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New and Forthcoming

Gustave Flaubert’s last work, the comic novel Bouvard & Pécuchet, a masterpiece of satire and humor, May 2016.

The Lulu Plays by Frank Wedekind with prints by William Kentridge, September 2015. Read more and view images.

Lulu Recumbent, William Kentridge

Bibliography of The Arion Press: The First One Hundred Books, with color illustrations and an accompanying optional set of leaves from 100 actual books


Hart Crane, The Bridge, with illustrations by sculptor Joel Shapiro.


Just released:

Grabhorn Press 1920-1965 and Beyond, an illustrated catalogue for an exhibition at the Grolier Club, May 13 through August 1, 2015, with introduction and commentaries by Andrew Hoyem and bibliographical entries by associate curator Dr. Simran Thadani.

Giuseppe di Lampedusa

Available January 2015: The Leopard, the revered Sicilian novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, with a foreword and appendix by Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi (the novelist’s adopted son and literary executor), and with 32 photographs in color by Giovan Battista Poletto, taken on the set of the 1963 motion picture directed by Luchino Visconti.

Julian Lethbridge printJust published in December 2014: What the End is For, poetry by Jorie Graham, with prints by Julian Lethbridge, and with an introduction by Helen Vendler. The poetry is printed by letterpress, with sixteen color prints by painter Julian Lethbridge, creating a large and impressive volume. Jorie Graham is in the front rank of American poets and the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, and a MacArthur Fellowship. The book is also available with a suite of four larger prints by Lethbridge.

Leaves of GrassLeaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman, hand-set, the text of the 1855 first edition, introduced by Helen Vendler (edition of 275, $1,250). This is the one hundredth publication of Arion Press, and is printed on dampened handmade paper. The binding boards are wooden, with oak veneer, and the spine is green goatskin. This edition uses the famed 1855 first edition of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. It contains just a dozen poems, the first, later titled “Song of Myself”, so long it takes up more than half the pages devoted to poetry, and Whitman’s prose preface, so poetical he reused many phrases in later poems.

Print by Jonathan HammerAnimal Farm, by George Orwell with a preface by Peter Stansky and 24 prints by Jonathan Hammer ($600); plus a portfolio of 24 Jonathan Hammer hand-colored relief prints, edition of 30 ($5,400 with book). In this influential book, the farm animals rebel against their subjugation and drive out the farmer and his wife. The pigs take charge, and one of them, named Napoleon, becomes dictator. Publication date: December 2013.

Fisherman by Kara WalkerPorgy & Bess, the libretto by Du Bose Heyward and Ira Gershwin, with 16 lithographs by Kara Walker, plus a portfolio of 4 separate lithographs. Visit our catalogue page for more on this just released book.

Harry meets HomerThe Day of the Locust by Nathanael West with an introduction by David Thomson and 20 photographs by Lucy Gray. West's novel is now considered a pivotal work in literary history. It took years for the book to be recognized as a modern American classic and for critics to agree that The Day of the Locust is the best novel ever written about Hollywood. As David Thomson notes in his introduction, “This is the classic American dream slipping over into nightmare; it is the locusts eclipsing the sunlight”.

'Aphrodite' watercolor by Wendy ArtinStone from Delphi, poems with classical references by Seamus Heaney, selected and with an introduction by Helen Vendler, with sixteen watercolor drawings by Wendy Artin. The classical past is fundamental to the work of this great contemporary poet, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, who, like James Joyce before him, illuminates his times and his own psyche through the lens of antiquity. Artin’s watercolor drawings, done especially for this book, were made from Greek and Roman statues whose subjects appear in Heaney’s writings in this volume

Illustration by Stan WashburnThe Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins, is considered the first detective novel (first published in 1868), in a deluxe edition with illustrations by Stan Washburn. A masterpiece of detective fiction by the inventor of the genre, it is, in the words of Dorothy Sayers, “probably the very finest detective story ever written”. Stan Washburn has made thirty-four scratchboard drawings as illustrations for this book.

