JF Ptak Science Books Post 2022 Books with Unusual Title Pages series
Simply put, this is easily a first-percentile title and title-page design, the work of a man who set out to discover the world for/by himself and wound up taking a very long inner journey of Some Outsider-y Influence, and then felt the need to share it:
This is a very good example of the combination of two main threads of odd title pages that have been slowly accumulating in a series of posts on this blog (a good example of which can be seen in the post "Little Bizarredness: Bland Hyper-oddness in Published Works", here) about books with "simply difficult" title pages: (a) those that are swift and contra-subtle, wispy cloudy bits that lack a cohesion and make them a little impenetrable, and (b) those that are bold and straightforward and mostly nonsensical. Here we have a composite, the elusive "(c)" category, which is a combination of a+b (where a+b=a+b, only)--both light and dense, simple and complex, all adding up to a little bit of bold almost-nothing.
When we open the pamphlet we see that Capt. Miles tries again with the title page of the book, changing the title on the cover but with high accomplishment is able to retain the overall largesse of mystery about what the book is about:
Evidently Capt. Miles did make a grand expedition, and he was away for a long time, and he did build himself an absolutely beautiful boat--and brought back with him the idea of some sort of international straight- and not bent-thinking ferocious logical thinking political party. His was the Peoples Party (I'm not so sure why he chose this name when it was taken by several other groups already), the "patriot's preportional [sic] part of the New International Party" ("a recorded reality"), that "with non-secret straight thinking New Independent International Political Party the Third Party within All Nations will collectively end all empires" and so on. He also referred to his political party by yet another name: "Miles International Practical Brotherhood". Its hard to take the "practical" part of this seriously, especially when Miles' own political party gets referred to by so many different names.
Cap't. Miles excuses himself right at the beginning for his grammatical and spelling errors, which is a good thing because there are so very many of them, as he "had little of the artifica [sic] education (schooling)". He does recount his voyage but it is riddled with internal Socratic monologues that lead the reader to question many things, not the least of which is the simplest of questions: "why?"
In any event Cap't Miles does drag teh reader through 175 pages of poorly written and badly spelled oddnessment. His outre design capacity and presentation though makes this a fine example of outsider thinking.
Deep in the book Miles takes a deep breath and dips into the snipe-like "(d)" category, which is a very rare occurrence of reproducing the title page of a book deep within the text and not getting the title correct, which is a peculiarly beautiful agony:
Evidently there is no distinction between the 'first" page and the 'front" page, both of which are different, anyway.
There are also bits like this half-page announcement laced throughout the book, looking like salty sprinkles in a foamy Guinness:
And just when you think that you're through the book and its brilliant cloudiness you find this:
It is all really quite breathtaking, in a way.
The book--whatever its title--was written and published by Capt. Edward Miles and issued in 1942 as a first edition "Series A"--no doubt this was supposed to be the first of many such installments. I'm trying not to imagine the disappointment that Miles must've felt when there was no need for more. I guess he could've blamed it on the war...
My copy is the copyright deposit copy, no doubt sent by Miles as part of the process to secure a copyright for his work in the United States. I can find only one library in the world (via the OCLC) with a copy of this book--the hometown Newbury, in Chicago--the record for which states that their copy was "number 105 of the first edition". Perhaps Miles numbered the pamphlets as they went out, and perhaps the numbering was truthful. In any event, this is not the solo-lonely outcome of big and lonesome high-seas thinking, and at least one other copy exists 515 miles from here.
I think this is one of those works that is best appreciated at a distance, and that a reading of it would only ruin things by the accumulation of painful and what looks like embarrassing detail. Looking at the large font aspect of the book is good enough to allow this work to be treated as a kind of artwork which would only be obscured by weed-prone narrative.
Bottom line: the man did build a beautiful boat.