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Pegana Press announces a limited edition of Paris: A Poem by Hope Mirrlees that was originally printed by Virginia Woolf.

Mirrlees was a friend of Woolf, who described her as “a very self conscious, wilful, prickly and perverse young woman, rather conspicuously well dressed and pretty, with a view of her own about books and style, an aristocratic and conservative tendency in opinion and a corresponding taste for the beautiful and elaborate in literature.”

The edition is limited to 50 numbered copies, hand printed on French paper, with a new afterword and gallery of Parisian images. Pegana Press has duplicated the unique typography and punctuation that Mirrlees insisted Woolf follow when the Hogarth Press published it in 1919 as one of its earliest offerings. The cover, however, is different from the original.

The price is $375, and it appears that there are only 20 copies remaining.

In her 2006 book, Reading Virginia Woolf, critic Julia Briggs called Paris “modernism’s lost masterpiece, a work of extraordinary energy and intensity, scope and ambition.” According to Mike Tortorello of Pegana Press, Paris influenced Eliot, Pound, and Woolf.

Hope Mirrlees website showing scan of original cover of "Paris"

See scans of the front cover and title page of the Hogarth Press edition of Paris. Download a PDF of the 600-line poem as it was originally published. Tortorello used this scan to produce his letterpress version.

Here is a quote from Paris, courtesy of Hope Mirrlees on the Web:

…behind the ramparts of the Louvre
Freud has dredged the river and, grinning horribly,
waves his garbage in a glare of electricity,
Taxis,
Taxis,
Taxis,
They moan and yell and squeak
Like a thousand tom-cats in rut.
The whores like lions are seeking their meat from God :
An English padre tilts with the Moulin Rouge…

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