Photograph by Michael Kenna for Thomas Jefferson's Paris Walks Arion Press's ninety-fourth publication is an original illustrated edition, Thomas Jefferson's Paris Walks. The renowned photographer Michael Kenna created forty-six images (view prints for sale) to accompany the story of Jefferson’s five years in Paris. Written as a guidebook, the essay by Diana Ketcham leads the reader along Jefferson’s actual routes.

Recently released:

Julie Mehretu printIn November 2011, Arion Press released Poetry of Sappho. Painter Julie Mehretu has created prints for her first artist book, one of Arion’s most beautiful and ambitious publications. Twenty prints by Mehretu alternate with pages of poetry in Greek and in English. Four additional prints are presented in portfolio. The new English translations were commissioned for this edition from poet John Daley and classicist Page duBois.

Tom Holland art for A Delicate BalanceA Delicate Balance is the newest work in the Arion Press drama series, honoring one of America’s great contemporary playwrights, Edward Albee. The edition features four illustrations by Tom Holland, an acclaimed artist and friend of the playwright.

Shirley Jackson’s 1958 comic novel, The Sundial, with 15 color illustrations by Miles Hyman. One of the prominent young writers of the 1950s, who died when she was only 48, Jackson is famous for her controversial New Yorker story, “The Lottery.”

Miles Hyman illustrationThe Sundial, written ten years later, is the work New Yorker critic Joseph Mitchell called her best. Here Jackson’s subject is the end of the world, as it is imagined and meticulously prepared for by a privileged American family. As Diane Johnson writes in her introduction to the Arion edition, “Its timeless quality has of course ensured that the pleasures of this small delicious novel have endured. Like Animal Farm, it has something permanently important to say about human society. It is an added felicity that the ambiance in the Halloran mansion is brilliantly captured by Miles Hyman, who, as it happens, is the author’s grandson.” Read more.

Raymond Pettibon image for South of HeavenArion Press turns to pulp fiction with the novel South of Heaven by Jim Thompson, known as “The King of the Pulps”, but also an original writer of the first rank. Artist Raymond Pettibon illustrates this edition with forty-four drawings, printed on red sheets interleaved in the text. Pettibon is one of the hottest contemporary American artists, whose lurid images have intrigued art collectors and curators ever since he emerged from the eighties punk scene. 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.

Wiley print for Don QuixoteWith the publication in October 2010 of Book II of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, following Book I in November 2009, the two-volume set is now complete and stands as one of the major accomplishments of the Press, alongside Moby-Dick and Ulysses. This is the acclaimed new translation by Edith Grossman, with 97 illustrations by William T. Wiley.

The edition is limited to 400 numbered copies for sale, signed by the artist. Price: $2,000 per volume, for a total of $4,000 for the two-volume set.

Our Man in Havana illustration by William HamiltonGraham Greene’s great comic espio- nage novel, Our Man in Havana, presents the story of Wormold, the hapless vacuum cleaner salesman recruited by British Intelligence. The Arion Press edition is copiously illustrated with twenty-eight drawings by William Hamilton to complement the zany inventions, touching characters, and air of whimsy that has endeared the novel to generations of readers. Christopher Buckley provides a new introduction to this edition, citing the “high-comic mayhem” as well as “the virtuosity of the language, the hauntingly perfect phrasing.”

Also published in November 2009, I Love My Love, a ballad by Scottish-born San Francisco poet Helen Adam, based on a traditional Celtic interpretation of the Medusa theme. The book will feature sixteen prints by artist Kiki Smith, derived from her own hair. This is an optional publication, outside of the regular subscription series.

Sample page from I Love My Love

The book is a 14” square accordion-fold format, of eighteen panels, with Japanese cloth over boards. The edition is limited to 75 numbered copies for sale, signed by the artist. Price: $5,000. Subscribers are entitled to a 20% discount. Read more.

Recent Publications:

Mrs. Bridge coverMrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell is a quiet masterpiece of mid-twentieth-century fiction, and this edition celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. A novel of the American heart-land, it takes up familiar themes, set in a comfortable middle-class Midwestern family in the decades before World War II. At the same time, it is experimental in form, a work that unobtrusively advances the art of the novel. The book includes 68 photographs, half duo-tone and half color, by Laurie Simmons, a leading American artist who uses photography to explore the role of women in the domestic sphere.

