- Rare book auction catalogue originally published by Messrs. Pent & Serenade, Arkham, Mass., 1877.
- Facsimile publication to be released by PS Publishing in 2013 or 2014.
What follows is a guest post that originally appeared on Joe Pulver’s blog, This Yellow Madness:
“In a rear vestry room beside the apse Blake found a rotting desk and ceiling-high shelves of mildewed, disintegrating books. Here for the first time he received a positive shock of objective horror, for the titles of those books told him much. They were the black, forbidden things which most sane people have never even heard of, or have heard of only in furtive, timorous whispers; the banned and dreaded repositories of equivocal secrets and immemorial formulae which have trickled down the stream of time from the days of man’s youth, and the dim, fabulous days before man was.”
–H P Lovecraft, “The Haunter of the Dark”
The notorious library of the Church of Starry Wisdom was left to rot when the cult abandoned Providence for parts unknown. Robert Blake discovered what was left of the library in his 1938 explorations – over fifty years after the cult had abandoned the Church.The library still contained such enormous rarities as the Necronomicon, the Liber Ivonis, and the Pnakotic Manuscripts. Imagine the library in its heyday, when the Church was still active.
What if, on the eve of disbanding, the Church of Starry Wisdom organized a rare book auction of the various tomes in their collection? What if the accompanying auction catalogue was privately published and privately circulated, disappearing for over a century until its recent rediscovery in the archives of Miskatonic University? What if we could read the 1877 original today?
My new (and first) anthology for PS Publishing is just that: a “facsimile” publication of the 19th century auction catalogue, entitled “The Starry Wisdom Library: being a catalogue of the unsurpassed occult library held by the recently disbanded Church of Starry Wisdom, offered for sale at private auction Midsummer’s Eve, 1877 by Messrs Pent & Serenade of Arkham, Mass.” The anthology will be presented and designed exactly like a 19th century book auction catalogue, with entries describing the major books in the Church’s collection, accompanied by essays from “noted scholars” on the history of each dread tome. The “noted scholars” will be contemporary horror and speculative fiction authors. Their contributions will be similar in length and content to Lovecraft’s own “History of the Necronomicon”, a slightly edited version of which will also appear in the catalogue.
The Starry Wisdom Library anthology was inspired by my personal love of rare book catalogues garnered from years spent working in the rare book trade in North Carolina and Scotland. I am now a freelance journalist and editor and write frequently for the magazine Fine Books & Collections. This anthology was the direct result of a blog post I wrote for Fine Books last October entitled “The Grimoires of Lovecraft”.
The finished anthology will contain approximately 30 essays on the history of Mythos books. [Check out the Contributors page].
The Starry Wisdom Library will also be illustrated with six original woodcuts by the incomparable Liv Rainey-Smith.
No publication date has been set yet by PS, however the book is likely to be published in fall of 2013 or spring of 2014. Interested readers can check out the website for the anthology for updates.
About the editor:
Nate Pedersen formerly worked for rare book dealers in North Carolina and Scotland. He now lives in Oregon where he works as a librarian in addition to freelancing as a journalist and editor. He is a Contributing Writer for the magazine Fine Books & Collections.