Athalinthia: Seven Stories (W.A. Dwiggins)


Produced entirely in New England, this book is filled with delights. It comes straight from the imagination and heart of W.A. Dwiggins, one of the great visual artists of the twentieth century. Wise and witty stories written by Dwiggins, accompanied by more than a hundred of his fanciful illustrations. He tried to get this published in 1928, but never succeeded. Now, nearly 100 years later, Bruce Kennett has done it for him. And in these troubling times, stories such as these are a comfort for all of us to have on our bookshelves.

Although Dwiggins is best known for his work in graphics and puppetry, he also wrote essays, satire, and fiction. Many people are unfamiliar with this aspect of his work. He was recognized for this talent early on: one of his pieces was chosen for Houghton Mifflin’s annual compilation, Best Short Stories of 1915.

From 1910 to 1926, Dwiggins created a series of stories about an imaginary place he named Athalinthia, and the people who lived there. A place perhaps akin to Persia a thousand years ago, or Uzbekistan in the 1920s . . . he never said. He drew and painted more than 100 pictures expressly for these. This is WAD at his most fanciful, his most personal.

In 1928, after nearly twenty years of writing and picture-making, Dwiggins tried valiantly to get his stories published in one volume. He designed the book, made a dummy, and shopped it around to publishing houses. He had no luck. Discouraged, WAD put his Athalinthia project aside. Thankfully, Dwiggins biographer Bruce Kennett picked it up and saw it through to the end. A remarkable achievement and a pure delight. 

  • Author: W.A. Dwiggins
  • Afterword: Bruce Kennett
  • Size: 5.75 × 7.5 inches 
  • Pages: 256
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Püterschein-Hartland, 2023