Title and statement of responsibility area
Muses’ Company Fonds
General material designation
- Textual record
- Graphic material
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Title statements of responsibility
- Source of title proper: Title based on the provenance of the fonds.
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Edition statement of responsibility
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- Muses' Company
Physical description area
3 m of textual records
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Archival description area
Name of creator
Poet Endre Farkas founded the Montreal-based press known as Muses’ Company in 1980. While Farkas was both the primary publisher and editor from 1980 to 1995, the Muses’ Company board members included Ken Norris and Ruth Taylor. The company promoted the growth of English poetry in Quebec and contributed to the expansion of Montreal’s literary community. Also affiliated with Montreal's Véhicule Press, Muses' Company offered a literary home for poets with a broad multicultural and avant-garde vision that included new and other voices such as those of lesser-known and experimental poets. Seeking to move the poem from page to stage, Muses’ Company also created poetry performances with dancers, actors, and composers. Muses’ Company remained a small independent press headquartered in Farkas’ basement. With the support of government funding, the Muses’ Company published approximately 30 books from 1980 to 1995. Farkas’ own Face-off (1980) was the first of several book-length poems. While making space for new voices, it also published some well-known Montreal poets, such as Ken Norris, and fiction writers, such as Kenneth Rudu, whose book, The cost of living (1987), was nominated for the 1998 Governor General's Award. Like other writer-run presses, the Muses’ Company encouraged a community of poets to be involved in all phases of their own and each other’s publications. Muses’ Company was bought by Manitoba-based J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing Inc. in 1995. Farkas served as an advisor editor for a year after the purchase. Under its new umbrella, the Muses’ Company press publishes titles from poets with established publishing records.
Scope and content
The fonds chiefly consists chiefly of records related to the editing and publishing work of the Muses' Company press. The fonds consists of seven series: manuscripts; financial records; publications; correspondence; records related to the Association des éditeurs anglophone de Québec; records relating to the Association of Canadian Publishers; and records relating to the Literary Press Group. Most of the records were either created or accumulated by Endre Farkas in relation to the Muses’ Co. publications between 1980 and 1995. Records relating to publishing include manuscripts of works, page proofs with corrections, editors’ and authors’ notes, published books, and publicity materials. Other production records within the fonds include correspondence, pamphlets, photographs, layouts, and drawings for covers. These manuscripts also often have accompanying materials including photos and correspondence, in particular for the Dance Agenda project. There is also correspondence including exchanges with authors such as Ken Norris, Kenneth Radu, Katharine Beeman, Elias Letelier-Ruz, Ian Stephans, and Sharon H. Nelson as well as notes to Leonard Cohen. The company's financial records in the fonds consist income tax receipts, statement of earnings, reports of sales of books, buyers, quotes, invoices, funding applications, contracts and correspondence. Notable financial records include book sales from the McGill University Bookstore, as well as the universities of Toronto, Waterloo, Calgary, and Maine. Other records include materials from the Association des éditeurs anglophone du Québec (1991-1994), the Canada Grant Council, the Association of Canadian Publishers, the Literary Press Group. Also represented is the Quanglo Tour itinerary including posters, postcards, and advertisements (1994-1995).
Immediate source of acquisition
McGill Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections received ten boxes of archival material from Endre Farkas in December 1995.
Materials have been preserved in the order in which they were received and original file titles retained.
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Language and script note
Records primarily in English, with some French, Spanish, Hungarian, and Slovenian. Some documents are bilingual (French-English and Slovenian-English).
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Finding aid prepared by Rachel Harris, Kimberly Beaufils, Raphaëlle Brousseau-Paradis, Rigel Rafuse, Kristen Frame, Felicia Pulo, Sasha Sanscartier and David Walker for McGill's GLIS 641 course, November 2017, and edited by Gordon Burr, August 2018.