New Castle: Oak Knoll Press, 2010,
First Edition. octavo, black cloth in dust jacket. viii, 138 pp. Oak Knoll Press, New. Item #21421
This book is primarily a bibliographical study of all the known works printed and published by John Rodker (1894-1955) at the Ovid Press, London, 1919-1922, and the associated projects connected to his second imprint, the Casanova Society. The Ovid Press's output was not prolific - 17 known items were produced - but the nature of the works and the context in which they were created reveals a great deal about both Rodker and several central figures of modernist literature and art, including T.S. Eliot, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound, and Edward Wadsworth. The book's introduction includes a biographical account of Rodker's life, focusing especially on his early life and his printing activities at the Ovid Press, which he operated with some participation from his then wife, the British novelist Mary Butts (1890-1937). Relying heavily on correspondence and other archival sources, such as Rodker's personal and professional papers and his diary, the introduction documents the production of many of the Ovid Press titles and Rodker's interaction with his authors. The descriptive bibliography, which follows the introductory matter, includes full collations, detailed, copy-specific notes on each item, institutional locations for Ovid Press publications, and attempts to reconcile the discrepancies between Rodker's colophon statements and the books he actually printed-based on careful analysis of extant copies of Ovid Press titles. The book accounts for a number of unrecorded bibliographical details in these works and clarifies Rodker's role in the production of Ezra Pound's "Bel Esprit" and the errata sheets for Joyce's Ulysses (Egoist Press/John Rodker, 1922).