With the Winter Holidays already around us, the year 2022 is coming to a close and the year 2023 is beginning to unfold. In many other turnings of years — both recent ones as well as more distant ones seemingly behind the “wall of history” — this statement would, from an everyday point of view, be nothing extraordinary, indeed rather banal. In our times, however, this observing and unfolding comes highly charged, moving, and profound, entailing a deep sense of intuitive anticipation and overwhelming unpredictability. Without a doubt, any one of us could name more than a handful of examples or reasons for this. From the highest tribunals to everyday occurrences and impressions, the main recognition of our days is that the world is rapidly, intensely undergoing transformation on a scale and at a concentration unseen in this young, already explosive century. Rereading my last letter written in the shadow — or perhaps special light — of the pandemic lockdowns prolonged into 2021, the impression begs itself that we are now living through turbulent moments even more moving than the heavy, impactful months and years that dragged on back then. It is as if we are paddling in the face of another oceanic wave whose immensity is still yet to be revealed, yet whose first currents, foam, and impending crash can already be forcefully felt, as we ourselves feel both battered and refreshed after the last one. We can try to remain upright in the midst of this wave, or attempt to ride it, but either way we will all inevitably find ourselves moved to great depths, heights, and distances…
In the spirit of this “in-between”, I am writing to you on behalf of PRAV Publishing not only to wish you wonderful, blessed Holidays, and not only to sincerely thank you for making PRAV a part of your year(s) hitherto and here and now, but furthermore to share with you how PRAV has been weathering the waves and is moving forth to meet new waves, unfoldings, seasons, and years — with and hopefully exceeding your expectations and ours. As a youthful publishing house finding itself amidst the crashes of waves and endeavoring to make our own as well as bring into relief others’, our greatest source of perseverance is you, our readers, writers, thinkers and subscribers. Therefore, without further ado, I invite you to reflect on what has become, what is underway, and what is still to come under the aegis of PRAV Publishing…
Nearly three years have passed since our public appearance. In this time, with a small yet grand and steadfast team of diverse, passionate volunteers spread out across multiple continents, we have published nine books and will soon, in the first month of 2023, release our tenth. This statement is not a celebration of quantity — after all, many other comparable and admirable publishing houses have released many more titles in even shorter spans of time. Rather, this is a testimony to quality and vision. As this quality comes into relief with greater quantity, it bears clarifying what exactly this “quality” means and how we judge it.
PRAV’s philosophy and publishing criteria are at once rigorous and open. Two of the key words articulated in our still unaltered, original mission statement are “Thought” and “Being”. These words can (as they have in the history of philosophy) be beheld as at once the most meaningful or the most “ambiguous” or “indefinite”, as the most moving or the most “motionless”, as the most frontal and orientational yet the most “indirect” or “directionless”. PRAV aims to publish works which thematize and exemplify what it means to think and exist in our time yet beyond it, to engage in posing and responding to the big questions of “What?”, “When?”, “Where?”, “Who?”, and “Why?”, to be transformative above and beyond being informative. Our books “open” and “explore” topics above and beyond merely “covering” them. We aspire for the books and authors we publish to be profoundly truthful in the sense of the ancient Greek word for “truth”, aletheia, that is “un-concealing”, “dis-closing”, “dis-covering”, “un-forgetting”. There is no “subjectivity” or “objectivity” here, nor is there any “methodology” in the strict, blinding sense of the word. The Thinking and Being that PRAV seeks to bring to life on the pages of its books is a way of unveiling dimensions of the past, present, and future not as fixed pictures, but as 360-degree canvasses for exploration, for new and old perspectives, and for appreciating the alternating clarity and mystery of Thinking and Being in the world around us.
