Wednesday 27 February 2013


Penguin seems to be going Dante crazy at the moment. Above is a new cover design for a new Penguin Classics UK edition of Inferno. They don't seem to have matching versions for Purgatorio and Paradiso, but then, as with Proust, most people don't make it past volume one, so perhaps they know their market. To be fair, Inferno is the most entertaining of the three: Dante is at his best consigning everyone who ever pissed him off to the flames, and less fun when he's just going on about Beatrice.

The above edition joins the recent hardback version, with a Coralie Bickford-Smith jacket:

Penguin Classics US, meanwhile, have just released a Graphic Classics edition of the full Divine Comedy, with cover artwork by Eric Drooker. I only know Drooker's work from his excellent wordless graphic novel, Flood. His other work includes a visual adaption of Ginsberg's Howl!, but as I pretty much loathe Ginsberg and his poetry, I haven't investigated that one.

Click to see it in all its glory
To see some of Flood, visit Drooker's site here.

Of course, none of these have quite the same effect as this edition of Inferno from Del Rey. I can't think of anyone who will buy this book because of its cover or videogame association who won't be bitterly disappointed, and anyone who wants the book for its literary value is not going to go with this edition. It's a perfect example of a misconceived book.

I don't remember scenes like this from the book:

Sunday 10 February 2013

(Typed laboriously while trying to wrangle an 11-day-old baby, so please excuse any typos...)

Last week I was interviewed on the IEEE Techwise Conversations podcast, talking about Whiskey Priest Books and the practicalities how to be a not-very-rich publisher of lost classics. Another chap on the program has published nearly 1,000,000 books, and makes rather more money--but at what cost?!!

Whisky Priest Books discussed:

So if you'd like to enjoy my honeyed tones, listen here or there.