• LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

Acquisitions March 2017

George Macy devotees

Join LibraryThing to post.

Edited: Apr 7, 2:25am Top

I just acquired a copy of Jean de la Varende's Navigation Sentimentale with engravings by Camille Paul Josso:

Mar 3, 12:58pm Top

Impressive, to put it mildly. Fascinating to be able to compare the effect the various papers have. Did the plate(?) in front of your screen come with it, or did you already own it?

Edited: Apr 7, 5:50am Top

Mar 3, 6:31pm Top

I've received two LECs to start off the month. Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man brought to my notice by Chris' notable blog and Poems of the Caribbean which completes my set of 1982 LECs. I was particularly happy to find a copy of Poems of the Caribbean in Fine condition with both the Monthly Letter and additional numbered print for my target price.

Mar 3, 8:26pm Top

>3 Parchment123:
My reaction is much the same as featherwate's.

Your experience with the crushed corners is all too common, isn't it? What isn't so common is the co-operation you got from the seller. The last time I received a book with crushed corners (a softback 5lb in weight wrapped only in a single layer of bubble wrap), I had a demoralising but interesting experience.

I emailed the seller to tell him what had happened whilst politely pointing out that I felt the book had been inadequately packaged. I sent photographs to substantiate my story. The seller denied that the book had been inadequately packaged and said I would get a refund including my return postage if the book was returned and reached him in the same condition it was in in the photographs I had sent, i.e. with no more damage to it.

So I asked the seller if he was content, in that case, for me to send the book back in the same packaging it had arrived in, i.e. with no additional protection supplied by me.

This is where the seller began to get silly, and abusive. He unhelpfully reiterated that if any further damage happened to the book on the return journey it would be my responsibility and I wouldn't get a refund. At the same time he again denied that the original packaging he'd sent the book out in was inadequate.

I told him he was putting me in an impossible position, and that he was practically forcing me to keep a book that had been damaged through no fault of my own. This is where he began to get abusive, in a way you wouldn't expect from someone who was clearly a prolific secondhand seller. He even got his colleague to join in the abuse, so that I got separate email rants from both of them, each written in a similarly incoherent and uncouth style.

I decided to keep the book. The only lesson I learned is that to avoid disappointment of this kind it's necessary to stick with sellers you know from experience you can trust. The problem is that they aren't always the ones who have the particular book you're looking for.

Mar 3, 9:16pm Top

What an awful experience.

Mar 4, 12:06am Top

>1 Parchment123: I love the copper plates. How much more does it cost to get one of those?

Mar 4, 3:03am Top

>5 Auriger: The sad thing is that many sellers pack with ample protection under and above the book, but with little around the edges. I would do exactly the opposite.

Yes, sellers that you know and can trust are worth several extra dollars just for the peace of mind. Nowadays, I never pay in advance by any other means than cards. The seller of the French books accepts payment after that I receive his books, and then of course I am happy to wire the money.

>7 kdweber: Difficult to say. It depends on several things. How desirable is the book? Is it one of the best engravings? To further complicate the situation, the copies with copper plates usually have several other extras and are printed on different paper. I can just say that I have never seen any book with a copper plate offered for less than 150-200 euros, so I would say that you can expect to pay at least 100 euros for a copper.

Edited: Apr 7, 2:26am Top

…and recent acquisition number four (after which I will rest, and that's a promise):

I now have a complete collection of Marc Dautry's books with copper engravings. It was much easier than to collect Decaris, Josso and Notton, because he only made five:

The Book of Job

The Ten Commandments

Michelangelo's Sonnets

Petrarca's Sonnets

Tristan and Isolde:

Edited: Mar 4, 7:15am Top

>9 Parchment123:
That looks fabulous.

I have several limited edition French publications: Flaubert, Gide, et al.
One thing that disappoints me occasionally is that, as with some Folio Society publications, the grain direction of the paper is orientated horizontally, not vertically, and this tends to make a book difficult to open because the pages don't want to lie flat. Is the grain direction of all your new acquisitions the correct way round, i.e. aligned with vertical axis of the book? From here it looks as if the Gide and the Tristan's grain direction is correct.

