John de St Jorre

Agent Provocateur

Obelisk: A History of Jack Kahane and the Obelisk Press


Liverpool University Press 494pp £25 order from our bookshop

In 1930, Jack Kahane, a tall gangling Englishman who favoured Savile Row suits, a monocle and cane, launched an unlikely publishing venture in Paris. The early signs were not propitious. He had no publishing experience; he suffered from poor health; he was hobbled by a disadvantageous deal with an unreliable printer-partner; and he found himself operating in a bleak economic environment following the stock market meltdown a year earlier.

Yet over the next decade, Kahane’s Obelisk Press not only kept afloat, but published works by Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and three other novels), Anaïs Nin (House of Incest and Winter of Artifice), Lawrence Durrell (The Black Book), James Joyce (a fragment of Haveth Childers Everywhere and Pomes Penyeach), Cyril Connolly (The Rock Pool), Radclyffe Hall (The Well of Loneliness), and D H Lawrence (Lady Chatterley’s Lover).

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