Williams, Kit: Masquerade
(researched by Marisa Colaneri)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

1. Kit Williams. Masquerade. New York: Schocken Books, 1980. Copyright: Kit Williams, 1979.

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

2. First American edition was published in trade cloth binding.

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

18 leaves, 36 pages. Pages 1-36 are all unnumbered.

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

The first edition was neither edited nor introduced.

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

The illustrations are all original color drawings by Kit Williams. Illustrations appear on unnumbered pages 5, 7,9, 11, 13-15, 17, 19, 21-23, 25, 27, 29-31, and 33.

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

8. The first edition of Masquerade is very easy to read with large type and large margins. The dimensions of the page are 28.5 centimeters by 22 centimeters. The print is large and the pages are generally not filled with text. The margins around the text lie at 4.5 centimeters. The amount of text on the page varies from one page to another. The page with the greatest amount of text has a width of 13 centimeters and a height of 19 centimeters. The page with the least amount of text has a width of 12 centimeters and a height of 2.5 centimeters. Type size: 110R No type description noted on verso of title page or colophon. Black Serif type appears throughout the book. The first letter on each page is larger than the rest, orange, and appears three-dimensional.

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

The book is printed on glossy paper that has slightly yellowed over time.

11 Description of binding(s)

Masquerade is bound with trade cloth binding in a faded medium blue color. The initials "K" and "W" are stamped together on the front cover. Also, the author, title name, and publisher are stamped using a golden inlay. The end papers are bright orange. Transcription of the spine: KIT WILLIAMS MASQUERADE SCHOCKEN

12 Transcription of title page

. Transcription of the title page: KIT WILLIAMS/MASQUERADE/Within the pages of this book there is a story told/Of love, adventures, fortunes lost, and a jewel of solid gold./To solve the hidden riddle, you must use your eyes,/And find the hare in every picture that may point you to the prize./[illustrator's crest]/SCHOCKEN BOOKS NEW YORK.

13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

Manuscript holdings are unknown.

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

There exists no inscription, dedication, or colophon for this first edition.

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

The book appears to have been published simultaneously in London and New York. London subsequent editions: 1.London: Jonathan Cape, 1982. First paperback edition. Printing was limited to 1000 copies. The pages of this edition are unnumbered and of gilt-lettered cloth with pictorial plates pasted on. New York subsequent editions: 1.New York: Schocken Books, 1980. Second US edition. 2.New York: Schocken Books, 1980. Third US edition. This edition contains and introduction and afterword by author.

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

Jonathan Cape: London, 1979. Second Printing. This printing included laminated pictorial boards. Priced at fifteen pounds. London, 1980. Third Printing. This printing included an advertisement for Schocken Books stating "Our next edition will be a jacketed hardcover." Schocken Books: New York, 1980. Second Printing. New York, 1980. Third Printing. Priced at fifteen dollars. New York, 1981. Fourth Printing. This printing was sized at 9.75 by 12 inches and priced at $9.99. New York, 1981. Fifth Printing. Priced at sixteen dollars. New York, 1981. Sixth Printing. Priced at fifteen dollars. New York, 1981. Seventh Printin. This printing was sized at nine inches by eleven inches and was priced at twelve dollars. New York, 1981. Eighth Printing. Priced at ten dollars. Different Dustjacket with a new Brodart Image by Kit Williams. New York, 1981. Ninth Printing. Priced at twelve dollars. New York, 1981. Tenth Printing. Priced at ten dollars.

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

Simon and Schuster: New York, 1981. Priced at twelve dollars and fifty cents. Random House: New York. Priced at $7.95. Workman Publishing: 1983. 42 unnumbered pages. This edition included soft covers, more illustrations, and was sized at 7.5 by 6 inches. Priced at $7.50.

6 Last date in print?

The book was last printed by Schocken Books in October of 1987.

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

Masquerade sold 50,000 copies in it's first year in print, but any other information on the number of copies sold is unavailable at this time.

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)


9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

Advertisement from Publisher's Weekly, July and August, 1980: Masquerade by Kit Williams With 15 Full-Page Full-Color Illustrations. Hardcover $9.95 Illustrated Fantasy The advertisement was part of a two-page ad for Schocken Books which listed the books published in each of four months from September until December. It was a sort of forecast of what was to come for the publishing company.

