By Jennette Cross

Valancourt Books, located in Richmond, Virginia, has been quietly working for the last eleven years to bring the reading public books that might otherwise have been lost. Citing a love of Gothic fiction, and an inability to find any back in the early 2000s, James Jenkins and Ryan Cagle started their press to focus on almost lost works of the type Jane Austen’s Catherine of Northanger Abbey would have loved.

Over the years they’ve expanded their operation to include out of print works of the Victorian and Edwardian Age, horror and supernatural stories, and rediscovered LGBT literature. Mr. Cagle says that they’re able to carry these titles because they are a smaller press. 

How do they do that? By working with modern technology and using digital presses that print on demand. Mr. Jenkins emphasizes that they put serious thought into the design of the books to make them visually pleasing, and most of Valancourt’s list is available in paperback and ebook.

They also find experts in the field to write all new forwards. Mark Valentine wrote the forward for last month’s publication of 1934’s The Deadly Dowager, about a serial-killing grandmother, and he places the book and the author in the proper historical context. Edwin Greenwood served in World War I and then went on to get involved with early silent films. He worked mostly behind the camera, but ended up a screenwriter and collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock more than once.

At the beginnning of his introduction, Valentine notes that in the original forward to The Deadly Dowager, Greenwood’s friend, fellow author Arthur Machen, noted a difference between serious books that are praised when published and then forgotten, and the ones we remember, “who have a story to tell and are not ashamed to tell it.”

Valancourt is dedicated to bringing back the books time somehow forgot, but that still have a story to tell.

Media Referenced:

@RDSPress. “Small Press Spotlight: Valancourt Books – Raw Dog Screaming Press.” Raw Dog Screaming Press. N.p., 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 09 Sept. 2016.

Healey, Trebor. “Early Gay Literature Rediscovered.” The Huffington Post., 28 May 2014. Web. 09 Sept. 2016. Updated 2/2/2016

Greenwood, Edwin. The Deadly Dowager. Richmond: Valancourt Books, 2016. Print.