Nachman StoriesThe Nachman Stories by Leonard Michaels brings together for the first time in a single volume the stories featuring the Los Angeles mathematician Raphael Nachman as their hero. The edition is introduced with critical essays by Robert Pinsky and Diana Ketcham and a biographical essay by Robert Hass and Morton Paley, Michaels's colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley. The book contains nine photographic portraits of the author, taken over the course of his career as a writer, between 1962 and 1995. Read more.

Frank Lobdell etchingThe Structure of Rime brings together for the first time all of the prose-poems in this acclaimed series by San Francisco poet Robert Duncan. The book is augmented with three etchings by California artist Frank Lobdell, who knew the author, as well as two photographic portraits of Duncan. The edition includes two black-and-white Lobdell etchings on the front and back cover of the book and a signed and numbered Lobdell etching accompanying the book that is suitable for framing. Read more.

Tono-Bungay coverTono-Bungay, H. G. Wells' great 1908 novel, is a satire uncannily predictive of today's financial disorders. In his introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of 2005, Edward Mendelson writes that this book "is Wells's masterpiece. It is a profoundly unsettling novel, epic in scope and encyclopedic in content." Despite its serious nature, Tono-Bungay is highly entertaining. The title is the brand-name of a patent-medicine concocted by Edward Ponderevo, the uncle of the narrator George Ponderevo. The story is clearly based on the history and phenomenal commercial success of Coca-Cola. Like Coke, Tono-Bungay is not entirely good for you.

The Arion Press edition features fourteen psychological portraits of the main characters by Stan Washburn. It also features fanciful advertisements, one of the book's most important themes. Wells had drawn his own sketches for ads for Tono-Bungay, which were reproduced in the first edition of the book. For the Arion edition, publisher Andrew Hoyem and Roy Folger expanded on these to create twenty advertisements for Tono-Bungay and other quack medicines. Published July, 2008. Read more.

Kiki SmithSampler, a selection of poetry by Emily Dickinson that is accompanied by more than 200 images by eminent American artist Kiki Smith (photo at right, shown at the Arion Press). The Arion edition of 200 poems by the great 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson has prints by Smith on every page. A separate print features a portrait of the poet. The title refers to a sampling from Emily Dickinson’s more than 1,700 poems, as well as to Kiki Smith’s inspiration in embroidered samplers.

In preparation for her work on Dickinson, Smith studied 18th and 19th century American samplers in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. Her imagery is evocative both of American textiles and of the New England flowers that were important to Emily Dickinson in her avocation as a gardener and her art as a poet. Sampler is printed in two colors on hand-made paper specially commissioned for this project. Published December, 2007. Read more.

The Boobus and the Bunnyduck by JessThe Boobus and the Bunnyduck, a deluxe facsimile of a unique artist book by the artist known as Jess. In 1957, the poet Michael McClure's story for his young daughter was read by the artist Jess Collins, a family friend. Jess hand-lettered the story and illustrated it with 28 richly patterned crayon drawings. This full-scale facsimile has been published for the first time after fifty years as an accordion fold book, with a box, in an edition of 100.

Jess's lavish crayon illustrations would have been impossible to reproduce accurately prior to the recent development of high-resolution inkjet printers and computer color correction. Even the best color printing by offset lithography would have paled beside the original and would have been prohibitively expensive for trade publication. So it is that fifty years after its creation this wonderful, artful book can be offered to our collectors and those individuals and institutions collecting the work of Jess. Published December, 2007.

If Not, Not, by R. B. Kitaj The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot. Arion Press has published the first illustrated edition of Eliot's classic, with an essay by eminent poetry critic and Harvard professor Helen Vendler. The illustrations are from R. B. Kitaj’s painting influenced by Eliot’s poem, entitled “If Not, Not.” The original is in the National Gallery in Edinburgh. This great painting, with its literary allusions, has also inspired a tapestry that hangs at the entrance to the British Library in London. Kitaj, like Eliot, is a Midwestern-born American who has spent most of his career in London. Published September, 2007. SOLD OUT.

