Wishing book lovers everywhere a very Happy New Year!!
Cheers, Deb @ Bygone Books
Here is a compilation of tidbits ~ articles, booklists, blogs, etc that I have been storing up through Christmas week; some are now outdated, and also perhaps repeated elsewhere, but here they are ~ all things books, libraries, bookstores and blogging:
*An essay at the The New York Times on “You Never Know What You’ll Find in a Book” by Henry Alford
*An article on cookbooks in The Economist ~ “Pluck a Flamingo: What Cookbooks Really Teach Us”
*An article in the Wall Street Journal on “Rare Reads of the Green” about collecting golf books
*Another NYTimes article by David Streitfeld from Saturday December 27 on “Bargain Hunting for Books and Feeling Sheepish about it” – all about everybody and their grandmother buying and selling online.
*The BiblioHistoria blog lists the Globe and Mail’s choices for the 50 Greatest Books of all time with links to reviews
*A post from the New York Public Library Blog on The Creation of Christmas” about Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol
and another two titles of books about books are sited in this article at The Morning News
*Very Fine Books, a blog for the Easton Press books, posts on “The ‘Why’ of Book Collecting” and offers several must-have reference books for the collector, whether you are new to the game or a seasoned bibliophile [this blog has also changed its format and continues to add new articles daily: see the latest posts on the history of the book and printing...]
*A article by Hannah Merker at The Working Waterfront on Maine Books to Give (or receive) during the Holidays offers a fine booklist of books about or set in Maine
*Library Postcards, a blog that “represents a collection of postcards that focuses on libraries in the United States and throughout the world” ~ a great resource for the lover of libraries!
*Tate London will display William Blake’s 1809 show, a retrospective on the original 1809 showing
*Bizarre.com has posted Most Interesting Bookstores in the World
*Head over to GoodReads for quite a fine list of 627 “books about books”
*Join in on the Well-Seasoned Reader Challenge at the Book Nut blog (you must read books about food or travel)
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!
Deb @ Bygone Books
Today we celebrate Dickens A Christmas Carol , first published on December 19, 1843. Illustrated by John Leech, it was the first of Dickens’s Christmas stories, instantly successful, selling over 6,000 copies in a week. It also stimulated a revival of the Christmas traditions that we associate with Victorian England, many of which we still practice today. But it is the enduring story and character of Ebenezer Scrooge that remain with us through the years. I remember as a child the excitement of every Christmas Eve listening to the story and then watching the 1951 movie version on a 12″ black & white TV screen starring Alastair Sim, and can STILL get frightened even thinking about those dragging chains of Jacob Marley’s Ghost!
Dickens was very involved in the production of the book, an elaborate volume far superior to other works published at the time selling for only five shillings. The first edition, published by Chapman & Hall, had a russet binding blind-stamped with the title in gold, yellow endpapers, and a title page printed in blue and red [see above] (the latter has been changed after a “trial” printing, as Dickens was displeased with the original green endpapers and green and red title page….[I do, however see some discrepancy in the sources regarding this description and need to do further research...]
What is a first edition valued at today? A copy [see above image] just sold at the December 17, 2008 London Sotheby’s auction for 20,000 GBP. There are copies listed online for $14,500 – $37,500.
There are so many editions of A Christmas Carol, and so much written about Dickens and this, the first of his Christmas Stories, that I cannot do any justice to the resources. So I append only a few, along with several online links for more information:
THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS: How Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits, by Les Staniford. Crown, 2008. The newest book on the subject…
Hear, Michael Patrick, editor. The Annotated Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, illus. by John Leech. Avon, 1977. A facsimile text of the first edition, with reproductions of the hand-colored engravings and additional illustrations by Cruikshank, “Phiz,” Tenniel, and others; an extensive introduction by Hearn, notes, and bibliography. [reprinted in 2004]
Osborne, Allen. Facts about A Christmas Carol. London, Bradley, 1937.
