Tricksterville Publishing is dedicated to letting loose the trickster on the modern world, launched by illustrator Michael Woods and author/translator Robert Cattell in 2018 with Reynard the Fox published as a signed limited edition of 100. Their new book, AGON, Tales of Conflict and Struggle in Greek Myths continues their combined interests in storytelling through verse and illustration and will be published at the end of October 2020.
Tricksters are found at frontiers. They hang around doorways, crossroads, borders. And their shiftiness and slipperiness allow them to move easily between different worlds. This gives them their unique character of the mischief-making outsider. The trickster exploits the uncertainty of frontiers by crossing the threshold and exposing lies on either side. In the words of Lewis Hyde (in ‘Trickster Makes This World’) “They’re all the same, these tricksters; they have no shame and so they have no silence.”
In our present conflicted times we find frontiers everywhere we look. And if we probe further we find tricksters operating in the spaces between. They exploit the moments of conflict created by chance and necessity and, in this way, they bring about change in unexpected ways.
Most cultures have their trickster tales – often centred on an animal characters: Brer Rabbit, Coyote, Anansi the Spider, Crow. In Western Europe the stories of Reynard the Fox are perhaps the most well known in the trickster tradition. Tricksters stand outside society and its moral codes. They are often cruel and wicked. But, in exposing the hypocrisies of their age, they have a pivotal role to play in changing the way we live.
AGON, Tales of Conflict and Struggle in Greek Myths, the new Tricksterville book,
will be published in Autumn 2020 with the help of crowdfunding.
Artists and writers return perennially to the myths of ancient Greece partly out of fascination with their extraordinary mix of character and plot but also for the light they throw on the violent, disturbing, comic and tragic aspects of contemporary society.
AGON – no exception to that tradition – is a series of glimpses or snapshots, drawn from the myths and their rich cast of heroes, gods and godesses, titans and sorceresses. Its themes are: Journeys, Monsters, Suffering and Death.
The initial inspiration comes from classical Greek vases and decorated amphorae with their black-figure technique and later red-figure painting. The illustrations capture a moment of violence, suffering, triumph, but also inevitably ask the questions:
What came before? What will happen next?
The verse fragments respond directly to the images, partly answering these questions.
They are loosely translated from selected Graeco-Roman as well as later European sources.
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?*
* Ode on a Grecian Urn, John Keats
To view the book, please click on this link. AGON
AGON will be available for sale from the end of October 2020. To sponsor or pre order Agon please contact Michael at email@example.com
Reynard the Fox
Reynard the trickster presents himself to the world through a mask and these illustrations by Michael Woods return us to the essence of the trickster beast.
They revel in the reality that Reynard is a liar, an adulterer, a murderer and that, like us, he is an animal. They take us back to his medieval origins where, whilst being alive to all his brutality and sadism, we cannot help but be enchanted by his quick wit and laugh at his cunning.
The extracts from the story that appear in this book are translated from Branche I of the old French Roman de Renart with some assistance from a recent modern French translation by Jean Dufournet and others.
The text adheres closely to the storyline and spirit of the medieval fable. Each chapter begins with a narrative synopsis and the illustrations are accompanied rendered in blank verse. Some of the names of the characters appear in their more accepted English form, based on both Caxton’s translation and more recent usage.
A limited number of signed and numbered copies of Reynard the Fox are still available for £50.00. Book size 21cm x 21cm. 72 pages. Please email Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org
To view the book, please click on this link.