E. R. Eddison: Bibliography

The Mezentian Gate

SS Number Description
Mez-A1 First Printing 1958















Full Title:

The Mezentian Gate


London, the Curwen Press, 1958.


Medium octavo, 9¼ in. x 5½ in.; green cloth, gilt lettering and decorations on spine, front cover blank; all edges trimmed. Spine: [lettered up the spine] [ all enclosed in a single ruled box with double rules on the ends, decorations at front and read] The Mezentian Gate | E. R. EDDISON (see image above).


The endpapers shown are the front ones. The image is mirrored on the rear endpapers.

Eddison died in 1945. This, the last book in the Zimiamvian trilogy to be written, was left unfinished at his death. When he died, much of the book had been completed and there were substantial outlines of some of the chapters yet unfinished, as well as an "Argument with Dates'" similar to (but more elaborate than) the one that follows the narrative of The Worm Ouroboros. In a letter to his brother, written in November 1944, Eddison stated that he felt that the book. as it then stood, had "enough unity and finality" and expressed his desire that, should he not live to complete it, The Mezentian Gate should be published "as it stands."

Decorations and illustrations were by Keith Henderson, Eddison's brother-in-law. The maps were made by Gerald Hayes and were previously published in other books of the trilogy. Eddison's original intention was to use a miniature portrait by El Greco as the frontispiece. In a letter to brother, Colin Rücker Eddison, published in this edition as Letter of Introduction, Eddison said

[I]t was painted circa 1596 , from a sitter who, so far as I know, has not been identified. But I think it was painted also in Memison: early July, A.Z.C. 775, of Fiorinda (act. 19), in her state, as lady of honour, the first of Barganax's many portraits of her.

Instead of using a reproduction of the El Greco painting, Henderson did a pen and ink realization (shown above), and this is what was finally used for the frontispiece.

The book was prepared for issue by his brother and his widow, Winifred Grace Eddison, and was finally issued in 1958. Sir Francis Meynell, Head of The Nonesuch Press, and Eddison's close friend Sir George Rostrever are also credited with assisting in its preparation for publication.