Journey Round My Room Cover Journey Round My Room, the late 18th century French classic by Xavier de Maistre, is accompanied with art by New York architect Ross Anderson. Written while the author was confined to his room for 42 days as punishment for dueling, the book presents the author's imaginary journey exploring the limits of his surroundings. Ross Anderson’s sixteen photographs depict small models of the room, its furnishings, and the author’s travelling coat. A small number of copies are accompanied by a unique architectural box. Published May, 2007.

Godot Cover and SlipcaseGodot is a staging in pictures of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot by William T. Wiley, with notes by the artist, an introduction by David Littlejohn, and a synopsis of the play. In honor of the hundredth birthday of the playwright, artist William T. Wiley has imagined the world of Beckett’s characters in 52 prints in black, blue, and yellow. This artist book is accompanied by a copy of the play in the bilingual edition published by Grove Press. Published December, 2006.

Mays battingA Day in the Bleachers by Arnold Hano, is an account of the first game of the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians. Hano recalls the excitement of witnessing the famed catch by Willie Mays, regarded as one of the finest players ever to have played the game. With illustrations by New Yorker artist Mark Ulriksen. Published September, 2006.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Memoirs of Benjamin FranklinThis Arion edition has been published in celebration of the three-hundredth anniversary of Franklin's birth. It is the first use of an historic American typeface, Binny & Ronaldson's Roman No. 1 (c. 1800), as recreated in digital form by Arion Press and named Aitken for Robert Aitken, the famous printer during the Revolution, and his daughter Jane Aitken, printer of the first American translation of the Bible (1808). Published June, 2006.

Arion Press designs Ansel Adams classic
Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail

Ansel Adams photoIn a special arrangement with Little, Brown and Company, Arion Press has produced a new deluxe edition of a landmark book in photography, the 1938 limited edition of Ansel Adams’ Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. Newly designed by Andrew Hoyem, hand set and printed by letterpress, this large-scale folio edition, in a slipcase, is limited to 500 copies and priced at $1,200. Published fall 2006, a very limited number of copies are available through Arion Press. A trade edition is also available at $50.

Prints and Portfolios
Many recent books are available with separate editions of prints and portfolios.

Folio Bible
Folio BibleThe Arion Press folio Bible has been printed and bound. Orders are being accepted for the edition, limited to 400 copies for sale, at prices ranging from $7,250 to $11,000, depending on the choice of binding style and whether the red initial letters at the beginning of each book of the Bible are illuminated.

This is the largest printing and publishing project ever undertaken by Arion Press. The Bible was designed by publisher Andrew Hoyem and set in type, printed, illuminated, and bound entirely in-house by a team of experienced craftspeople at the Press's historic facility in San Francisco.

The translation is the New Revised Standard Version, which is sponsored by the National Council of Churches, and presents current biblical scholarship in language that honors the King James Version yet is clearly understandable by contemporary readers. The folio format is intended for liturgical use in church services as well as for the collections of individuals and libraries. In the tradition of grand printed Bibles, it is a monument to the scriptures and to fine typography and bookmaking. Read more.

Full List of Books in Print.

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In the Media

More than Words

"Andrew Hoyem believes that when books are concerned, style can enhance substance – that riveting tales and profound truths benefit from refined presentations. At Arion Press, his San Francisco publishing house, he employs the centuries old letterpress method of printing because it imparts a three-dimensional quality to the ink, and the cotton paper that he prefers feels more like a fine shirt than the product of wood pulp. The appeal of a freshly printed Arion Press book extends to its aroma, which mingles the scents of ink, goatskin, and rag paper."
– Jack Kelly, Robb Report, July 2006

Catching Up
"A Day in the Bleachers is Arnold Hano's account of the first game of the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians. Deep in the Polo Grounds' cavernous center field that day, the Giants' Willie Mays made a miraculous catch followed by an even more impressive throw to second. An instant legend, it's been known since as 'The Catch.' Now, in time for the 2006 World Series the book has been lovingly republished by Arion Press in a hand-hewn, signed limited edition of 400."
– Heidi Benson, "Catching Up: Some Diamonds Really Are Forever", San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 17, 2006