Mar 4, 7:51am Top

>10 Auriger: I don't claim to be an expert on paper, so with the reservation that I might be wrong, I would say that there is no grain direction in handmade papers - just in machinemade.

Mar 4, 11:08am Top

>11 Parchment123:
There is actually a paper in between, which is mould-made (made on a rotating cylinder mould, that is, not in a hand mould). My understanding is that velin d'Arches, for instance, is a mould-made paper. This will have a grain direction, albeit rather less pronounced than paper made on a Fourdrinier machine (i.e. a typical machine-made paper).

I get most of my papers and boards from the following people: http://www.johnpurcell.net/JPP_2012_july.pdf
Page nine of that document gives you an authoritative explanation of the properties of mould-made papers. I work with mould-made papers a lot (as well as hand-made and machine-made), and experience tells me that you generally need to treat them as machine-made papers with regard to grain direction.

Mar 4, 11:45am Top

>9 Parchment123:

Amazing illustrations.

Is there any chance you would upload the Dragon from Tristan in a higher resolution ?

Mar 4, 11:47am Top

>12 Auriger: And BFK Rives is also mould-made, while Japon nacré/kozo and Auvergne papers are hand-made. I do not know how Japon Imperial and Ancien Japon is made, though.

Are you a book binder?

I have never been good at doing anything with my own hands, but I have thought that I ought to be able to learn to make my own solander- and slipcases. One question that I need an answer to is how safe the available materials, especially cardboard and glue are. I have often seen that pastedowns have become brown or yellow because of acid(?) in the cardboard. When I have checked for cardboard from book-binder supply companies, I have found out that it all seems to be made of acid material, but that it is "blocked". I wonder how it is blocked? I wouldn't like to find out twenty years from now that book covers have turned brownish.

Edited: Apr 7, 5:48am Top

Edited: Mar 4, 1:38pm Top

>14 Parchment123:
Yes, I've been binding and restoring books for twenty years.

Given their widespread availability, there is no excuse these days for not using archival materials in hand bookbinding where the artefact in question calls for it.

Whether for boxmaking or for book covers I most often use Gemini Olympic millboard, which I buy from Purcell's. It goes by different names, and you can get it in the U.S., e.g. here: http://www.talasonline.com/Conservation-by-Design-Millboard
I take it you are in the U.S. A number of other archival millboards suitable for boxmaking are to be had.

There are many archival quality PVA's available. This is one of the most trustworthy: http://www.conservation-by-design.com/productdetails.aspx?id=347&itemno=SUEV...
I don't know whether it's available in the U.S. If not, this one still meets archival standards: http://www.talasonline.com/Jade-R

I'm not sure what you mean when you say "blocked". Perhaps you could clarify.

Mar 5, 6:28am Top

>16 Auriger: Thank you very much for your information.

I am not in the U.S. but in Sweden and when I looked for cardboard, those I found were made of acid pulp, but obviously had a surface coating to stop any acidity from leaking through. I did find the kind of cardboard used for matting prints when framing without any acid contents, but that kind of material isn't sturdy enough for making slipcases.

Mar 5, 9:15pm Top

Mar 6, 2:55pm Top

I can see the appeal of owning an original plate but I am not sure of its usefulness.

Researching the Nonesuch Press Dickens recently I came across a comment from David Garnett (a co-founder of the press) on the decision to distribute the 877 original plates and woodblocks. He wrote that "...the dispersal of a set of great historical interest and future usefulness is an act of vandalism that will give a permanent cachet of vulgarity to the edition." Perhaps this is an extreme example.

Edited: Mar 8, 2:21am Top

>19 BuzzBuzzard: Lack of imaginative power?

During the 1930's it was fairly common that copper plates were incorporated in the bindings; I have seen several examples and they are quite appealing. Normally the very first copies with double-page copper plates had the copper plates split in two by the publisher so that they could be used on both front and back cover. The plate for Navigation is the first one that I have seen that has not been split.

I plan to put my copper plates on the wall in my library. Earlier, I had plans to frame some original book art on paper, but because, even if one uses archival material in framing and matting, light will make paper yellow, I decided to keep all art and prints in folders. Copper will not deteriorate. If verdigris should appear because of vulgar people in the library, the plates can be carefully polished.

