The Chemical Wedding by Christian Rosencreutz

John Crowley et al.

November 8, 2016

A new edition celebrating the 400th anniversary of one of the most outlandish stories in Western literature. With new illustrations.

A Romance in Eight Days
Johann Valentin Andreae

In a new version
John Crowley

Illustrated by Theo Fadel.
Designed by Jacob MacMurray.

The Chemical Wedding will be published in 2016 on the 400th anniversary of its first publication. More information will be forthcoming soon as we at Small Beer Press hammer down details about this unique project and the Kickstarter we are going to run in May to support publishing it in these following states:

1) 26 lettered copies

  • Signed by the author and the artist and designer.
  • Includes a tipped in sheet of the Wedding Invitation handwritten by the author.
  • Accompanied by a unique woodcut print numbered 1-26 by the illustrator.
  • Slipcased.

2) 200 numbered numbered copies

  • Signed by the author and the artist and designer.
  • Accompanied by a unique woodcut print by the artist numbered 27-226 by the illustrator
  • Slipcased.

3) A trade cloth edition: 9781618731081.

4) A trade paper edition: 9781618731081 · $16. Available in November in all good bookstores.

5) An ebook: 9781618731081 · $9.95. Available through the Kickstarter and then in November through all good bookstores.

Often described as an alchemical allegory, John Crowley instead decided this is “the first science fiction novel.” After all “it’s fiction; it’s about the possibilities of a science; and it’s a novel.” No matter what else it might be, it’s definitely “one of the great outlandish stories in Western literature.” Illustrated throughout with weird and fascinating woodcuts by Theo Fadel.

From the Introduction:

The Chemical Wedding by Christian Rosencreutz was published in Germany in 1616 . . . It was presented as the work of . . . Christian Rosencreutz, or Christian of the Rose-Cross, a mysterious magus who died at the age of 106 in 1484 after a lifetime of traveling the world being inducted into the wisdom societies of several lands and forming his own secret society of wise brothers. . . . These little books, plus The Chemical Wedding, which is a very different affair, became the foundation of what has ever after been known as the Rosicrucian phenomenon, or movement, or scare, or hoax. (The Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rose-Cross, or “Rosicrucian Order,” is a modern fraternity founded in 1915 and related only in name to the older one.)”

Praise for John Crowley’s books:

“Crowley is generous, obsessed, fascinating, gripping. Really, I think Crowley is so good that he has left everybody else in the dust.” —Peter Straub

“Ambitious, dazzling, strangely moving, a marvelous magic-realist family chronicle.” — Washington Post

“A master of language, plot and characterization, Crowley triumphs in this occult and Hermetic tale, at once naturalistically persuasive and uncannily visionary.” —Harold Bloom

“Like a magus, John Crowley shares his secrets generously, allowing us to believe that his book is revealing the true and glorious nature of the world and the reader’s own place within it.” —Village Voice

“[Crowley] transforms the lead of daily life into seriously dazzling artistic gold.” —Newsday

“So rich and so evocative and so authentic.” —Tom Brokaw

“[An] intricate and stylish romp … both a Gothic extravaganza and a picaresque adventure.” —New York Times Book Review

“An eerily authentic simulation of Romantic literature … beautiful.” — Boston Globe

“Though it’s an impertinent undertaking, it’s also a beautiful success.” —Seattle Times

“A complex, nested novel of literary and biographical reconstruction … A stunning, rewarding work.” —Vancouver Sun

About the Author

John Crowley was born in the appropriately liminal town of Presque Isle, Maine, in 1942, his father then an officer in the US Army Air Corps. He grew up in Vermont, northeastern Kentucky and (for the longest stretch) Indiana, where he went to high school and college. He moved to New York City after college to make movies, and did find work in documentary films, an occupation he still pursues. He published his first novel (The Deep) in 1975, and his 16th volume of fiction (Four Freedoms) in 2009. Since 1993 he has taught creative writing at Yale University. In 1992 he received the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He finds it more gratifying that almost all his work is still in print.

About the Illustrator

Since illustrating The Chemical Wedding Theo Fadel has discovered she is the eleventh great grandniece of Robert Fludd who defended the Rosy Cross manuscripts in 1616. He mentions building his own wooden robots and other things impossible by “mere mathematics without the co-operation of natural magic.” Theo lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts with her spouse Ruth and four cats in a charmingly old house that stands by natural magic. A native Charlottean and enthusiastic somnambulist, she grew up within a half mile of PTL’s broadcast studio and Billy Graham’s mother, watching Star Trek and Batman in a Peter Max bathrobe. When science sacrificed the moon program she turned to Dungeons & Dragons. She has a BA in Archeology from Bryn Mawr College and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University. She studied drawing, sculpture and painting at the Art Students League, NYC, while working in an old German cabinet shop. Her first day there an aged Austrian said “One hundred years and you’re the first woman we’ve seen.” Currently her studio is in Easthampton, her website is, and she’s been in Massachusetts less than a hundred years. This is the first book she has illustrated.

About the Designer

Jacob McMurray is the Senior Curator at Seattle’s EMP Museum, where he has organized over twenty exhibitions. He also dabbles in graphic design, focusing on books and print ephemera. McMurray lives in Seattle with his wife, two daughters, two cats, three chickens, and 50,000 honeybees.

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