Press Release: A Story as Sharp as a Knife
A Story as Sharp as a Knife:
The Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World
Introduced by Margaret Atwood
With original illustrations by Haida artist Don Yeomans
‘A book which changed the way I look at the world: not only at literature but at art and life entire’
The Folio Society’s illustrated edition of A Story as Sharp as a Knife – the first publication of this landmark title in the UK – will be available to pre-order from September 2015.
For more than a thousand years, a great culture flourished on the islands known as Haida Gwaii, just off the coast of British Columbia and Alaska. Almost everything we now know about the mythology of this Native American people comes from the transcripts of the linguist and ethnographer John Swanton, who journeyed there in 1901 and spent three and a half years listening to the last great Haida poets. Together they created a treasury of oral literature, preserving a mythology rich in imagery, symbolism and philosophy.
In a similarly remarkable undertaking, Robert Bringhurst – poet, typographer, translator, cultural historian and linguist – not only tells the story of the miraculous preservation of a culture almost entirely lost, he also communicates the immense significance and wonder of an entirely oral literature. Bringhurst writes, ‘a work of oral literature is rooted like a tree, in time and place and the person who is speaking … We must try to make the pilgrimage to the poem.’
In her introduction Margaret Atwood describes A Story as Sharp as a Knife as a book that ‘opens locked doors, it reveals vistas, it illuminates’. For this Folio edition the Haida artist Don Yeomans was commissioned to create six original pieces of artwork: one to sit at the opening of each chapter and a frontispiece, as well as a unique binding for the volume. These vibrant images, steeped in Haida culture, along with researched photographs of people, places and artefacts, are another opened door, revealing the rich mythological landscape of the Haida people.
Bound in cloth, blocked with a design by Don Yeomans. Set in Arno Pro and Cronos Pro. 560 pages with 33 integrated colour and black & white images and 6 newly commissioned illustrations. Printed endpapers. Blocked slipcase. 10˝ × 6¼˝.
UK £80.00 US $140.00 Can $170.00 Aus $175.00
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US & Canada
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