Mar 6, 5:20pm Top

After watching the video of Lynd Ward working on one of his wood engravings, I was wishing I had one of them to put on the wall. I wonder what became of all of them?

Mar 7, 12:36am Top

>22 dlphcoracl:

Thanks for the link! I've seen these and other pulled prints before, but I was wondering about what happened to the actual woodblocks themselves. Probably destroyed or worn out, maybe even used for firewood. The blocks themselves have a wonderful sculptural quality, as seen in this example from "Prelude to a Million Years"--photo from Library of Congress:

Edited: Mar 7, 12:52pm Top

>19 BuzzBuzzard:

"He wrote that "...the dispersal of a set of great historical interest and future usefulness is an act of vandalism that will give a permanent cachet of vulgarity to the edition." "

Garnett wasn't all there, clearly. It's been common in the history of the printing of special editions of certain works for the type to be distributed and the plates to be melted down shortly after the edition was published.

Mar 7, 1:15pm Top

>24 Auriger:
I can understand plates being melted down if they have been prepared especially for a particular limited edition. But weren't the Dickens plates the nineteenth century originals?

Mar 7, 1:39pm Top

>25 featherwate:
Sorry, I wasn't aware of the circumstances. If they were the original plates used by Chapman and Hall, then it was certainly rather insensitive to have let them remain together for so many years only to disperse them once the reprint had issued from the press.

I suppose the distribution of the plates was a shrewd commercial decision. It allowed Nonesuch to charge a higher price per copy than they would otherwise have got, and having no plans to issue a further reprint themselves they saw no commercial advantage in allowing another printer or publisher in the future to enjoy that privilege.

One potentially mitigating factor is the condition the plates were in by the time Nonesuch had finished with them; they may not have been completely fit to make further reprints from.

One thing we do know for certain is that it's not uncommon for publishers to have no souls.

Mar 7, 2:57pm Top

It seems to be the unfortunate lot of artists who work in reproducible media such as woodcuts, engravings, etc., that the financial compensation they receive during their lifetimes is often grossly disproportionate to the subsequent compensation received for the fruits of their labors by others. There are always exceptions, of course, such as Leroy Neiman (from Wikipedia): "Neiman produced about six different serigraph subjects a year, generally priced from $3,000 to $6,000 each. Gross annual sales of new serigraphs alone top $10 million."

I believe Salvador Dali was similarly successful with his serigraphs while he was alive, but for most artists who toil in these fields, their prints and pulls usually don't accrue major financial value until several years after they have gone to other fields.

Mar 7, 7:15pm Top

>20 Parchment123: I did not know that framing a copper plate is a thing.

>26 Auriger: I have to find out what the original price for the set was but the plates decision essentially set the limitation. 877 is uncommonly low for the Nonesuch press. I also want to find out how was Macy's involved with the Nonesuch Dickens.

Edited: Mar 7, 10:12pm Top

>28 BuzzBuzzard: "I also want to find out how was Macy's involved with the Nonesuch Dickens."

I posted the following back in 2010:

I recently purchased some LEC ephemera--the Prospectus for the Complete Shakespeare. Tucked inside was a letter to the subscriber--a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah--from George Macy, Director of The Nonesuch Fellowship--"a society of patrons of the Nonesuch Press." It is my understanding that Macy was in fact the owner of the Nonesuch Press since 1936, when the crippled economy in England made the continuation under Francis Meynall impossible. This letter is dated November 27, 1939, and announces that the fellowship members--who were members of the LEC--are now able to publish individual copies of their favorite Dickens works instead of having to purchase the entire set (for more than $250!). The following quote explains:

'It becomes possible because the British government has placed a crippling and compulsory war-risks-insurance charge upon all stocks of books held by British publishers. The Nonesuch Dickens was issued in an edition of 877 sets; to each subscriber was presented one of the 877 plates engraved for the original illustrations, that's why such an odd number was selected. On the official date of publication, about 600 sets had been subscribed. Each week since then, more collectors heard about it, additional sets have been shipped. Of the sets sent to America for distribution, none are left. But, in the Nonesuch warehouse in London, there are still some sets: fewer than fifty, yet enough to cause the Press to want to avoid payment of the new war-risks-insurance charge. To avoid that charge, the Press has decided to release the remaining sets in individual volumes.'

