No space is wasted in Savoy Books’ edition of A Voyage to Arcturus to make it a truly wonderful and unique edition. The endpapers reproduce in facsimile a letter from Lindsay (to, I think, his painter friend Robert Barnes). There is an introduction from Alan Moore, accompanied by two photographs of Lindsay. After the text (mercifully free of the typos that have dogged the Ballantine & Bison Books editions) there is Colin Wilson’s essay “The Haunted Man” — a slightly expanded version of “Lindsay as novelist as mystic”, which appeared in The Strange Genius of David Lindsay. There is a bibliography, a reprinting of the selection of “Philosophical Aphorisms” that appeared in Lines Review and Abraxas magazines, and finally an afterword, again by Colin Wilson.
Alan Moore’s vivacious and erudite introduction places Lindsay alongside other British visionary fantasists such as the Duchess of Newcastle (whose Blazing World was written in 1666), and takes pains to remind us of just how strange a book Arcturus really is, even compared to other fantasies. As you would expect from a man of Moore’s insight, it opens up areas of the book ignored or passed over by most commentators.
The contents aside, this is a sturdy, well-made hardback, with a stylish attention to detail evident in all aspects of the design. The dustjacket features two paintings by one of my favourite Symbolist painters, Jean Delville — “The Treasures of Satan” being particularly apt. (So apt it was used again for the Gollancz Fantasy Masterworks edition.) But even under the dustjacket (my acid test for a good hardback) the good workmaship is evident.
All in all, a dream edition of Lindsay’s best book — the equivalent of a Collector’s Edition DVD of a favourite film. Savoy Books have really made an effort to produce an edition of A Voyage to Arcturus like none other. Quite simply, it’s beautiful.