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a498:Re: a319: Corbett comments on Leah Gordon's new book: THEBOOK OF VODOU: CH... (Leah Gordon replies

From: Leahgordon@aol.com

I would like to respond to Bob Corbett's comments about my book and would
like to explain the story behind truely terrible sub-title and defend the
book against the accusations of harm and denigration - I was commissioned to
write an introductory book about Vodou by a packager in London - a packager
is an intermediary in the publishing industry - they work with the author,
designer and art director and produce the template for the book which is then
sold on to various publishers around the world - they are a rather modern
phenomena in the world of publishing and I was not aware of the implications
they held for my work - I was glad of the chance to explain Vodou in plain
and simple terms and to illustrate it with lush examples of Haitian art and
in no way wanted to produce an after dinner do-it-yourself Vodou spell
cookbook - the publisher asked for a number of charms that are in use in
common Vodou practice - all of these charms are already published in one form
or another - and you will find them in such serious tomes as 'Voodoo in
Haiti' by Alfred Metraux and 'Secrets of Voodoo' by Milo Rigaud. There is
also a authors disclaimer in the front of the book that these charms mean
nothing outside of Haitian Vodou religious practice. I did not imply in any
of the book that these charms are the mainstay of Vodou practice, to the
contrary I emphasise that ceremony is at the core of Haitian Vodou. As to the
sub-title well this was a surprise to me and one which they did not tell me
about until the final proof - these are the problems when a packager is
desperate to sell the book to a publisher which then has its own economic
perogatives - I had a simple choice after having worked very hard at writing
and producing this book - I could have had my name taken off it - the
publisher didn't care - they felt that they had conceded enough with the
spelling of Vodou which was a long and tedious battle before I had even
signed the contract - unfortunately after all the work I had done, and
because I was quite proud of my writing in the book, the look of the book and
the structure, my ego got the better of me and I left my name on the book and
decided to weather the storm for better or for worse. This is obviously an
example of the worse.
I must re-iterate though that the charms are not fabricated by myself but
discovered through reading other books on Vodou which are well respected. My
heart sinks every time I see the sub-title from hell - but I do think that
the book is an accessible and colourful introduction to Haitian Vodou.