Obelisk: A History of Jack Kahane and the Obelisk Press by Neil Pearson

By Neil Pearson

Obelisk: A historical past of Jack Kahane and the Obelisk Press info the historical past of 1 of the main extraordinary—and controversial—publishing agencies of the 20 th century. writer at the same time of the notorious novels of the literary elite in addition to competitively priced erotica and “dirty books,” Jack Kahane’s Obelisk Press released the likes of Henry Miller, James Joyce, Ana?s Nin, and D.H. Lawrence, along a long checklist of censor-baiting eccentrics like N. Reynolds Packard, the recent York day-by-day information’ Rome correspondent and the self-styled “Marco Polo of Sex.”  Here, for the 1st time, is the tale of this outstanding enterprise, which captures the various 20th century’s such a lot outrageous literary personalities and their frequently scandalous exploits, together with the failed golfing membership society journal run by means of Nin, Miller, and Lawrence Durrell and the tortured dating among Obelisk writer Marjorie Firminger and Wyndham Lewis. A richly illustrated cultural heritage of Nineteen Twenties Paris, a fully-narrated bibliography of works released by way of an unforgettable literary establishment, and a glimpse into the awesome lifetime of the Press’s author, Jack Kahane, The Obelisk Press is a publishing occasion to not be neglected by way of a person with an curiosity in twentieth-century literary lives and letters. (20071208)

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His convalescence features strongly in Memoirs of a Booklegger – given that it covered ten years of his life it could hardly be overlooked – but on the reasons for the convalescence, he is silent. Just like his unhappy childhood, Kahane’s war record can be pieced together. That it has to be is a mark of the man. Kahane’s determination to enlist wasn’t undermined by his abortive visit to the French Consulate. He threw in his job (an action made more satisfying by the fact that his employer was German) and took the train to London on 5 August 1914, the day after Britain declared war on Germany.

It wasn’t until twenty years after the end of the Great War (and only a few months before war broke out again) that Jack Kahane wrote anything about his wartime experiences, a delay which contrasts him with almost every writer who served in the conflict and survived. While others sought to understand, describe and exorcise the cataclysm through which they’d lived, Kahane spent the following two decades keeping his counsel, preferring instead to write novels in which his young and foolish characters chase each other through a prelapsarian world of champagne and chocolates and nightclubs and fun.

Allied troops would shortly need transport home, and since it was Kahane’s job to ensure that the Italian railway system ran on time, he was unlikely to find peacetime peaceful for a few months at least. The presence of a British battalion in an Adriatic coastal town made it necessary for Kahane to visit the region in order to assess the preparedness of the local railway network for the task that lay ahead. As a result, Kahane found himself embroiled in one of the most farcical incidents of the First World War, an episode straight out of opera buffa in which the leading roles were taken, fittingly, by Italy, and by one of that country’s most lunatic sons.

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