Our crowdfunding campaign with The Salvage Press to bring “The Works of Master Poldy” into the world by Bloomsday 2013 is wrapping up its first week. It’s great to see our first contributions coming in! This new book will be a great way to celebrate James Joyce’s Ulysses and Molly Bloom’s publishing vision.
We still have a long way to go and we really need your help. Pitch in today with a donation and spread the word to your friends and family.
In the meantime, here’s what Jamie and I have been working on. — Steve Cole
A LAUNCH, WE START, AND SOME DUMMIES
This is our very first update on our very first crowdfunding campaign for the very first book we have ever attempted together. Jamie and I are itching to go on “The Works of Master Poldy” and eager to share with you our love for everything about designing and making a great & beautiful handmade book like this one.
But first off we wanted to thank the 10 funders who contributed to the project in the first five days since our launch on March 22. You don’t know how encouraging it is to see such great support so early on. Thanks, thanks, thanks again!
Back to the updating. We’re planning to post updates here every few days to keep you current on our progress and share with you the whole creative process. There are a LOT of steps in printing a book by hand and these updates will keep you by our side all the way. And those Perks – stickers, postcards, posters – now they are going to be fun!
Jamie has started planning out the construction of the book and selecting some of the materials. The first step when designing a letterpress book is to map out all the content and to get an idea of page count. He considers himself quite traditional in his approach to this, making dozens of dummy books at a reduced size before finally choosing a direction. The photo here shows several of these dummies with pagination, possible ink choices, and the number of impressions planned for each sheet.
We’re going with a book that is in two sections of 20 pages. The Zerkell mould made paper we’ll be using is heavy and crisp enough to take a beautiful impression from the type but also malleable enough that Tom the binder from Duffy Bookbinders in Dublin will have no difficulty sewing the sections together before enclosing the book in a hard case.
Jamie has made a few trips to Tom’s already to talk about the binding, including the deluxe binding … but more on that later. With the construction of the book and some of the material choices made we are moving on next to the layout, design and typeface selection.
COLLECTING BLOOMISMS: HOW WE DID IT
There’s a very simple reason why no one has ever published a collection of Leopold Bloom’s quirky quips – they are hard to find!
In writing Ulysses, James Joyce did Molly Bloom the eternal favor of wrapping her thoughts and feelings in the most conveniently consumable way possible: packed into a single chapter with absolutely no filler. And so Molly’s words are famous, staged the world around, while her husband stands a relative mute behind.
Leopold Bloom’s words and thoughts are spread across 14 (maybe 13?) of the book’s 18 chapters as he wanders through a very long Dublin day. I reread and sifted slowly through hundreds of pages to glean “The Works of Master Poldy.”
Adding to that challenge is the fact that Joyce chose not to present Bloom as much of a talkers, even though at least one spectator complained that Bloom would talk your ear off about nearly anything – a piece of straw, for example. So looking for Bloomisms was not as easy as scanning the page for the dashes Joyce loved to signal a character speaking.
To find most of Bloom’s words you have to delve into what runs through his mind, not what flows out of his mouth. While in Ulysses we only have one day with Bloom to catch his phrases and turns of thought, luckily Joyce rendered that day in encyclopedic detail and gems are scattered throughout the pages. Sparsely scattered. You have to pay attention to find them.
And some of Bloom’s mind is expressed by others. I found great Bloomisms on the bizarro stage of the Nighttown play-within-a-novel and the cold scholastic inquisition chronicling his return home and to bed. When a phrase or passage revealed something of Bloom’s thinking in these chapters, I grabbed it and threw it in the bag along with his own words.
This type of all-inclusive plucking produced a multi-hued harvest. Once I dumped the contents of that bag into a computer text file, it was clear that I didn’t have a standard Oxford compendium of Phrases Ready For Granite or (gag!) fodder for management seminars. What I did have is a pastiche of one human living in a modern time, a caring and wide-awake human being, a man in full.