I received an early copy of the Spring 2011 Catalogue from Dalkey Archive because after 18 years they are publishing GOING TO PATCHOGUE finally in paperback. Of course I am very pleased and happy that this is happening but what is far more important is the context in which GOING TO PATCHOGUE is to appear.
The perfect modern publishing house was Shakespeare & Co since they published only one book, James Joyce’s Ulysses. They had to do no other. For all of my life there have only really been three publishers: New Directions, the original Grove Press and Alfred A. Knopf. Of course there are many other honorable houses, many others, but in particular with the first two, can there be any question, really.
Today one can say: New Directions and Dalkey Archive and some of the back list of Grove Press but of course good real books get published but they are published almost by accident or forgetfulness on the part of editors. There are in truth some others but their lists are still too short and time will tell…
But the context: in the coming season Dalkey Archive will publish or reprint or republish book by: (and here I just list the author names): Ishmael Reed, Jean Rolin, Edouard Leve, Patrick Ourednik, Juan Goytisolo, Abdelwahab Meddeb, Julian Rios, Mina Loy, Luisa Valenzuela, Asaf Schurr, Gabriela Avigur-Rotem, Joao Ubaldo Ribeiro, Eric Chevillard, Viktor Shklovsky, Tom Whalen, Laura Pavel, Jaques Jouet, Gerard Gavarry, Herve Le Tellier, Kazushi Hosaka, Claude Ollier, Raymond Roussel, Nicholas Delbanco, Goncalo M. Tavares, Arno Schmidt, David Markson, Djuana Barnes, Christine Brooke-Rose, Jacques Roubaud.
What I am getting at: GOING TO PATCHOGUE is not appearing by accident, as a quirk, as a mistake, as a reward for a so-called literary editor for having brought in millions of dollars by discovering some bit of garbage that made millions of dollars by accident so now he or she can go and do a “literary” book.
Of course like many readers I grew up reading for instance Juan Goytisolo, Raymond Roussel, Viktor Shklovsky Claude Ollier but very few of their books were translated (Goytisolo is the exception though most of his books quickly went out of print) but GOING TO PATCHOGUE will appear midst their new books and their other books that have already been published by Dalkey Archive and they will be joined by new books by these authors in the future.
GOING TO PATCHOGUE is appearing with new books by Ishmael Reed and Tom Whalen and Arno Schmidt and Julian Rios and Luisa Valenzuela and Christine Brooke-Rose and Djuana Barnes… down here on East First Street in Manhattan that is pretty fine company for it.
Seeing Nicholas Delbanco’s name was a pleasant surprise as I had met him for the first and only time when we were in Knoxville now a a few years ago to honor George Garrett who would have easily understood both the comic tone of this post and the wonderful critique of the publishing world this catalogue represents.
I am sure the publisher of Dalkey Archive is waiting for me to remind him that I do have a book NOTHING DOING that he can ask to read but that is another day and in other days I would hope to see books by Ernst Junger, Julian Green, Robert Pinget, Georgi Ivanov but if I had to suggest one book it would be BAKUNIN An Invention by Horst Bienek, a perfect book novel, a whatnot, as it takes up the questions how to act, how to be, how to write, how to live… and Bienek does it in 119 pages…