The publishing world as we know it is changing. In fact it will be dead soon. It’s a matter of years in my guess. And honestly that’s no bad thing. Publishing has become stale over the last two and a half centuries.
In ancient Greece art and religion were two different things. Religion dealt with the transcendental and art focused on perfecting a human activity or skill. All this changed in the 18th century. The Romantics declared the artist a genius and a god. Art now became a sacrilege, practiced and worshipped by the selected few. They approached literature, music and the visual arts with a solemnity formerly only reserved for the gods. The masses turned away at once bored and apprehensive.
That state of affairs lasted until the beginning of the 21st century, when all of a sudden the ancient Greek nymph Peirene re-appeared in the British Isles. She opened the Peirene Salon and reconnected entertainment with world class books. She also set up the Peirene Coffee mornings at High Tea of Highgate, where literature is consumed along side cake.
It wasn’t long, until the Nymph’s reputation reached the ears of The Wine Society. They sent a handsome prince to woo the Nymph: “Good wine and good literature go hand in hand. Let me provide the wines for your lovely Salons.” Peirene blushed and didn’t know where to look. Never before had she been approached with such gallantry. But then she said yes and, needless to say, they lived happily ever after.
The Wine Society is sponsoring the 2011 Peirene Salons! It didn’t happen exactly like in this fairy tale story – the blushing bit is not true – but nearly. Anyhow the point is that from now on the wines served at the Salon will match the quality of the literature.
“I am so pleased you no longer will choose the wines for the Salon.” Peirene confessed to me.
“Why?” I asked
“I always worried that the wines didn’t do justice to my books. Now I can trust they will match in quality.”
I have to admit I felt slightly hurt by Peirene’s comment, since I thought I did a fairly good job. However, I too, am more than thrilled that an expert will now do the choosing. And, needless to say, I do hope we can persuade some wine connoisseurs to experience the pleasures of a Peirene book.