“The pamphlet is a one-man show. One has complete freedom of expression, including, if one chooses, the freedom to be scurrilous, abusive, and seditious; or, on the other hand, to be more detailed, serious and ‘high-brow’ than is ever possible in a newspaper or I most kinds of periodicals. At the same time, since the pamphlet is always short and unbound, it can be produced much more quickly than a book, and in principle, at any rate, can reach a bigger public. Above all, the pamphlet does not have to follow any prescribed pattern. It can be in prose or in verse, it can consist largely of maps or statistics or quotations, it can take the form of a story, a fable, a letter, an essay, a dialogue, or a piece of ‘reportage.’ All that is required of it is that it shall be topical, polemical, and short.”
-George Orwell, in an introduction to the British Pamphleteer
The fifth in a series of Free Informational Pamphlets is fresh off the press and about to go out into the world. Produced with the good graces of the Paper Fox Printmaking Workshop at Lawrence University, and the kind support of Benjamin D. Rinehart and his students, Escapism for Amateurs is an investigation of the life and times of Harry Houdini, favorite son of Appleton, Wisconsin and pioneer in the realm of escapologists, who built his career on demonstrating the ability to escape from a huge variety of restraints and difficult situations. Escapologists escape from handcuffs, straitjackets, cages, coffins, steel boxes, barrels, bags, burning buildings, fish tanks, and other perils, often in combination. The possibility of failure and death thrills their audiences.
Escapism for Amateurs includes a graphic timeline detailing the life and times of Harry Houdini in an international context. Produced in an edition of 82, half the edition is going back to Appleton, Harry’s childhood home, to support the activities of Paper Fox, and the other half is going in the mail to lucky selected recipients. Huzzah!