Sunday, July 23, 2006


Weekend Stubble is back, with three scintillating posts. On the To Do list today: pick up a copy (how? where?) of Fine Books and Collections, in which Paolo Collins—the World Cup victor nation's favorite author—has a piece on . . . you guessed it . . . Harry Stephen Keeler!

He also makes a good point about antiquarian booksellers' catalogues as "brilliantly practical guides to literature, written by people who live and breathe old book," and forwards a modest proposal. I'm far from well-versed in the book-catalogue game, but years ago I picked up, for pennies, two catalogues edited by Norman L. Dodge and published by Goodspeed's book shop in Boston, one dating from 1939, the other from 1958. They're full of vivid, jaunty descriptions (as well as tantalizing reproductions)—to have a full run of these catalogues would be amazing.

"Back in 1929, the kind of year that men forget, or would like to, the bookmen who composed the Quarto Club printed a second volume of Papers, containing eight bibliographical diversions read at meetings in 1927–28 . . . "

A quote from one 1925 title on offer,S. Foster Damon's A Note on the Discovery of a New Page of Poetry in William Blake's Milton ($10!): "Time and time again he flung out feelers in conversation, to ascertain his companion's receptivity; yet to none, whether adoring disciple or open enemy, did he explain his books. Such brave reticence, such faith in the future, may yet be rewarded. The public has already veered his way. It is not one of the least miracles in the life of that man who knew nothing but miracles."

"While we are talking about the War Between the States—and about half of the book readers and collectors seem to be doing just that—here are some more colorful prints on the subject . . . "

"This is a little book about a controversy. It contains a literary matter over which knuckles have been wrapped [sic] and ink-pots flung. It concerns Mother Goose . . . "


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