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

Promotion for the book Masquerade included a published 1982 calendar with an illustration from the book for every month. Schocken Books: New York, 1982. Priced at ten dollars. One book review was found after searching in Worldcat's Periodical's Index and reviewing several volumes of Publisher's Weekly from 1979 until 1982. In the London Review of Books, a semimonthly publication, Peter Campbell reviewed the book during October of 1979. Other inadvertent promotion for the book included the searches for the hidden jewel, many of which went unrecorded.

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

Masquerade was never performed in any other media, perhaps as a result of the importance of the illustrations to the point of the story.

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

Masquerade was translated into Chinese: Publication info: T'ai-pei shih: Huang kuan tsa chih she, 1981 Also, there was one Japanese edition, however, no publisher is listed, only the fact that it was published in 1981.

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A

Searches in Publisher's Weekly and The British Catalogue of Periodicals did not indicate that this work was serialized.

15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A

One quasi-sequel was the explanation to the riddle that Masquerade presented to the public: London: Jonathan Cape, 1982. Masquerade, The Treasure Hunt of the Century. Kit Williams, 46 pgs. This book includes the author's explanation for his riddle and Mr. William's sources for the book's premise. It was priced at thirty-five dollars.

Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

English-born artist and subsequent author, Kit Williams, arrived at his success in a seemingly roundabout manner, however, with one look at the vibrant photos of this obviously eclectic male, it is no wonder that his work became such an obsession for Americans in the early eighties. Born in 1946 at Romney Marshes in Kent, England and raised there until he was a late teenager, Kit Williams loved the atmosphere of his childhood. Leaving only to pursue service in the Royal Navy from 1961 until 1965, Williams masterfully bled much of his figurative landscape into his riddle-ridden novel Masquerade. Surprisingly though, few didactic figures from his childhood supposed that he would write a book. Williams comments that at eleven people believed, " ' ?little Kit Williams could neither read nor write and was headed for digggin' and double diggin'" (Shenker 119). Later he realized that he was dyslectic. The oppression that this disability caused led Williams to the navy where he thrived as an electronic repairman. It was there that he decided to become a philosopher, borrowing all volumes of Russell, Nietzsche, and Marx from the ship's library. After a careful four days of thought, Williams drew away from philosophy and decided that pacifism was more fitting and that the job of civilian was better suited for his reclusive nature. (Shenker 120) Once offered the job of illustrating a children's book by Tom Maschler of the publishing house of Jonathan Cape, Williams knew he was destined for more than a quiet lifestyle. The inspiration for Masquerade, which was published by Jonathan Cape in 1979 when he was thirty-three years old and by Schocken Books in 1980, grew out of Williams' passion for the unusual and his love for the treasure at the end of the rainbow. Williams coveted the idea of having a true treasure hunt for both children and adults: " 'I thought I'd do something for my lost childhood, and have a real buried treasure, real gold' " (Davidson 2). Indeed Williams desired for this undertaking to be "real'. The buried jewel is fashioned from real gold and the brief text along with the sixteen illustrations that constitute Masquerade took over three years to finish. So determined was this author that while he was holed up in his cottage in Horsley, England, his wife left him, got a divorce and remarried. Williams insists that the characters in his book started to speak to him: " ' That's when I started to go mad. You don't explode into madness, and it isn't painful. You slip into it pleasantly' " (Shenker 121). Whatever madness Williams encountered, he broke out of it in time to witness his ballooning success. While publishers and editors encouraged him to buy Porsches and expensive houses abroad, Williams preferred to settle into a beautiful, but modest house by an orchard with a stream: " I don't want to live abroad. I don't need the Porsche. I've got my little van, and it carries the firewood" (Shenker 124). While Williams relaxed in his cottage at 30 Bedford Square in London, the rest of the world went rampant grasping for clues in this complex novel. Although Williams asserts that any child could figure it out, it wasn't until 1982 that a certain Ken Thomas dug up the bejeweled golden hare at Ampthill Park in Bedfordshire, England. (Sheperd 44) Finally after thirty months of deciphering and deducing, Williams is out from under the piles of letters and questions which flooded his mailbox for three years and forced him to set up an answering service which masked his residence as a Chinese laundry. Ostensibly simple in Williams' mind, the clues are really too close to his heart for him to maintain any academic detachment from. In any case, Williams remains relieved at his orchard house in London, where the original draft still lies. In light of all the hype, the author retorts, " ' I'm a free man' " (Davidson 44). Works Consulted Anderson, S. H. "Hunt For a Golden Rabbit." New York Times 20 January 1980: 145-147. Davidson, Stephen. "Hare of the Dogged." Time 29 March 1982: 44. People Weekly. 18 June 1984: V 21 p 12(1). Shenker, Israel. "A Treasure Awaits Anyone Who Solves Masquerade Riddle." Smithsonian December 1980: 118-122.

