“If I hadn’t been a novelist I would have been a rare book dealer. You’re always on a treasure hunt.” – Graham Greene Rare book dealers must lament the passing of an era. That is their job. There was a time, before the internet, when the mostly likely place to find a pristine first edition was wholly and completely unknown. Now it is on the other end of an endless network of cables, which span the globe. There is no Indiana Jones style collector running from country to country tracking down the first edition works of an equally mysterious author only recently dead. You don’t need a suit. No bowties required. You can cancel that ticket to Italy. Just open your internet browser. Do you
Book Collecting Archive
by Carrie Bailey In Corvallis, Oregon on the 24th of March 2013, a cult organized by Nathan Dunham ritually burned a copy of The First Book of Urizen by William Blake. The work was prophetic in nature and the copy had been in the possession of Dunham’s father, Dr. Uri Dunham. It was reported to be one of only eight known to still exist. The cult, who call themselves Red Dawn, had been struggling to gain membership and notoriety for some time. Their organization consisted mostly of college age men whose parents worked at the local university. The members themselves were generally unemployed, in their early twenties, and had staged a series of public demonstrations to promote their political and quasi-religious agenda. In September 2011,
- current selling price £550+ Collectors of early modernist literature are well aware of the rarest of Ezra Pound’s first experimental ‘ imagist ‘ poetry (Lustra, A Quinzaine For this Yule etc ). But this little pamphlet, a translation of an early work by the Belgium poet and artist Jean de Bosschere is so scarce that it doesn’t even get a mention in The Young Genius, 1885 – 1920(2007),David Moody’s monumental first volume,. Nor does it feature in other collections of letters from Pound. However, in the recently published letters to his parents, De Bosschere’s name does crop up several times, though I cannot find a mention of 12 Occupations. Did the translator see it as mere hackwork done to pay the rent of his bedsitter in Kensington ? It seems
by Carrie Bailey The short answer, in my opinion, is nothing, but I want explore how I may be proven wrong. Imagine you lived in 1938 and heard Orson Wells’s radio broadcast of H. G. Well’s War of the Worlds. It’s a great moment in history if you aren’t familiar with the story. A young man performs a radio broadcast, which is presented as a series of news bulletins, about aliens landing on Earth. Listeners think it is really happening. Pandemonium ensues. It must have been a horrific experience for the people who lived then, but the event elicits little more than a chuckle for later generations. However, it was a historical event. What if someone had recorded the same broadcast in his or her
Murphy’s Loft, Mullica Hill NJ. This was my third experience in this laid back book and ephemera store. I visited years ago, and then a few months back, right after the original owner retired, and her son (grandson?) took the reins. Unfortunately, his mother decided to rid herself of half the inventory, so he let it be known he was fine with trade ins, if I had them. Ha, is the pope catholic? (at least he was when the smoke cleared). It took me months to get myself in gear and bring the boxes piled up at my mother’s front door–yes there was still room to go in and out–barely. I had around 5 filled regular sized boxes, and a couple of bag pretty nice copies.