Smith, Walter E. Charles Dickens in the Original Cloth. A Bibliographical Catalogue.. Part II. The Christmas Books and Selected Secondary Works. Los Angeles, Heritage Bookshop, 1983.
Online links ~ Text
Online Links ~ Select Sources
Have yourself a very Merry Christmas!
A few items of interest over the past few days ~ all things books, reading, and libraries…
*A PhiloBiblos post on the Libraries of Early America Project at Library Thing
*Winnie the Pooh books for sale at auction on December 15, 2008 by Bonhams, NYC. See this article at News-Antique.com for the details. [The item sold for $18,000] Sothebys London also had an auction today [December 17] with 41 Lots of Winnie the Pooh -related items for a total sale of 1,262,863 GBP
*Take a literary tour of Boston in this interactive map offered by the Boston Globe [with "Make Way for Ducklings" front and center...]
*An article at the Chronicle Review.com on the publication of the first volume of Susan Sontag’s journals: Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), edited by her son.
*Gary Kamiya at Salon.com on the 100th anniversary of Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows
*Two new Robert Burns poems (along with some “rude” letters) have been lately discovered and will head to auction in January 2009. See this article at Guardian.uk
*Nicholas Basbanes on his Fine Books & Collectibles Blog posts on the New York Society Library ~ he links to a decade-old article on the Library and its illustrious patrons by the late David Halberstam
I am a sucker for books about books, so when I happen upon one I buy it, almost without exception. I was in Montreal yesterday and visited the delightful Nicholas Hoare bookshop [on Greene St], and found the newly released Reading Matters: Five Centuries of Discovering Books by Margaret Willes. Yale University Press, 2008. Here is the first paragraph:
This book sets out to examine how people bought and acquired books over the past five hundred years, thus combining two of my favorite activities, shopping and reading. It is important to remember that books have until very recently been luxury items – and some indeed remain so. Therefore literate men and women who could not afford to buy books have had to borrow, share, acquire second-hand, inherit. Those who were not literate simply had no access apart from the oral tradition.
Willes then goes on to discuss the books and libraries of Bess of Hardwick and the Cavendish Family; the books of Samuel Pepys, Thomas Jefferson, Sir John Sloane, Charles Winn, and Denis and Edna Healey; and chapters on provincial libraries, fact and fiction in Georgian Britain (when I first picked up the book it opened to this page ~ wondered if this was some sort of plan!); books for working men and women, as well as an extensive bibliography and numerous illustrations throughout.
[cover illustration courtesy of the Advertising Archives]
Here is the review from Publisher’s Weekly:
Book collectors are an eccentric but persistent lot, as Willes shows in this history of the buying and selling of books. With an emphasis on Great Britain (one chapter is devoted to Thomas Jefferson), Willes, former publisher of the National Trust, tackles her subject with considerable learning and with a gusto atypical of a scholarly volume. Of especial interest are insights on Samuel Pepys’s diary entries on books acquired; the first memoir of an English bookseller in 1705, The Life and Errors of John Dunton; the significance of the spread of coffee houses in Britain during the 18th century (not unlike the Starbucks effect on the Internet generation); the 16th-century origins of the Frankfurt Book Fair and the paperback and bookstore-chain revolutions of the 20th century. The role of women as collectors and disseminators, from Bess of Hardwick in the 16th century to Oprah Winfrey, is notable. There’s a wealth of information here, though some chapters cohere more successfully than others, and a somewhat breathless final chapter surprisingly omits Amazon and e-books as they relate to collecting. 90 illus. (Nov.)
So a great winter read!
Sothebys has just published the results of today’s auction [December 17, 2008, Sale L08411, London] of English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations, with a final take of 901,913 GBP! Literature by the likes of Shakespeare, Byron, Milton, Dickens, and Beatrix Potter seems to be alive and well. Here are a few of the results:
Lot 26. John Milton. Paradise Lost: a poem in ten books. Simmons, 1669. 16, 250 GBP
small 4to (176 x 130mm), first edition, Amory’s no.3 issue (traditional 5th title page), “Angel” in imprint in roman, with note from the printer to the reader on [P]A2r (first state, second variant, in five lines), contemporary calf, upper and lower covers with blind double fillets, red speckled edges, neat repairs to hinges and joints, T4 slightly torn at outer margin and lower corner, Ff 1 slightly torn at lower corner, slightly browned, a near fine, unsophisticated copy
Lot 28. SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM.
