will soon give three poems by girls from other schools applying the Freinet pedagogy.

I intend to read the poetry of Michael Field, the pen name of two women who loved each other and wrote together, see the quote above, and to share here their most interesting poems.

The 2020 Nathalia Crane pirate printing swindle

In the same way as the profitable market of scientific publishing has been invaded by “predator journals” that make money by selling bogus research articles, one sees the domain of literature suffering a similar attack by unscrupulous swindlers ready to fill their pockets by maiming known works by deceased authors.

pirate anonymous printing
ISBN13: 9798650717393. Never buy this pirate anonymous printing!

Looking on Internet for a book version of Nathalia Crane’s The Janitor’s Boy, and Other Poems, I found a 2020 printing at a moderate price. Sold by The Book Depository, a company claiming to be located in London, UK, it was presented as “Independently Published, United States (2020).” Having ordered the book, I was horrified by what I got. It took the text of the original 1924 edition and pasted it unformatted in an ugly font; each poem was squeezed into a single paragraph filling less than half a page, without any break into stanzas and lines. No publisher or editor name was given, there was no address of the printer, no copyright notice. There just appeared in the last page a mention “Printed in the USA” and a link to the website www.ICGtesting.com, which consists of a single page explaining that books printed on paper are exempts of compliance with the United States Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). The message was clear: we are anonymous pirates, we are free to sell printed garbage with impunity.

pirate anonymous printing
ISBN13: 9798650579793. Beware, another pirate anonymous printing!

The return address of The Book Depository, the seller, was not some bookshop in London, but looked like a warehouse in Hardwicke, Gloucestershire. I found out that they sold another “Independently Published, United States” version of The Janitor’s Boy, but this one is advertised as “illustrated.” In fact, searching on AbeBooks for “Independently Published” books sold by Book Depository, I obtained in August more than one million results! Several of them claim Jesus Christ as the first of their two authors, and indeed the catalogue contains a lot of bizarre fundamentalist religious books. More funny, one book warns about the dangers of hugs. It looks like anyone can self-publish anything on any subject, probably by paying in advance, and it will be distributed by The Book Depository. Recently, most of these cheap books have been excluded from AbeBooks, so the search now returns only 17 results.

Here we have a “bookseller” who cares about sales but not about books, and is content with making money by selling junk and raping poetry. We are very far from the bookshop held by a true bibliophile.

I recall here that The Janitor’s Boy is available in hypertext on Gutenberg, and that a scan of Nathalia Crane’s five first collections of poetry can be found on Internet Archive.

Stenbock readings

Although he was a lover of boys rather than girls, the ‘Decadent’ writer Eric Stenbock appeared seven times on Poets and Lovers. In partiular, my publication of his short story “The Egg of the Albatross” is—to my knowledge—the first Internet hypertext transcription of this work.

David Tibet edited a collection of selected works by Count Stenbock, titled Of Kings And Things, with subtitle Strange Tales and Decadent Poems by Count Stanislaus Eric Stenbock, published in October 2018 by Strange Attractor Press. A shortened version of David Tibet’s introduction has been published as an essay titled “Eric, Count Stenbock: A Catch Of A Ghost” on The Public Domain Review.

A table of contents of The Collected Poems Of S.E. Stenbock is given on the site of Current 93. It lists the titles of all poems in Stenbock’s three collections of verses: Love, Sleep and Dreams, Myrtle Rue and Cypress and The Shadow Of Death.

Frozen decadence

Sometimes a lively blog, active since several years, suddenly stops after an ordinary post, with no reason given, nor any warning. This was the case with an interesting blog devoted to the so-called “Decadents,” the unconventional artists and poets of the end of the 19th century, who led a strange and contradictory life mixing debauchery with remorse. Named Decadenthandbook’s Blog, it lived between October 12, 2009 and June 21, 2011, presenting many paintings, poems and scholarly analyses. I recommend its first introductory post: “Decadence — a Brief Introduction.”

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