Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Hound of Heaven

Above is a photo of the cover of one of the most famous poems penned by Francis Thompson (pictured edition published by Morehouse-Barlow Co. in 1980 and illustrated by Jean Young). Thompson was born in 1859 in Lancashire, England and led a troubled life of ill-health, poverty and an addiction to opium; he died at age 48 from Tuberculosis (Wikipedia). He moved to London in 1885 and sent a manuscript to Wilfred Meynell who edited the Catholic periodical “Merry England.” Meynell and his wife Alice evidently recognized Thompson’s talent and subsequently published “Poems” which included “The Hound of Heaven.” (

Religious in overtone, Thompson’s poetry received some criticism for verbosity and lack of originality in thought. ( However, for those interested in the derivation of sayings and titles, the U.S. Supreme Court allegedly took its “with all deliberate speed” (Brown v. Board of Education II, remedy) from a stanza in this poem: “Nigh and nigh draws the chase, With unperturbed pace, Deliberate speed, majestic instancy…” (Wikipedia) And a phrase from another poem “The Kingdom of God,” allegedly provided the title for Han Suyin’s novel and subsequent movie “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.” (Wikipedia) While neither rare nor particularly expensive, publications such as the above pamphlet often provide interesting tidbits with which to bore your friends. I leave you with a few more words from Thompson:

“Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.”

(last three lines from “The Hound of Heaven,” by Francis Thompson)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Western Wilds by J. H. Beadle

Pictured (photo) is the gilt-stamped elaborately decorated pictorial cover of the 624 page edition of “Western Wilds and the Men Who Redeem Them,” by J. H. Beadle a western correspondent. Published in 1878 (copyright 1877) by Jones Brothers & Company, the book recounts “seven years of travel and adventure in the far west; wild life in Arizona; perils of the plains; life in the canon and death on the desert; thrilling scenes and romantic incidents in the lives of western pioneers; adventures among the red and white savages of the west; a full account of the mountain meadow massacre; the Custer defeat; life and death of Brigham Young, etc.”

Illustrated throughout with wood engravings, the undoubted highlight of the book is a double page folding lithographed map (photo, below) titled “Aboriginal America.” It shows the location of major Indian tribes from east to west coast. Beadle was born in 1840 and died in 1897. He wrote for one and maybe more eastern publications and authored several books in addition to Western Wilds. Not much information is available online about the author; however, he spawned controversy over his articles and books that attacked Brigham Young and Mormonism in Utah. The author’s Preface addresses this criticism but states that the object of the book was “truth.”

Western Wilds includes a fascinating section on Custer, with detailed information about Custer’s background, and the massacre at Little Big Horn. While some of the author’s facts may still be in dispute, Beadle’s writing style is fluid and extremely entertaining. The last sentence in Beadle’s Preface reads: “As to the interest in the narrative—kind reader, excuse me; I touch your hand, and without further apology introduce you to My Book.” Who could resist?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Vladimir Kush's Metaphorical Realism

It’s difficult to find information about Vladimir Kush except on his website: According to Wikepedia, Kush opened his first gallery in Lahaina, Maui in 2001, and his type of art is called metaphorical realism. The book featured here, “Metaphorical Journey”, can be viewed on Kush’s website and is priced new at $100. Used copies sell online at that amount or more. We acquired a copy of “Metaphorical Journey,” signed by the artist in bright red ink on the first blank page. It is the only available signed copy we could find (unless the artist sells signed books through his website). According to Wikepedia, “Metaphorical Journey,” is 171 pages of images and writings pertaining to the artist’s work from 1997-2002. Kush was born in Russia in 1965 near Moscow and the forest-park Sokolniki. His biography set out on his website states that his career as an artist began when he was a child of 3 or 4. In the evenings, Kush would sit on his father’s lap and finish drawings and dream of wide-open spaces. His father, a mathematician, remained a great influence on his work. He began art school at age 7, attending regular school in the mornings and art classes in the afternoons until 9 p.m. At 17, he took and passed the examination to study at the Moscow Art Institute, but at 18 he entered the Russian mandatory two-year stint of military service where he eventually painted murals and big canvases depicting fantastic landscapes with military elements. His website indicates that in 1987 he began selling his paintings and exhibiting with the Union of Artists. He had a successful show in Germany in 1990 with two other Russian Artists, then flew to Los Angeles where he had sent 20 of his recent works for a showing. He eventually came to Maui and continues to sell his paintings in a gallery on that Hawaiian island. Large, gorgeous, and fantastical—the artwork in this book is impossible to adequately describe, and well worth a visit to his website to view.