A great Italian publisher, translator, and author once suggested that a publishing house’s publications should be seen as chapters in a single book. Especially in PRAV’s case, this is thought-provoking. How, for example, can we read Askr Svarte’s immense study and radical manifesto, Polemos, as a chapter in the same book of life alongside Galina De Roeck’s tell-all memoir, The Door in the Nightmare: From the Russian Revolution to Pax Americana? No less intriguingly, how can one read the tales and visions of Boris Nad’s The Reawakening of Myth alongside the geopolitical analyses of his After the Virus: The Rebirth of a Multipolar World? How can the academic research of Roman Shizhensky’s Slavic Paganism Today: Between Ideas and Practice be read “between the same covers” as the soul-searching essays of the Foundations of Eurasianism series? What Thought and Being emerges and seizes us between such diverse titles and concerns? This is not a mere thought-experiment or exercise in intellectual masturbation which a publisher leisurely reflects upon or employs to provoke book sales or “mystify” readers. This is a question of our times, in which questioning is the first and foremost undertaking on the agenda. We do not need to take ourselves as some kind of singular barometer to appreciate the fact that our times, and all the horizons that are emerging and receding before us, have brought these books together for reasons no less mysterious than the path that brought you and us into the present and “conversing” about this here and now. The meaning of this is not something that we have planned or named like so many other publishing houses seeking to advocate, however subtly or unsubtly, one or another agenda or “market”, but rather is something uniquely happening, something which we at PRAV believe can and will be revealed only in concert with you, as you hear these books saying something that is experienced as unavoidable, inspiring, challenging, and therefore authentic and truthfully engaging, as we ourselves heard in receiving and preparing such works for publication. Why else, after all, are worthy books truly meant to be written, published, and read? Posing this question and responding to it does not belong to us or to you, but to the “in-between” in which we all find and seek ourselves in the world, in the midst of making sense of it all on our own and with each other. I have no doubt that somewhere and sometime in history someone has said something to the effect that “the world is one big book still being written, read, and published…”
That being said, you, we at PRAV, and books are, of course, not purely or merely bouts of philosophizing and wondering about ourselves and the world, but are concrete, embodied, changing facets, deeds, and relationships. Accordingly, I wish to move with you on to the facts of our doings.
Since my last letter, PRAV Publishing has released five new books: Galina De Roeck’s The Door in the Nightmare: From the Russian Revolution to Pax Americana, Askr Svarte’s Polemos II: Pagan Perspectives, Boris Nad’s After the Virus: The Rebirth of a Multipolar World, the somewhat belated but by all means timely Foundations of Eurasianism – Volume II, and most recently Xantio Ansprandi’s Eurasian Universism: Sinitic Orientations for Rethinking the Western Logos. In the new year, we will be releasing Askr Svarte’s Tradition and Future Shock: Visions of a Future that Isn’t Ours.
Alongside this increase in book publications, PRAV has had the honor and pleasure of expanding our outreach, collaboration, and projects along a number of avenues. In particular, I wish to highlight and express thoughtful thanks to “the world’s most unusual magazine”, New Dawn, whose pages have hosted PRAV members and authors and whose editors have generously made PRAV’s titles more known and accessible to readers in Australia, New Zealand, and beyond. Alongside the latter, PRAV’s publications and perspectives have been promoted by the PRAV Perspectives newsletter digest, launched in February 2022. The sheer volume of the first waves of subscribers to this unique community send-out was a gratifying, encouraging surprise, and we look forward to increasing the regularity and content of the newsletter in the incoming future.
Moreover, reporting on the launch of PRAV Perspectives in particular and PRAV Publishing’s development in general would be incomplete without paying due respects to the contributions of PRAV’s recently appointed Assistant Editor, Lucas Griffin. As Editor-in-Chief, it is both my duty and my pleasure to introduce Mr. Griffin to our readers and friends as an indispensable addition to PRAV’s standing team. Having previously contributed as a consultant on PRAV’s launch and as an editor of our very first titles in the likes of Askr Svarte’s Polemos and Boris Nad’s The Reawakening of Myth, Mr. Griffin’s spearheading of the launch of PRAV Perspectives and his newfound role and responsibility as PRAV’s Assistant Editor have already led to new, unprecedented horizons, including the publication of Xantio Ansprandi’s Eurasian Universism as well as an especially exciting forthcoming project which I am glad to foreshadow here and now: the initiation of a PRAV series subtitled Studies in Traditionalism and Traditions.
