The Three Imposters or The Transmutations Arthur Machen
Arthur Machen was born in Caerleon, South Wales, in 1863, and moved permanently to London as a young man. The Three Impostors was first published in 1895 by John Lane in his Keynotes series, with a cover and title page designed by Aubrey Beardsley. The novel is loosely structured around the flight of the enigmatic ‘young man with spectacles’ through London from the agents of the evil Dr Lipsius, after he has inadvertently stolen a priceless coin, the Gold Tiberius. It is a Russian doll of a novel with stories nested within stories within stories, and the setting moves between London, Gwent and the US. Two of the embedded tales, Novel of the Black Seal and Novel of the White Powder have frequently been included in anthologies of classic horror literature in their own right. Machen called The Three Impostors a ‘picaresque romance’, and admitted the influence of Robert Louis Stevenson’s New Arabian Nights and The Dynamiter on his plot and style, but after the publication of the book he declared ‘I shall never give anyone a white powder again!’
This new edition is a companion volume to the publishers' version of The Great God Pan and The Shining Pyramid, published in 2018 and sold out. The book is illustrated by Cardiff artist and printmaker Pete Williams, there are introductory essays on the text by James Machin, editor of Faunus, the journal of the Friends of Arthur Machen, and on the artist and his work by Hywel Pontin, former director of Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, and extensive endnotes.
Limited hardback: with a black cover with grey and white blocking: there is no dust jacket. It is 216 pages long, with fourteen illustrations and two photographs. There are grey endpapers, black and white head and tail bands, and white 120gsm paper is used throughout. Only 200 individually numbered copies have been produced.