1986-1988. Ephemera. 6 postcards. 7 letters or notes (*one letter has correspondence from Young on one side, and Abbey on the other; one note has brief notes from both of them on the recto). It was a trademark of Ed Abbey to write on the front or the back of a letter that was sent to him. 10 of the pieces are signed by Abbey, 3 are signed by Young.
Noel Young started out as a designer and printer for Black Sparrow Press. He went on to found the Santa Barbara-based Capra Press, a small independent avant-garde publishing house most known for publishing the works of Henry Miller and Anais Nin. Capra Press also published the first work of fiction by the master short story writer Raymond Carver. Capra Press published Abbey's "Black Sun" (1981) and "Confessions of a Barbarian" (1986).
In one postcard (May, 1986), Abbey states, "It looks like Dutton is going to let my Slumgullion Stew: An Abbey Reader go out of print (They've told me they're remaindering all remaining copies.) Would you be interested in reprinting the book and keeping it alive & available?" Stapled to the postcard is Young's reply: "Dear Ed, I just spoke to Dutton and learned that they have already sold off the remainders of SLUMGULLION. This means there is little point in us reissuing the book until after the remainders are sold off."
In another postcard dated October 1987, Ed writes, "Haven't rec'd a royalty statement from Capra in a long time. Is Black Sun still in print? (It's not listed in current Books in Print.) If not, please revert trade paperback rights to me. Also, please send me five copies of same, if available, and bill me or charge to my account."
In one letter, Young attempts to persuade Abbey to participate in a project, for which he has legitimate backing. Young writes,
"With the support of the Richard Gallen Co. in New York, we are hoping to publish a series of books (fiction and nonfiction) dealing with animals, even from their viewpoints, and their relationship to humans, civilization, etc. Ursula LeGuin has sent us a book length manuscript of stories involving animals. We'd be happy to have a manuscript from you-- either a collection of pieces that haven't appeared in book form previously, or, best of all, something entirely new. Even an expansion of your cowboy article. Maybe a book told from the coyote's view.
"If you are interested in such a project and have any further ideas, we'd love to hear. We would also be prepared to offer a serious advance, comparable to an eastern publisher. Naturally, the amount would depend upon how much of the material was new."
Abbey writes his response to Young on the reverse of this letter:
"Thanks for the letter. I'm not interested in writing a book about animals, or a story told from an animal's point of view, but I do have a couple of books in mind- one small, one large- that might interest you."
One note particularly captures Abbey's rebellious nature. He writes, on a Xerox of the Capra Press, Inc. Royalty Report, "Dear Noel- Thanks for the check but this computerized (fucking) statement is hard to figure out." Item #62996
Abbey passed away 4 months after the last piece of correspondence, dated "10 Nov 88."
A small archive representing typical banter between an author and his publisher. A bird's-eye view into the process of publishing, and the process of writing with the hopes of one's work being published.
With most pieces signed by Abbey. Edward Abbey is considered to be the literary father of the radical environmental group Earth First!. Abbey's novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, still immensely popular today, inspired Earth First!