Despite the provisional obituaries that continue to be written about the Modernist project, some publishers and editors keep the flame alight. The newest among them is Contra Mundum Press, established in 2011; and in the few short years of its existence, its books have attracted a significant amount of attention. A few weeks ago in the Guardian, Nicholas Lezard approvingly noted (“exquisitely thought-provoking”) its new translation of Marginalia on Casanova by Miklós Szentkuthy, and CMP’s current offerings include new volumes by and about Robert Kelly, Fernando Pessoa’s Philosophical Essays, a book of writings by director Elio Petri, and — quite soon — a collection of texts by Richard Foreman, for which I had the privilege of writing an introduction.
“CMP is dedicated to the value and the indispensable importance of the individual voice. … Our principal interest is in Modernism, but works of innovation, vision, and genius from any era will be considered for publication,” the publisher’s mission statement reads in part. In a recent issue of the Brooklyn Rail, publisher Rainer Hanshe discusses CMP and its aims at much greater length. “We hope with Contra Mundum to persist in opposition to many prevailing forces, powers, and trends. The press is informed by a particular aesthetic and vision, as well as a desire for new horizons,” Hanshe tells Andrea Scrima. He weighs the pluses and minuses of the print-on-demand model on which CMP is based, the necessity for a continuing dedication to translation, and a variety of other issues, all of which are worth your attention.
CMP is also now the publisher of Hyperion: On the Future of Aesthetics, which re-launches this month with an issue featuring new translations of Rene Char and others, an essay about Thomas Bernhard by Andrew Utter, and reviews of various books, including my own review of David Ian Rabey’s English Drama Since 1940. The publisher promises that issues of Hyperion will be published on a regular basis from here on out. Enjoy.