David R. Godine, Publisher

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David R. Godine, Publisher
FounderDavid R. Godine
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationBoston
Publication typesBooks
ImprintsBlack Sparrow
Official websitewww.godine.com

David R. Godine, Publisher is an American book publishing company, founded in 1970 in Boston, Massachusetts.[1]


The company's founder, David R. Godine, was a graduate of Roxbury Latin School,[2] Dartmouth College[3] (class of 1966), and the Harvard Graduate School of Education[4] who had worked for artist Leonard Baskin and printer Harold McGrath, but who had no publishing experience when he opened his printing shop in 1970 in a barn in Brookline, Massachusetts.[5] Many of the early titles were fine letterpress editions, using a 40" Kelly-3 flatbed reciprocating letterpress with three form rollers. These early editions include Arthur Freeman's Assays of Bias, Andrew Marvell's Garden (printed on a Vandercook press #20), and Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and A Plea for Captain John Brown. The company has since grown to become a well-regarded, small, general trade publisher.[6]

By 1975, the firm had abandoned letterpress printing and decided to focus entirely on publishing. The early lists set the tone for the company's focuses, concentrating primarily on fiction (especially in translation), biography, photography, the history of printing and the graphic arts, and children's books. Over the next thirty years, a number of series were created. The Nonpareil Books collection, which now numbers over a hundred titles in print, brings back neglected works; over its life the series has revived books by writers such as Donald Hall, William Maxwell, Francis Steegmuller, George Orwell, Laurie Lee, Will Cuppy, Flora Thompson and Gerald Durrell. The Verba Mundi series concentrates on translations of foreign fiction and has included the work of Dino Buzzati, Robert Musil, Georges Perec, J.M.G. Le Clézio and Patrick Modiano. The Imago Mundi series of finely printed illustrated books, primarily photography, has promoted work by artists such as Paul Caponigro, George Tice, Angus McBean and Jean Cocteau. The small-format Pocket Paragons concentrate on illustrated books by authors and artists including Marie Angel, William Heath Robinson, Lotte Jacobi and Margaret Bourke-White. Godine's children's list includes authors and illustrators such as William Steig, Mary Azarian, Barbara McClintock, Joe McKendry and Edward Ardizzone. Every year the firm issues between twenty and forty new titles and also reprints roughly the same number.

As of 2009, the company had 700 volumes in print.[7]

Both the press and its authors have won awards over the years, including the W.A. Dwiggins Award in 1984, the Boston Globe Literary Press Award in 1987, and the first New England Booksellers Annual Award in 1989.[6] Two authors published by Godine have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature: J.M.G. Le Clézio (2008) and Patrick Modiano (2014). Le Clézio's book The Prospector appeared in 1993 as the first book in Godine's Verba Mundi imprint. Godine published Le Clézio's novel Désert in spring 2009,[8] and also released a 2013 translation of Le Clézio's The African.[9]

Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford, reissued by Godine in 2008 as part of its Nonpareil imprint, was the basis for a BBC television series that aired on PBS in the United States with marketing tie-ins between the series and Godine's book.[8]

In 2002, John Martin sold the rights, remaining stock, and backlist of certain titles for Black Sparrow Press to the Godine firm. This did not include Black Sparrow's most popular authors, however: Charles Bukowski, John Fante, Wyndham Lewis, and Paul Bowles.[10][11] Since that time, the editors at Godine have added authors Eddie Chuculate, Kenneth Burke, Daniel Fuchs, and Linda Bamber to the Black Sparrow imprint; brought several titles by Charles Reznikoff back into print; and continued to publish and republish existing Black Sparrow authors such as Wanda Coleman and Lyn Lifshin.


  1. ^ Robert Dana, Against the Grain: Interviews with Maverick American Publishers (University of Iowa Press, 2009), ISBN 978-1587298943, pp. 227ff. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  2. ^ F. Washington Jarvis, With Love and Prayers: A Headmaster Speaks to the Next Generation (David R. Godine, Publisher, 2000), ISBN 978-1567922332, p. xxiii. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  3. ^ David R. Godine, "The Art of the Book – A Collector's Choice", Dartmouth College Library Bulletin (April 1995).
  4. ^ "Boston Bookman", Fine Books and Collections (Fall 2010).
  5. ^ "Start the presses", The Boston Globe, May 2, 2010  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  6. ^ a b http://www.godine.com/show.asp?id=4
  7. ^ DC Dennison, "Another shot at shelf life ; Publishers delighted as Google draws eyes and buyers to forgotten volumes", The Boston Globe, October 3, 2009  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  8. ^ a b Judith Rosen, " First Nobel, Now TV Tie-In for Godine", Publishers Weekly, March 2, 2009.
  9. ^ "Nobelist Evokes His Father's Remarkable Life", The Washington Post, September 26, 2013  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). ("For many years now, the publishing house of David R. Godine has been producing some of the most attractive books of our time. Witness this little volume of reminiscences by J.M.G. Le Clézio, the recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature. While nowhere near as grand as some of those earlier Godine publications focusing on art and book history, "The African" reveals a comparable attention to detail....")
  10. ^ Judith Rosen, "Godine Readying Black Sparrow Imprint", Publishers Weekly, May 09, 2003.
  11. ^ Tim Rutten, "Plot in the Black Sparrow Saga Takes Unexpected Turn: Boston-based publisher agrees to take over California house's distinguished backlist." Los Angeles Times, August 21, 2002.