Michael Swanwick

Flogging Babel: Books from Lost Poseidonis

Customer Reviews

A truly beautiful volume.

​This to-be even rarer CAS edition harkens back to the earliest collections of Smith's work, both those printed at the author's expense and those scarce editions compiled by those similarly swept away by the genius (loci) of this master wordsmith. 

In construction, "The Age of of Malygris" is reminiscent of the Book Club of San Francisco's 1943 edition of "Odes and Sonnets" and the Philopolis Press 1912 edition of "The Star Treader and Other Poems." 

The design of "The Age of Malygris" incorporates the Golden Rectangle, a mathematical ratio that has fascinated men of art and science since Pythagorus (6th century BCE), the rectangle considered the most aesthetically pleasing; and this little volume is truly a delight to the eye even before one dips into its exquisite contents.

​Donald Sidney-Fryer, CAS historian/bibliographer ("The Emperor of Dreams", Donald M Grant, 1978) and gifted poet in his own right ("Songs and Sonnets Atlantean", Arkham House, 1971) aptly provides the introduction to Smith as fellow poet and priest of Atlantis.

​The tales and poetry, of course, are still replete with the magic that acolytes of Smith have long-loved and, even after 80 years, still inspire awe and wonder.

--R. Finegold

The original posted review may be found on our Facebook page.

It's a lovely book. It's been a week or so since I read it. I had to collect it on my way to work and wait until the evening to have a proper look at it (I couldn't resist taking a peek in my lunch break). This was all to the good, as when I read the book it was in the golden glow of a late-afternoon sun slanting in at a low angle and showing the grain in the paper.

       CAS's stories - these two, certainly - benefit from being given room to "breathe" with generous margins and a fairly large font. The prose poem and "maledictory" (as opposed to valedictory!) poem framing the two stories were new to me and so were the two CAS illustrations. All-in-all it's a very nice book indeed. Thank you for producing it! 


 --Andrew James  


​       We can only consider such a realization as an enthusiastic revival of ancient private press. The project has kept its promises and intentions delight by its consistency. I must say that I could not resist to this book's siren call. I enjoy laid paper. Hahnemühle was the best choice. Optima font suits perfectly on it. The Lokta paper that adorns the limits (I mean inside covers) of the volume intensifies the refinement and offers a vegetal embellishment, something essential in Smith’s mind. The great bottom and right margins enable to hold the book in a pleasant way and give a leisurely reading. It’s also nice for our annoying hands as we usually do not know where to lay them! – especially on this kind of book that we want to handle cautiously. The uncommon size also enchants the reader with a good eye.

       An element I find delicate is the violet bookmark you put inside. This color is absent from the body of the book, except on the justification page: copies are numbered with violet ink. It’s a kind of supreme touch that superimposes and crowns the phantastick of the text and the phantastick of the handcraft. Nothing more honorable to emphasize.

       I look forward to see Cycle II. Zothique stories would be another exquisite piece. And why not enhance sensation by choosing then a laid, slightly tinted paper that might evoke the color of sand? 

-- Damien Gonnessat   


Pegana Press Books

Posted by Mike Tortorello April 10, 2014 for Pegana Press Books blog.

Here is some background on what went into the making of The Age Of Malygris from a printers perspective.

The font used for the body of the text is Optima, designed by Hermann Zapf for a german foundry in the early 1950's. I chose it because it's cool, detached feel seemed to lend itself to Clark's dispassionate glimpses of a remote age. I think it also allows the ornateness and beauty of the prose to be the focus. When designing the book, I pictured a scribe or monk slowly transferring the text of a crumbling tome that may have come from the chamber of Malygris. The paper is german watermarked with the feel and look of parchment; Hahnemühle has been making this kind of paper for over 400 years. I really wanted the book to feel OLD. Keeping the craft of true bookmaking alive to pass on is valuable to me as well. The type is distributed(put away) after the print run and will never be done again. It takes about 4 months of painstaking work to create books like this but worth the effort. It also gave me the chance to speak and work with Donald Sidney-Fryer which was incredible. 

I too have these stories in my library in several versions; Arkham House, Weird Tales, Ballantine, etc. Other than the late Roy Squires beautiful chapbooks, none of the CAS books were made to truly enhance and convey Clark's work. Their materials and manufacturing were based on cost; and designs were based on standardization. 

Don't get me wrong, I love all those versions, but as a CAS lover I would always want a beautiful edition in my collection and I thought it was time to create one. 

The inclusion of Clark's original illustrations and DSF's prelude, as well as a poem not published since The Dark Chateau become the setting for the jewellike prose he left for us. 

I plan on finishing the Poseidonis stories in Cycle II after doing a new Dunsany...

Book release announced March 25, 2014

Posted by Rita on March 20, 2014 on Pegana Press Books blog.

It's fascinating the way form and structure can influence perceptions of emotional well being and even play a role in harmonizing the energy within ones environment.

The way a building is designed spatially, can either distort energy pathways or harmonize with the energy of the location, as architects and mathematicians have known for millennium.

Sacred Geometry employed as a tool within artwork determines how a particular work of art resonates for the viewer.

Early on books were designed using the geometry of the golden rectangle.  In modern times the dimensions of a book are influenced by standardization of materials.  For example, when cutting the paper for the Lost Tales books, getting the most out of each sheet, determined the dimensions of the pages.

When we were discussing the design for the upcoming Clark Ashton Smith book, The Age Of Malygris, we wanted to experiment with the dimensions of the golden rectangle for the design of the book.

When the book was bound, we were quite pleased with the results.

The page dimensions, the layout of the type, the boards that cover the book, and even the title pastedown on the front are all designed using the golden rectangle.

I will leave you with a quote from The Death Of Malygris:

Beyond the towering thuribles, the tomes that were piled like pyramids, they saw the threshold in intermittent glimpses, like a remote horizon. 
 --Clark Ashton Smith

Mike and Rita of Pegana Press are excited to begin offering  The Age Of Malygris: Poseidonis Cycle 1 on the website.   This collection was inspired by Clark Ashton Smith's stories of the Magian Malygris.  It includes two illustrations by the author and a forward by the exquisite Donald Sidney-Fryer.

Made with love and care at Pegana Press, this book was type set, letter press printed and bound all by hand.  The dimensions of the book are based on the sacred geometry of the golden rectangle, and for the story titles we used Civilite type, one of the earliest cursive fonts designed.  For the end papers we used Lokta paper, hand made in Nepal from two varieties of Daphne, one of which is Daphne papyracea, which gives the book a feeling of antiquity.

It is the mission of Pegana Press to offer the multi-sensory experience of reading some of the best authors of the fantasy genre presented in an artisan crafted book.  May it meet with your approval. 

We invite you to view more pictures of the book on our website and we welcome feedback.

We'll leave you with a quote.

...Perhaps we will not return, but will follow the tropic summer from isle to halcyon isle, across the amaranthine seas of myth and fable...

Click photos to enlarge.

An audio reading of The Muse of Atlantis

Clark Ashton Smith

The Age of Malygris / Poseidonis Cycle I


This  edition of the Poseidonis stories features a new prelude written by the eminent California troubadour Donald Sidney-Fryer and a poem not published since the Dark Chateau.   With frontispiece and interior illustration by the author.

The book's dimensions are based on the golden rectangle application of the golden ratio.   Hand set and printed on laid Hahnemuhle german paper.

​Hand bound with ornate pastedown and endpapers from Nepal.

Contents include:

The Muse of Atlantis

The Last Incantation

The Death of Malygris


Limited to 55 Copies

$250.            ​    Sold Out