Haefele’s Heretics got shaken up some for the run up to his new book Lovecraft: The Great Tales. Morgan “The Morgman” Holmes was busy with something else. Brian Leno’s computer died out from under him and he didn’t want to proof off a tablet screen. Haefele had two or three of his local guys he wanted to drag in on it.
Among other permutations of the lineup, we pulled the noted book and pulp collector Kevin Cook into the team. He told me, “After finishing the proofreading of John’s book I immediately got out ‘The Colour out of Space’ for a rereading. The book set me in the perfect mood for it — also for Machen’s great The Three Imposters. I want to get to Chambers again as well. That from someone who reads almost zero supernatural horror any more.”
Kevin’s gone after more Machen in particular, and mentioned to me that he intended to reread the two autobiographical volumes, Far Off Things and Things Near and Far.
I told him, don’t forget the third volume, The London Adventure. He didn’t know about The London Adventure.
Turns out Kevin was reading out of the deluxe multi-volume Caerleon Edition of Machen’s collected works (of course he was). That set came out in 1923. The London Adventure appeared in 1924.
I pulled my Knopf yellowback of Adventure out from my horde of thirteen yellowback Knopfs to check the date as we were figuring it out. Noticed that it bears the very cool bookplate of one Peter J. Tamony — the demonic Buddha image comes from the famous illustrator Wallace Smith. I’m pretty sure I have another book somewhere in my collection — maybe even a couple more — that have the Tamony bookplate pasted in. As I’ve said before, I kind of like bookplates and other such things — stamps, bookstore stickers — in old books.
Kevin currently is rereading the finished Haefele book, savoring it, taking side trails as they appeal to him. It pulls him deeper and deeper into Machen, and he says, “I have the idea of extending my Machen shelf by a few titles. I ordered a copy of the Machen bibliography. Being that I am a hardcover first edition book collector, I want to know points for identifying firsts, and then trying to locate copies in dust jacket — with signatures a bonus. I would especially want to read The London Adventure when I complete the reread of the Caerleon set with the first two autobiographical volumes. This time I can read all three in order.”
Rest assured that Kevin won’t be happy with any beaten-up yellowback Knopfs. (I will say that my copy of The London Adventure appears to be the first Knopf printing.)
And on an impulse, I decided to punch the name Peter J. Tamony into the search engines. Found a video of a San Franciscan from 1971 who must be the same guy. Plus looking again just now I see links to several articles, including a piece on the 1966 Trips Festival.
Nice. From the library of one San Franciscan to another — from one Machen fan on to the next.