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Kit Williams' Masquerade broke onto the American literary scene around the holiday season of 1980. Some of the first English reviews boasted this British born painter turned author as having written an adventure with, "?unique lure, and clever publisher's gimmick, to egg [buyers] on" (Economist 82). Early American reviews, too, focused on the jewel at the end of this maddening search as more calculated than fantastical: "The titilation of 'Masquerade' has converted Britain into arenas for shovels, metal detectors, helicopters, divining rods, and psychic mediums using everything from spirit writing to Tarot cards" (Dean 8). The concentration upon the lustrous jewel as the reason for book's success irked Williams, who openly despises gimmicks.(8) In an attempt to go beyond the obvious allure of this riddle, Susan Goodman cites Anthony Storr's explanation for the sudden uprising of interest: 'There are no more amazing countries left on which we can feast our imagination, and science has reduced our scope for fantasy. We love the magic element in fairy stories when we are young, and it seems we never really outgrow the need for it.' (Goodman 83) She goes on to cite one woman whose passion for the puzzle and the illustrations within led her to an interpretation including a parallel to the Bible and an general allegory for religion itself.(83) Of course this was not Williams' intent, but because the book was so obscure, other interpretations arose, thereby establishing another level of interest than mere greed. Because the book was in essence, a journey, most publicity ended after the jewel was found in 1982. However, when the gilded hare was found, reactions skyrocketed. Some highlights included: "To the relief-or perhaps the frustration- of thousands of disappointed seekers on both sides of the Atlantic, the jeweled 'Masquerade' rabbit has been found" (Borders 1). "The author of 'Masquerade', who recently described his book and the mania it had engendered as 'romantic, a modern day holy grail', called the discovery of his treasure, 'gorgeous news' " (Borders 8). On a deeper level, one commentator sought to characterize the search with an aspect of self-realization: Nowadays, nobody is prepared to stand up and pit their wits against the world. Racing, football pools, all have an element of chance. With 'Masquerade', a reader must rely on his or her own skill alone?I think all of us look back at famous people and think that we, too, have the ability to do something. And I think that it is to this hidden, rather heroic, side of human nature that 'Masquerade' appeals. (Sharp 27) In general, the book caused an amazing uproar, eliciting reaction from at least two continents. Perhaps the most telling assessment is that of the author himself who concluded a 1982 interview with a one-word evaluation: "?fabulous" (Anderson 1). Useful sources included: Anderson, Susan Heller. "Riddle-Ridden Hare Book is a Real Treasure." Chicago Tribune 13 Feb. 1980:1, 9. Borders, William. "The British Treasure Hunt for Jeweled Rabbit is Over." The New York Times 15 Mar. 1982: A1+. Dean, Paul. "He's Turning Great Britain Upside Down." The Los Angeles Times. 22 Oct. 1980:1,8. Goodman, Susan. "The Legend of the Golden Hare." The New York Times Magazine. 15 Nov. 1981. 82-85, 114. Sharp, David. "The Reward at the End of the Road." Publisher's Weekly 8 Aug. 1980. V218 p83. "Spadework." The Economist. 22 Dec. 1979: 81-2.

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

[Assignment 5 never submitted]

You are not logged in. (Sign in)