A COLLECTION OF LEAVES FROM THE FIRST FOLIO EDITION (1623) AND THE SECOND FOLIO EDITION (1632) OF SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS. 33,650 GBP
Lot 35. A Lock of Byron’s hair:
cut from his head after his death at Missolonghi, coiled and tied with a pink ribbon, with an accompanying wrapper inscribed in the hand of Byron’s intimate friend John Cam Hobhouse (“a lock of hair cut from the head of Lord Byron after his death by Dr Bruno”), and with a later envelope recording that the lock was later presented “by Miss Leigh to Miss Marianne Gidely” 3,000 GBP
Lot 45. Charles Dickens. THE WORKS. EDITED BY ARTHUR WAUGH, HUGH WALPOLE, WALTER DEXTER, AND THOMAS HATTON. THE NONESUCH PRESS, 1937-8. 5,625 GBP
Lot 49. John Keats. LAMIA, ISABELLA, THE EVE OF ST. AGNES AND OTHER POEMS. TAYLOR AND HUSSEY, 1820. 5,250 GBP
12mo, first edition, one of 500 copies, half-title, without advertisements at the end present in some copies, contemporary smooth calf gilt, spine in six compartments, black morocco labels, marbled edges, slight wear to edges of binding.
Lot 132. Virginia Woolf. MRS. DALLOWAY. LONDON: LEONARD & VIRGINIA WOOLF AT THE HOGARTH PRESS, 1925. 6,250 GBP
Lot 192. Beatrix Potter. Illustration of Mouse with a Spinning Wheel: 120 by 76mm., fine ink and watercolour drawing, signed and dated lower right corner “HBP. 1890.”, slight browning with minor spotting, mounted on card. 39,650 GBP
This is just a small sample…. there are works by Ian Fleming, Siegfried Sassoon, a Steinbeck photograph, George Eliot letters, Kelmscott Press books, Milne, Sendak, other Potter illustrations, and much more…
The Rev. George Austen wrote the following letter to his sister-in-law Mrs. Walter on December 17, 1775:
“You have doubtless been for some time in expectation of hearing from Hampshire, and perhaps wondered a little we were in our old age grown such bad reckoners but so it was, for Cassey certainly expected to have been brought to bed a month ago: however last night the time came, and without a great deal of warning, everything was soon happily over. We have now another girl, a present plaything for her sister Cassy and a future companion. She is to be Jenny, and seems to me as if she would be as like Henry, as Cassy is to Neddy. Your sister thank God is pure well after it, and sends her love to you and my brother…” (Austen Papers, 32-3)
I have found “A Limerick for Jane Austen’s Birthday” by Lois White Wilcox, published in Persuasions, No. 14, 1992 ~ this says it all!
For the 233rd birthday of Jane,
Let us make it perfectly plain,
T’would be most sagacious
And not AUSTENtatious
To praise her achievements again.
You who see through the fake and the twit,
At your feet (by your fire), we will sit.
As Janeites we’ll boast
It’s our privilege to toast
Our mistress of wisdom and wit!
And from The Writer’s Almanac December 16, 2008:
It’s the birthday of Jane Austen, born in Hampshire, England (1775). Today, members of Jane Austen Societies all over the world are celebrating her birthday with a tea or luncheon.
Jane Austen published her books anonymously; the byline stated that the book was by “a Lady.” Not many people read her books while she was alive, though she had a small, devoted readership. She died in 1817. Five decades later, her nephew published A Memoir of Jane Austen (1869), which generated widespread interest in his aunt and led to the reprinting of her novels. It touched off a sort of mania for Jane Austen in the 1880s, known as “Austenolatry.” But it wasn’t until the 1940s — more than 100 years after she died — that Austen’s work became the focus of substantial academic scholarship. Austen is now standard reading on high school and college curricula.
