Sunday 1 April 2007

"... proud-pied April dre∫∫'d in all hi∫ trim."*

O ld Books department again. The Folio Society of London's 1971 edition of Sebastian Brant's immortal Ship of Foolsof 1494. Translation from the German by William Gillis. Not an expensive object by any means (I googled it and this site has it for 32 bucks and shows the same page that I do. I'd have picked another if I'd known). 115 woodcuts , some eighty of them by a young journeyman Albrecht Durer, but not the one shown here. That one is a picture of me.

1. Of useless books

That I'm the first one to embark,
It means I've made a special mark.
The reason is, as one discovers,
My wisdom's bound in leather covers;
Though I can barely read a word,
I have of books amassed a horde;
Revering them each day I just
Keep volumes free of flies and dust.
When talk of erudition falls,
I say, 'my learning lines the walls.
For my delight it's quite enough
that I own heaps of printed stuff!'

(*heading is from the Bard's sonnet 98.)



Blogger Christopher Moonlight said...

You have made me miss my books, by letting the Bard speak though your blog. I've got them all locked away in a unit right now, because there's no room for them here. ...just to seen them up on shelves again...

1 April 2007 at 02:36:00 GMT-5  
Blogger James Robert Smith said...

The oldest book my dad ever had in his many book-buying trips (he was a used book dealer for most of my childhood), was a logbook of the contents of the King's (UK monarchy) wine cellars (last entry was sometime in the late 1700s. So this little book may have spanned George II and George III). I recall holding the book and looking at the spidery script in it (hand-written, of course). I don't know who bought it, but I do recall that he sold it.

The lion's share of my own books are boxed up. I have two large bookshelves in the house, both of them packed to bursting. I keep lobbying for more bookshelves, but my wife resists.

I have no "collectibe" books anymore. Gave that up long ago for food money. The idea of having a book as an untouchable "collectible" seems somewhat insane to me.

1 April 2007 at 09:23:00 GMT-5  

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