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Barbarian Press
Past Publications

Wood engraving by Andy English
(from The Eve of St. Agnes, 2003)

Many of the titles published by Barbarian Press in the past are now out of print. Descriptions and publication details of some of those titles are available here for your perusal.

Please note that all of these books are

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The Wolf’s Carol

A Fable written and illustrated with engravings by Nancy Ruth Jackson

Winter 2005

It was the animals who first welcomed The Christ into this world, who first knelt to their maker in the manger. And every year at Christmas they are given the gift of human speech to celebrate the anniversary of his birth. Just at midnight the donkey brays louder than she has brayed all year - very loudly - and this bray, whether it is the last animal speech of the night or the first human voice, signals a great chorus of voices in the stable.

Of course they all talk at once, these animals who suddenly speak as humans do. They laugh and complain and entertain each other with very rude imitations of the farmer’s family. They renew old quarrels and recall animals long gone from the barnyard. They sing sweet, sad old songs and forgive one another...

So begins a remarkable fable, a story of the animals at Christmas, and their struggle to try to forgive the unforgivable creature who is neither man nor beast - the werwulf.

Nancy sent this to us with a covering letter which said that she had shown to it a number of people, and that they had either loved it or hated it. Some thought it blasphemous or sacrilegious, but others thought it inspiring and deeply touching. We were moved to tears, and instantly agreed to publish it.

The animals in the story, visited by the wolf who comes from the forest to plead that the werwulf might be admitted to the presence of the Christ-child, represent all of us. There is the Cat, suave, diplomatic, but cautious; the Dog, good-hearted but fiercely protective; the Bull, solemn and thoughtful; the Sheep, concerned for the safety of her young; and the Lamb, young, innocent, and full of questions and excitement, knowing no fear because she has known no evil. The act of forgiveness, we come to see, is the ultimate demonstration of faith.

This story of the Christmas when the animals’ faith and their trust in one another undergoes an unimaginable test is startling and original, and we are proud and delighted to publish it. Nancy Ruth Jackson has created wonderful engravings to accompany the story.

But the fact is that animals aren’t much given to talk, even among their own kind. This common tongue is an amusing novelty, a party-present that makes them all giddy and a bit tired. As the night draws towards day the talk dies down to a drowsy mumbling. Gradually the animals become very quiet and very intent upon the manger ...

This is a Christmas story for everyone, believer or non-believer, who is concerned with the plight of humanity today. It will be published in the winter, toward the time when such tales should be told.

The Wolf's Carol arrived yesterday, a not very winter-ish time here in Iowa. I just finished reading it and cried ... I wish that I could go on the Library's public-announcement system and read it aloud to everyone in the building but I don't think the administration would let me ... It is wondrous. Thank you.
David Schoonover, Curator of Rare Books,
University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections

My son visits us each summer in mid-July rather than at Christmas when traveling is such a pain ... We have come to call his annual visit Christmas in July. ... So when The Wolf's Carol came in the middle of his visit it made perfect sense to me. All three of us ... were enraptured by the tale and overwhelmed as ever by the printing and the graphics. Another treasure to add to the store of goodies from Barbarian. Thank you muchly for this delightful surprise.
David Bond, Subscriber, Canada

Quarter dark blue cloth with patterned paper over boards and a spine label. Bugra blue endpapers. Goudy’s Garamont with Bembo and Dutch Initials for display in black and red on Legion Letterpress. With seven engravings and a press device by the author.
8 1/4 by 10 1/4 inches [210 by 260mm]
28 pages. 130 copies.
C$150 / approx. US$140 / £75     OUT OF PRINT