John Crowley’s beloved novel Little, Big is without doubt among the greatest works of the imagination created during the last century. In publishing a deluxe, 25th Anniversary Edition of this masterpiece, our goal is twofold: First, we want to fulfill the author’s dream of how the book should be presented, by creating an edition that in every respect, from beauty of design to accuracy of text to excellence of manufacture, will reflect all the artistry, insight, imagination, and care that John Crowley poured into every sentence of Little, Big. And second, we want to create an edition that fans of the book will cherish, an edition that is a joy to behold and to read, an edition made to last several lifetimes.
The interior design of the first edition of Little, Big, published by Bantam Books in 1981 (and duplicated in the current HarperCollins edition), is certainly quite striking. Yet its sensibility is late Victorian, whereas Crowley’s design conception for the book has always been art nouveau. Incunabula has brought together the production team of editor Ron Drummond and book designer John D. Berry to create, in close consultation with John Crowley, that ideal edition of Little, Big.
It’s an ideal that very much includes art. The 25th Anniversary Edition will feature superb reproductions of close to one hundred details from the drawings, etchings, engravings, and prints of Peter Milton, an artist whom John Crowley feels is ideally suited to Little, Big. With loving care, we will interweave Crowley’s words with Milton’s images to create a tapestry full of subtle and surprising resonances, a uniquely revealing concatenation of the work of two modern masters.
The finishing touch will come with an in-depth critical introduction to Little, Big written especially for the edition by one of the novel’s greatest admirers, Harold Bloom, the Yale humanities professor and bestselling author of The Western Canon and Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human.
Of course, such an embarassment of riches deserves nothing less than the finest book manufacturing that money can buy. We are committed to providing just that, and will be announcing our choice of printer soon.
As one would expect, the cost of creating such an ambitious edition is enormous. The only way we can do it is in partnership with the people who love the book the most. Thus, the publication of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Little, Big will be paid for by the Readers, participating on a subscription basis. The idea for this was proposed by John Crowley himself.
This is actually a very traditional approach. In 1795, the 24-year-old Beethoven convinced hundreds of aristocratic fans of his piano playing to subscribe in advance to the publication of his official compositional debut: the Three Piano Trios, Opus 1. They bought copies up front, which monies were then used to pay for the engraving and printing of the trios.
In a similar fashion, we’re asking people to pay up front for their copies of Little, Big. All the moneys collected will go into a protected bank account, where it won’t be touched until we reach our financial goal or until March 2007, whichever comes first. When we reach our financial goal, the funds will be released and sometime between the Winter of 2006-2007 and Fall 2010 we will publish an incredibly beautiful edition of Crowley’s masterwork. If we don’t make our financial goal, everyone gets their money back, guaranteed.
It is with considerable delight that I can now announce, on 22nd September 2006, twenty-five years to the day after its first official publication, that we have reached our minimum financial goal and can now guarantee publication of the 25th Anniversary edition of Little, Big.
The 25th Anniversary Edition is actually three editions, one for every collector’s budget. All three editions will exemplify the highest standards of book production, with superfine acid-free papers, cloths, and sewn bindings.
Unsigned, unnumbered edition. Acid-free paper, full cloth over boards, sewn bindings, dustjacket. Discounts, prepaid only: Ten percent on two copies; twenty percent on three copies; thirty percent on four copies; forty percent on five or more copies.
Numbered, signed by the author and artist. Both the Numbered and Lettered Editions will include a never-before-published piece by John Crowley related to Little, Big that will not be included in the Trade Edition. The first 25 numbers are reserved by the publisher. After that, numbers are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Acid-free paper, full cloth, marker ribbon, sewn bindings, dustjacket, cloth-covered slipcase.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org about availability
Lettered, signed by the author, artist, book designer, and publisher. Both the Numbered and Lettered Editions will include a never-before-published piece by John Crowley related to Little, Big that will not be included in the Trade Edition.
Furthermore, each buyer of the Lettered Edition will be asked to specify their favorite 350-word passage from Little, Big. John Crowley will then inscribe the book personally to the buyer, and copy out, in his incredibly fine italic hand, on two facing pages in the book, the selected 350-word passage from the novel. Every one of the twenty-six copies will thus be unique.
The first six letters are reserved by the publisher. The remaining twenty letters were offered for subscription on a first-come, first-served basis.
Acid-free paper, full cloth, marker ribbon, sewn bindings, dustjacket, cloth-covered slipcase.
We accept checks, money orders, and PayPal for pre-purchase of books. On single copy purchases, we offer free insured shipping anywhere in the U.S.; see our Shipping Policy statement for complete details. Don’t forget, letters and numbers are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis!
Checks need to be made out to Incunabula and mailed to:
P.O. Box 31626
Seattle WA 98103-1626
Please provide full contact information on a separate sheet of paper. Washington State residents please add 9.5% sales tax. Bear in mind that books will not be available before Summer 2014.
Feel free to email Ron Drummond with your questions and comments.