New horizons are also emerging out of further collaboration with PRAV’s first published author, Askr Svarte (Evgeny Nechkasov). Thanks to Askr Svarte, the year 2023 will be remembered not only for the release of his Tradition and Future Shock, a work so radical that it has hitherto been accessible only in private circulation, but also for the launch of Weisswerk International, an artistic project based in the heart of Siberia whose sculptures and other artworks will in 2023 finally become internationally available through PRAV’s distribution. A glimpse into the newfound Weisswerk’s beautiful handmade crafts was first unveiled to the Anglophone world in the first issue of PRAV Perspectives, yet many of our readers and friends became aware and supportive of this rising project most recently with my private announcement that PRAV Publishing supported their creation of the Daria Platonova Dugina memorial bust. This point brings us to a moment of silence, reflection, and then carrying on in reinvigorated spirit.
Alas, it is a still deeply painful yet now duly accepted fact of the time since my last letter that PRAV has gone through the bitter, unforgettable loss of a person and soul dear to us. The philosopher, journalist, and artist Daria Platonova Dugina, cruelly and cowardly murdered on the night of 20 August 2022, was not only a beloved friend and source of inspiration to some of PRAV’s members and authors, but was also one of the first people on this planet to know of and support PRAV Publishing in its earliest phase of envisioning. Allow me to share that, by the will of coincidence and/or fate, my unexpectedly last conversation with Daria happened to be about the release of Boris Nad’s After the Virus: The Rebirth of a Multipolar World, whose subtitle names one of the causes to which Daria’s life, and ultimately her death, was dedicated in Thought and Being, in writing and in deed, in her own personhood and in her relationship with others. In unison with the Foundations of Eurasianism series editor John Stachelski, the second volume featured a dedication to Daria. With our modest resources and efforts, PRAV will always strive to live up to the stature of friends who have bestowed upon us their blessing and example. Being in the world of publishing, I find it appropriate to quote two remarks once uttered by Daria’s father. The first is: “I don’t think books are created just so that they must be read. Some books are simply sweet to have, some are for shredding, some are for tossing, some are for avoiding. Texts, thoughts, phrases, languages, and dictionaries are forests and fields of ideas, numerous populations, and figures… Books are like frozen birds — they want the fire of our eyes, but you never know who wants the fire of our eyes…Wooden artifacts, the fumes of sacred beech, the shafts of poisonous yew, bushes of lines…These are dangerous things…” The second is: “My biography is my bibliography.”
These words are by all means truthfully expressive of an authentic, original publishing house. At the same time, biographies and bibliographies require more than the mere presence of books alone; they come about hand-in-hand with refined (re-)presentation. Looking ahead into 2023, the new year will see the launch of PRAV‘s brand new website and online bookstore, a much-needed and, allow me to say, much-deserved fruition for our own operations as well as readers’ convenience and our common aesthetic fulfillment.
In light of these projects that we have presented and made present, those promising to come, as well as those still unexpected and yet to present themselves, PRAV is not only expanding, but is intensifying. As the reaches of our projects and the rows of our library grow, so too is the core and spirit of our work becoming more steadfast in its vision and realization. Our projects, our books, our authors, our members and contributors, and our readers are diverse, multipolar, multi-genre, multi-lingual, trans-continental, inter-civilizational, and inter-generational. Behind and throughout this multiplicity is the unifying affirmation that History has not ended. On the contrary, History is beginning again after a few decades of illusions, and hitherto Histories are being rediscovered and reconsidered. Historic beginnings have often begun with reading, writing, and thinking. As the world transforms and History unfolds, we, too, are transforming alongside what we read, write, and think. If PRAV’s productions and productivity have in any sense unsettled and inspired you and your relationship to the past, present, and future, then our work has not only not been in vain, but has just begun.
On behalf of PRAV Publishing and all of our contributors and friends, I wish you merry, cathartic Holidays and a promising New Year. In big and small things and ways, we recognize and are thankful for your continued interest and confidence in our endeavor. Let us venture ever further together into the words and worlds to which no other media are more authentically insightful than books, whose (Hi)stories have an awe-inspiring way of never ending…
With best wishes, thoughts, and thanks,
27 December 2022