There are numerous groups devoted to her work, and thousands of self-proclaimed “Janeites.” The Janeites in the U.S. are likely members of JASNA, the Jane Austen Society of North America, “dedicated to the enjoyment and appreciation of Jane Austen and her writing.” At its first meeting in 1979, 100 people gathered at the Gramercy Park Hotel in Manhattan. Today, the Jane Austen Society of North America has more than 4,000 members and 60 regional groups. JASNA organizes tours to England to visit Austen-themed sites. It publishes an annual online journal, Persuasions On-Line.* And it holds an annual fall meeting in a North American city, and over the course of three days, there are lectures by Austen scholars, English country dancing, and picnics like the one described at Box Hill in Emma, where each picnicker brings a dish to share and carries it in a wicker basket. There’s also an annual Jane Austen essay contest. This year’s essay prompt is about siblings in Austen’s novels: “Some siblings act as foils to each other; others are in competition; still others are mutually supportive and encouraging. Examine the importance of siblings in one or two Austen novels.”
Jane Austen said, “A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.”
And, “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.”
And, “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?”
I am posting the following from Roy Blount, Jr., the President of the Authors Guild [see original post at Authors Guild.] It is an all-out call to BUY BOOKS this holiday, especially from your local bookshop:
Holiday Message from Roy Blount, Jr.: Buy Books from your Local Bookstore, Now
December 11, 2008. I’ve been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren’t known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don’t lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn’t in the cards.
We don’t want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let’s mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that’s just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!
There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they’re easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children’s books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they’ll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: “Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see…we’re the Authors Guild.”
Enjoy the holidays.
Roy Blount Jr.
President, Authors Guild
Addendum: Forward and Post!
December 11, 2008. The Guild’s staff informs me that many of you are writing to ask whether you can forward and post my holiday message encouraging orgiastic book-buying. Yes! Forward! Yes! Post! Sound the clarion call to every corner of the Internet: Hang in there, bookstores! We’re coming! And we’re coming to buy! To buy what? To buy books! Gimme a B! B! Gimme an O! O! Gimme another O! Another O! Gimme a K! K! Gimme an S! F! No, not an F, an S. We’re spelling BOOKS!
A few items of interest today:
~ Belles Heures on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art:
Museum visitors are accustomed to seeing illuminated manuscripts opened to a single page. To see one of the greatest illuminated manuscripts ever in all its unbound glory provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk through its pages.
Such is the case with ‘The Belles Heures,’ the collaborative work of brothers Paul, Herman and Jean de Limbourg, commissioned by John, the Duke of Berry. One of the jewels of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cloisters Collection, the medieval manuscript was recently unbound to allow restoration. Before being rebound, its 180 pages, containing more than 80 miniatures, will be exhibited in just two places: here in Los Angeles [The Los Angeles County Museum of Art] through February 8, and next fall in New York at the Metropolitan Museum. [see this article for the full story in the Palisadian Post]
~ The Literary Stamps site has a number of images of stamps on “books, printing and libraries,” all my favorite things [visit this blog for all manner of stamps relating to authors, literature and such - see for example, Dickens, Shakespeare, and of course, Jane Austen]
~ A collection of historic Bibles has been donated to the Hardin-Simmons University, including a first edition of the 1611 King James Bible. [see this article at the Abilene-online Reporter News]
~ PhiloBiblos gives a brief analysis of the latest Sotheby’s and Bloomsbury auctions on books and manuscripts … here is one item of interest: A first American edition of Jane Austen’s Persuasion sold at a Bloomsbury auction on December 10, 2008, for $3000. See my other blog for more details: Jane Austen in Vermont
~ The Guardian continues its always interesting series “Why I Write” – an interview with John Mortimer.