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David R. Godine, Publisher

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Title: David R. Godine, Publisher  
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Subject: Prunus mume, Tim Hauser, The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, Peter Mayle, New Bedford Whaling Museum, Black Sparrow Books, David R. Godine, Anatomy of a Typeface
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David R. Godine, Publisher

David R. Godine, Publisher
Founded 1970
Founder David R. Godine
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location Boston
Publication types Books
Imprints Black Sparrow
Official website

David R. Godine, Publisher is an American book publishing company, founded in 1970 in Boston, Massachusetts by David R. Godine. Many of the early titles were fine letterpress editions, using a 40" Kelly-3 flatbed reciprocating letterpress with three form rollers. The company has since grown to become a well-regarded, small, general trade publisher. The press now publishes between twenty and forty titles annually, with an eclectic list that ranges from literary fiction in translation to illustrated books on gardening. Acquisitions are driven by the tastes and passions of David R. Godine, the founder and still-active president.[1] Several of those earliest editions are now considered collector's items, including Arthur Freeman's Assays of Bias, Andrew Marvell's Garden (printed on a Vandercook press #20), and Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and A Plea for Captain John Brown.

By 1975, the firm had abandoned letterpress printing and decided to focus its energies entirely on publishing. The early lists followed very much the same patterns as those of the next three decades, concentrating primarily on the founder's broad interests: fiction (especially in translation), biography, photography, the history of printing and the graphic arts, and children's books. Over the next thirty years, a number of series were created. The Nonpareil Books collection, which now numbers over 100 titles in print, brings back neglected works; Over its life the series has revived books by writers as varied as Donald Hall, William Maxwell, Francis Steegmuller, George Orwell, Laurie Lee, Will Cuppy, Flora Thompson and Gerald Durrell. The Verba Mundi series concentrates on translations of foreign fiction and has included the work of Dino Buzzati, Robert Musil, Georges Perec, and the 2000 Nobel Prize Laureate J. M. G. Le Clézio. The Imago Mundi series of finely printed illustrated books, primarily photography, has promoted work by artists as varied as Paul Caponigro, George Tice, Angus McBean and Jean Cocteau. The small format Pocket Paragons concentrate on illustrated books by authors and artsists as diverse as Marie Angel, William Heath Robinson, Lotte jacobi and Margaret Bourke-White.

Both the press and its authors have won prestigious awards over the years, including the W.A. Dwiggins Award in 1984, the Boston Globe Literary Press Award in 1987, and the first New England Booksellers Annual Award in 1989.[1] In 2008, J.M.G. Le Clézio, the author of The Prospector (Godine, 1993), was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature,[2] Godine published Le Clézio's acclaimed novel Desert in the Spring of 2009.[3]

In 2002, John Martin, in a gentleman's agreement with David R. Godine, sold the rights, remaining stock, and back list of titles for Black Sparrow Press to David R. Godine, Publisher — this did not include Black Sparrow's most popular authors, however: Charles Bukowski, John Fante, Wyndham Lewis, and Paul Bowles. Since that time, the editors at Godine have added authors Eddie Chuculate, Kenneth Burke, Daniel Fuchs, and Linda Bamber to the Black Sparrow imprint, brought several titles by Charles Reznikoff back into print, and continued to publish and republish existing Black Sparrow authors, such as Wanda Coleman and Lyn Lifshin.

As a small, independent publisher Godine has maintained focus on areas for which the company has become known—books that demonstrate fine design and uphold production values. Godine's children's list is especially notable, with authors and illustrators as diverse as William Steig, Mary Azarian, Barbara McClintock, Joe McKendry, and Edward Ardizzone. Every year the firm issues between twenty and forty new titles and also reprints roughly the same number.


External links

  • David R. Godine, Publisher
  • Black Sparrow Books
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