Our Founding

Cluny Media was born from the love for Catholic tradition shared by two families: the Dornays and the Clarkes. In the summer of 2013, Gellert Dornay and Leo Clarke began an earnest examination of the widespread diminished interest in and appreciation for the root sources of Catholic learning and culture.

Eventually all the examination and discussion yielded a concrete goal: the formation of a publishing house dedicated to preserving and promoting the Catholic literary and intellectual traditions. With financial investment and mission formation from the Dornay family and business development and management from the Clarke clan, Cluny Media was formally established in September 2015.

Over the course of the next fifteen months, Leo and Kathleen Clarke, backed by the support of the Dornays, built up Cluny, refining its business plan, its acquisition strategy, and its creative process. The results were eighteen books in the catalog, an emergent presence in the cottage industry of Catholic books, and sufficient promise for the future that Gellert, Leo, and Kathleen, with a strong sense of duty done, were ready to pass the baton.

Thus, in January 2017, editor-in-chief John Emmet Clarke and chief financial officer Scott Thompson assumed ownership and operation of the company, and in the subsequent months have developed a catalog of one hundred-plus titles, recruited numerous award-winning authors and contributors, and established Cluny as a force to be reckoned with, not only in publishing but also in the work of historical preservation.

Our Philosophy and Our Process

Our publishing philosophy is simple: A book, from cover to cover, should be an artifact, a work of art. Because our business is primarily to take the old and make it new, this philosophy demands a particular, careful process. Unlike the facsimile “republications” of other, similarly motivated publishers, Cluny editions are restorations. The restorative spirit especially animates the production and design elements of the publishing process.

Every Cluny edition begins with the acquisition of the original work, which is then digitized and closely edited, with errata corrected and editorial notes provided as necessary. The manuscript is then freshly typeset, oftentimes in close reference to the original typeface styles, weights, and glyphs. Our attention to the original is borne, not from a slavish adherence to the past, but from a belief that any restoration worth its salt is duty-bound to refresh, repair, and reinforce the original construction.

Contra conventional wisdom, everyone judges a book by its cover. Cluny embraces that. Our design team (CLARKE & CLARKE) crafts our covers from its meticulously curated, expansive portfolio of artwork, which ranges from medieval manuscript illuminations and the abstractions of Malevich to the watercolor studies of Cézanne and the oil paintings of Mondrian, as well as commissions from contemporary artists. The cover artwork of each Cluny edition is selected for its capacity to capture the sense of the book and its power to represent visually what is expressed verbally. The results are unfailingly arresting and bold, compelling invitations to take and read.

It is with the reading of books the same as with looking at pictures; one must, without doubt, without hesitations, with assurance, admire what is beautiful.

~ Vincent Van Gogh