A product of the post-communist “Prague Renaissance,” Equus Press was established in 2011 between Paris, London & Prague with the objective of publishing new writing that is innovative & conscious of being doubly marginalised: outside the literary establishment defined by the Anglo-American publishing industry, & outside the confines of nationalism, pursuing a broadly cosmopolitan “agenda.”
In the course of the 20th century, Prague was many things: at the beginning of the century, the seat of one of the oldest and largest Jewish communities in Europe; in the 1910s & 20s, the home to the most influential group of German writers outside German-speaking countries; in the 30s, the “second city of surrealism” after Paris (Breton), and capital of the most easterly democracy on the continent; in 1930-45, a Nazi-occupied Protectorate that saw the assassination of one of the highest-ranking German officers during the war (in 1942); a westerly outpost of the Soviet gulag (1948-89) that witnessed military intervention (in 1968) with a scope (500,000 troops) unparalleled in peace-time Europe; and from 1990 onwards, the capital of a reborn post-communist republic, positioned in the ever-shifting and contested central ground along the East/West axis.
For the past two decades or so, a new literary group has been gathering momentum in the hundred-spired city. A century after Meyrink, Brod, Kisch, Kafka & co. were (in the relative isolation & anonymity of their Prague German & Jewish backgrounds) giving expression & setting the tone for so much of 20th-century European fiction, another group of writers (this time Anglophone) is putting Prague back on the literary map & within the international literary networks whose nodal point it used to form. Whether permanent (Armand, Garcia, Nash) or in-and-off residents (Makin, Ober, Tavel, Rowan), these are writers informed by the heritage of Prague’s multi-nationalism and mindful of its frailty in the face of the many forms of nationalist chauvinisms and totalitarian political ideologies, left- or right-wing.
Again in the course of the 20th century, a majority of the most compelling, challenging, absorbing literary art has been produced by small presses and their respective writers. The landscape of European literary modernism would be akin to an actual wasteland without the London-based Hogarth Press (Woolf, Eliot, Freud), New York-based New Directions (Pound, Stevens, Thomas), the Paris-based Obelisk (Miller, Durrell, Joyce) and Olympia Presses (Burroughs, Beckett, Bataille, Trocchi, Nabokov), or indeed presses associated with magazines & reviews – such as the Egoist Press, who published the first London edition of Ulysses, and Paris-based Transition, which famously printed installments of Joyce’s “Work in Progress.”
EQUUS PRESS IS DISTRIBUTED BY SMALL PRESS DISTRIBUTION
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