DEDICATED TO THE VALUE AND THE INDISPENSABLE IMPORTANCE OF THE INDIVIDUAL VOICE,

TO TESTING THE BOUNDARIES OF THOUGHT AND EXPERIENCE

CONTRA MUNDUM PRESS

Contra Mundum Press is a New York based independent publishing house with a global outlook. Our principal interest is in Modernism and the principles developed by the Modernists, though we also publish challenging and visionary works from other eras.

Our catalog consists of poetry, novels, drama, philosophy, film criticism, and essays & criticism. In the future, we intend on expanding it to include works on architecture, music, & other genres. While we have published bilingual and multilingual books, in accordance with our global outlook, we intend on publishing works in languages other than English. Our vision is informed by a poetics of hospitality, which is enacted through translation. In being a home to lone and often exiled or forgotten voices, CMP serves as a home to world culture, welcoming the voices, and so the lives and experiences, of “foreigners.” From Gilgamesh to Emilio Villa, in publishing translations from as many different languages as we have, CMP not only welcomes strangers into its house, it presents them to the Anglophone world as its honored guests. It is also a way of mutating the Anglophone world, of changing its character, by introducing new hosts into its body. A poetics of contagion.

The primary aim of Contra Mundum is to publish translations of writers who in their use of form and style are à rebours, or who deviate significantly from more programmatic and spurious forms of experimentation. Such writing attests to the volatile nature of modernism. Our preference is for works that have not yet been translated into English, are out of print, or are poorly translated, for writers whose thinking and aesthetics are in opposition to timely or mainstream currents of thought, value systems, or moralities. We also reprint obscure and out-of-print works we consider significant but which have been forgotten, neglected, or overshadowed.

 

There are many works of fundamental significance to  Weltliteratur (and Weltkultur) that still remain in relative oblivion, works that alter and disrupt standard circuits of thought — these warrant being encountered by the world at large. It is our aim to render them more visible.

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HYPERION:

ON THE FUTURE OF AESTHETICS

Our free online magazine, Hyperion: On the Future of Aesthetics, is published biannually and features essays, translations, interviews, and reviews. Hyperion is concerned with aesthetics, with the value of art and the ways in which it can be transformed and renewed. 

We are looking for applied criticism — philosophically-oriented essays that are evaluative of specific artists and specific works of art in every genre (from poetry to visual art to cinema et cetera).

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THE AGRODOLCE SERIES

Agrodolce, the sweet & sour, two opposite elements that create a tangy contrast, evoke the agon, Innigkeit, the coincidentia oppositorum, unsuspected & surprising amalgamations. One thinks also of the two primary opposing elements of the universe, as conceived by Empedocles: love and strife. The philosopher that hails out of Akragas (Agrigento), Sicilia, the surrogate birthplace of philosophy, the philosopher’s true home. Separate from any mainland, separate from nationalism.

A culture born of centuries & centuries of amalgamations. More exigently, its mythic site is Mt. Etna, the volcano that, as legend has it, Empedocles leapt into. Etna, the agricultural home of apiaries, vineyards, olive and citrus groves, pistachio and hazel trees, wild herbs and far more. In erupting over 12 times a year, the landscape of Etna is one that undergoes continual metamorphosis, with eternally-evolving soil comprised of basalt, pumice, and ash. The Agrodolce Series, a source of unorthodox books on food.

 

Curated by Emile Plateau

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THE PRESS

RAINER J. HANSHE

Publisher & Editor

Rainer J. Hanshe is a writer and the founder of Contra Mundum Press. Once, he was an assistant to Nan Goldin, last working with her on The Devil’s Playground, her major exhibition at the Pompidou. For half a decade, he was the director of the Nietzsche Circle, an arts & philosophy organization based in New York. During that time, he established the journal Hyperion: On the Future of Aesthetics. Hanshe is the author of two novels, The Acolytes (2010) and The Abdication (2012), and the editor of Richard Foreman’s Plays with Films (2013) and Wordsworth’s Fragments (2014). His translations include Charles Baudelaire’s My Heart Laid Bare (2017; 2020), Joseph Kessel’s Army of Shadows (2017), Gerard Depardieu’s Innocent (2017), and Baudelaire’s Belgium Stripped Bare (2019). His second novel, The Abdication, has been translated into Italian (Petite Plaisance), Turkish (Aylak Adam: Zepelin), and Slovakian (Cloaca). Other texts of his have appeared in Sinn und FormJelenkor, ChrisMarker.org, Asymptote, Quarterly Conversation, and elsewhere. His most recent work is the hybrid book Shattering the Muses (2016), a collaboration with Federico Gori. Hanshe is currently writing two novels, Humanimality and Dionysos Speed, and a screenplay with Harald Hutter, All The Dead Tomorrows.

ALESSANDRO SEGALINI

Typographer & Graphic Designer

A communication designer who specializes in typography, Segalini studied and practiced design in Italy, Finland, Turkey, and the U.S. He teaches typography at Binghamton University and is the house typographer and graphic designer of Contra Mundum Press. In 2010, he co-founded ISType (Istanbul Type Seminars), a lecture and workshop series devoted to encouraging typographic literacy in Turkey. Segalini designed the typeface Hemingway, which was inspired by the novel The Old Man and the Sea. Segalini’s Hemingway typeface was selected for the UK Creative Review Type Annual 2011 within the “Display Text” category.

ERIKA MIHÁLYCSA

Editor (Hyperion)

Erika Mihálycsa is a lecturer in 20th-century and contemporary British literature at Babeș-Bolyai University Cluj, Romania. She has published mainly on the language poetics of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett and in the field of translation studies. Mihálycsa is the recipient of multiple research grants to the Zurich Joyce Foundation. A regular contributor to several Hungarian literary magazines, she has translated works by Flann O'Brien, Beckett, Julian Barnes, Anne Carson, William Carlos Williams, William H. Gass, Patrick MacCabe and others into Hungarian. To date, Mihálycsa’s translations of contemporary Hungarian prose and poetry into English have appeared in World Literature Today, Asymptote, Two Lines, Envoi, A Public Space, and others.