What you hold in your hands is the culmination of many years' searching, scrutiny and collection. In many cases, this process involved --- unfortunately --- outright theft, because material relating to the great novelist A. E. Vithano is sometimes considered too sensitive for public consumption.
Who I am is not important. What I have tried to do has been to assemble as complete a body of Vithano's writing as possible, so as to create a fair appraisal of the great novelist's achievement. Great reputations are hard to find; but Vithano seemed to have a natural knack for this --- by the time of his final disappearance, Vithano had acquired as many as three or four, each known the world over. Many of these must have been unfair, or downright irrelevant to our understanding of the man's stature in the literary world --- such as those to do with his supposed participation in underground societies dealing in sexual perversities. No doubt the ascribing of Gentle Beast to his authorship (a charge he vehemently denied time and again) and his being arrested on charges of rape in 1979 (he was released only three days later) went some way to cement that image, but these are irrelevant to our present study.
Vithano occupies a remarkable position in the history of English literature as much for his enigmatic personality as his pioneering achievements in shaping the future of the English novel. He wrote very little in a career that spanned twenty years, but every now and then he threw himself into his work with almost violent intensity. Among the products of these spurts of energy are the prose-works Soul, Sigh and I, Alone, as well as his single volume of poetry As if We've Not Had Enough. However, because Vithano was apt to express his genius most lucidly in the most inappropriate places (rumor has it that he first hit upon his theory of hyperhetorics while chatting with a prostitute in a pub) and notoriously lazy in writing authoritative volumes for the benefit of scholarship, most major critics have dismissed the importance of his novels to our understanding of his achievements as only secondary. Vithano took to scribbling bits and pieces of his theories on separate notebooks and papers, depending on which turned out to be within immediate reach. This has posed obvious problems to scholars, something this present project hopes to rectify.
The contents of this box are divided into four major categories: newspaper reports, critics' response to his work, some letters of Vithano's own writing (Vithano never included dates in his writing, making this task even more difficult), and other miscellaneous scribblings that were never published because Vithano probably never intended them to be (which might, nevertheless prove important). I have included others' commentary on Vithano's life and work, so these may be compared with Vithano's more self-reflexive writing. Some way must be found whereby these separate documents may be pieced in a coherent pattern, so as to create a fair representation of Vithano's life.
I have not included Vithano's printed works, as these are readily available in any good library or bookstore. The reader who is interested in the Vithano of those books must do his own work in that respect. What this project wishes to accomplish is to re-create the real Vithano, not his popular ghost.
Someone else, however, must accomplish this grand project. I am sure the man I see everyday sitting in the park my window overlooks is one of the police. My landlady has told me that someone new has just moved into the room opposite mine --- I must be wary of him as well. Still, I believe my arrest to be merely a matter of time. I have put this case in a safe place, and my life's work in the hands of fate. Perhaps you were meant to find this case and complete my work for me. Or perhaps you are just one of the police. In that case, damn you.