San Francisco: The Arion Press, 2010. Raymond Pettibon. The type is Pabst Old Style, designed by Frederic W. Goudy in 1902-03, based on lettering he had done for advertisements for the Pabst Brewing Company in Milwaukee and named for its president, Capt. Frederick Pabst. The Monotype version was released in 1912. Since we lack the italic matrices, Bookman Old Style italic has been substituted. The type was composed and cast at Mackenzie & Harris and printed by letterpress. The text paper is German mouldmade Schiller. The illustrations are printed on a red sheet from the French Paper Company by duo-tone offset lithography in two shades of black. The format of the book is quarto, 11-7/8 by 8-3/4 inches, 188 pages for the text plus 44 unnumbered pages for the illustrations, a total of 232 pages. The binding is Smyth-sewn, in a full black cloth cover with an explosive design, die-cut from red paper, attached to the front and back covers, with a red titling label on the spine, and with red endpapers. The edition is limited to 400 numbered copies for sale. New. Item #CNAP090
Jim Thompson (1906-1977) may be called "The King of the Pulps", yet he was an original writer of the first rank. His writing is rank: odoriferous and raw and violent.
"South of Heaven" (1967) is not among Thompson's best known works, but his long-time editor Arnold Hano declares it the last important book that Thompson wrote, important for being quite different from and more autobiographical than his earlier works. " 'South of Heaven' is based on the laying of a pipeline from an oil source in West Texas to Port Arthur on the Gulf in 1927," Hano writes in his introduction to the Arion edition, "so real in its depiction of the horrific working conditions, it takes its place among the finest proletarian novels of this country. What Upton Sinclair did to the meat-packing workers, Thompson does to oil pipeline workers. It has cold-blooded murder and cold-blooded deaths that are not criminal, at least not by the usual standards of jurisprudence. Men die on the pipeline. That is their fate, in a world indifferent to that fate."
Artist Raymond Pettibon illustrates this edition with forty-four drawings, printed on red sheets interleaved in the text. Pettibon is one of the most unclassifiable contemporary American artists, whose lurid images have intrigued art collectors and curators ever since he burst onto the scene in the late eighties. Nearly all of Pettibon's artworks contain texts or captions. Some are quotations but most are his own highly creative writings. For South of Heaven he has used excerpts cunningly chosen and elided from the book, combined with his own improvisations on themes in the novel.
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