Decadent literature in Britain blossomed in the 1890s around such figures as Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, Max Beerbohm, Ernest Dowson and Arthur Symons. Under the maxim ‘Art for Art’s Sake’ they often defied moral convention and pursued the limits of sensation, wilfully transgressing Victorian respectability along the way. This illustrated anthology concentrates on the major preoccupations of Decadence: Artifice, Intoxication, Spirituality, and Death. The selections include not only the finest examples of Decadent prose and poetry, but also extracts from theoretical texts, criticism and parody.
Shortlisted for best illustrated book at the 2017 British Book Design and Production Awards.
The invention of the printing press led to an explosion of cheap printed materials in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Ballads were no longer confined to the soapbox. Mass communication was now possible and the distinctive woodcut illustrations encompassed the obsessions and humour of the times. This beautifully designed book highlights some of the most striking and amusing examples from the British Library's collections and provides brief commentary on the political and social background of the images.
The Public Domain Review:
Selected Essays Vol III
The third offering in the PDR selected essays series is positively bursting with goodness, including chocolate highs, scorbutic visions, wonky badgers, sexy flora, deadly fogs, mathematical fish, coloured cubes of hyperspace, a very naughty Aristotle, and pianos comprising yelping cats.
Includes my essay on the Fourth Dimension and Hyperspace (illustration also used on the cover).
Adorned with illustrations from the likes of Ernst Haeckel, J. J. Grandville, Gustave Doré, and William Hogarth, the book is a full-colour visual feast, printed on 70lb paper.
The Public Domain Review:
Selected Essays Vol IV
Automata, astral travel, bawdy gods, balloonscapes, the combinatorial arts, invisible worlds, battered bodies, gloomy skies, the many faces of Don Quixote, and a pilfering Oscar Wilde.
Contains my essay 'The Strange Case of Mr William T. Horton', on the life and art of an overlooked illustrator and mystic.
Full colour with almost 80 illustrations, all printed on sumptuous 70lb paper.
The Cocktail Book
First published in 1900, this is the earliest book devoted purely to the art of the cocktail. For thirty years, including through prohibition, it was a staple of well-stocked bars, although originals are now extremely rare. This collection, in a beautiful new edition, allows a modern audience to rediscover the joy of classic cocktails, with early recipes for the Whisky Sour, Mint Julep, Manhattan, and many more. It is both a connoisseur's curiosity and a practical guide to mixing classic drinks.
I rediscovered this in the British Library's collections while working as Editor for British Library Publishing. I was very pleased to republish a new edition, and contribute a small glossary.
Abraxas Journal Special
Issue #2: Luminous Screen
Luminous Screen is the second Special Issue of Abraxas. It is a collection of essays commissioned by guest editor Jack Sargeant that seek to explore the impact of esotericism on cinema. Printed using state-of-the-art offset lithography to extremely high standard, subjects for Luminous Screen range from the early German expressionist cinema of F.W. Murnau, to the contemporary arthouse films of Lars von Trier. In each essay, esoteric themes within these works are identified and analysed.
Features 'Experiments in Film and Magic: The Phantasmagoria of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin', by Jon Crabb