The letter goes on to point out what a great deal this is--such as being able to buy the less-popular works for as little as $5.75 per volume (those volumes being American Notes and Reprinted Pieces). The more popular volumes cost $13.50 and $11.50 per volume (strangely, Great Expectations bound with Hard Times in a single volume, is $9.75).

In addition to buying just the Dickens you want, you can also buy one of the remaining steel plates or wood blocks used to print one of the original illustrations. The Reprinted Pieces wood blocks engraved by Fred Walker are another bargain (I suppose) at a mere $20. One from a more popular work, say a steel plate etched by "Phiz" for Copperfield or Pickwick would have set you back $50. (From the nearest I can calculate, this would be about $1600 in today's currency.)

It would be fascinating to know how many of the LEC members took advantage of this offer, and if any of them would have acquired ALL the volumes. I remember reading that the archives of the Nonesuch Press were destroyed in the Blitz, so the action of shipping off all the books to the US ("under convoy," according to the letter), probably saved a good many. I looked at the Nonesuch Press address on Google Maps--46, Russell Square, London, W.C.1--and it looks like there is a business school at that location (probably on where the warehouse was located, I'm sure).

Macy acquired the Directorship of Nonesuch in 1936.

" I have to find out what the original price for the set was but the plates decision essentially set the limitation. 877 is uncommonly low for the Nonesuch press."

A complete set comprised 24 volumes, so the total outlay in British currency was 48 (some sources say 56) guineas. How that relates to the $250 for the complete sets sold in America, I leave to a member here who is better at currency fluctuations over time than I. As mentioned above, there were only 877 of the printing plates in existence so the print run for the edition was limited to 877.

I honestly believe the concept and design for the set was the work of Meynell, but I also believe Macy had a definite hand in the marketing--the concept of re-using the original plates and throwing in one as a bonus to the subscriber of the entire set certainly seems more typical of Macy than Meynell.

ETA: That this set remains the most desirable edition of Dickens for book collectors is attested to by the fact that The Folio Society issued a facsimile set, as did Duckworth (faux leather) and now Overlook Press (both owned by Peter Mayer) has reproduced 6 of the works in facsimile (with real leather quarter binding) and may produce more.

Edited: Mar 8, 2:38am Top

Often the French editions were financed by one or two "amateurs", that is "book lovers" or "Liebhabers" rather than amateurs in English and German. I can understand that they would like to distinguish their personal copies by adding something special.

The Gide book above with engravings by Tavy Notton is interesting because after printing the book, the artist made further engravings on the copper plates, which means that they couldn't be used for printing a second edition anyhow. The suite of pulls from these copper plates, called "avec remarques" in French is interesting, because the engraver engraved text on all of them, almost making this an entire separate book, an anthology of his, Gide's and other's writings.

In several other cases, the "avec remarques" suites had extra engraved illustrations rather than text.

To sum it up, the artist voluntarily made it impossible to reuse the copper plates for a second edition.

What I would rather consider vandalism is the destruction of lithographic stones after the pulls had been made, but of course that is done because no book collector would like to have such stones anyway.

Wood blocks are not that frequently available. Perhaps the reason is that coppers are attractive in themselves and can be used in bindings. I have seen books being offered accompanied by wood blocks. One such (that I would indeed like to have, because I admire the engraver) is the Valentin le Campion Anatole France book, Les dieux ont soif.

All this said, I would just like to add that the French fine editions are "a swamp". In some cases the "special" copies have merit, but in several cases not. I suspect that often they were made to get extra money out of fools (there is one born every day…).

A couple of examples: I first had a copy of a Decaris book that was printed on Montval paper. Later, I bought a copy on Japon Imperial, that was supposed to be "finer". When I compare them side by side, my impression is that the Montval copy is much nicer than the Japanese.

The same goes for the Notton book mentioned above. IMHO the standard copy on Rives is much nicer than the Japon Imperial that is kind of yellowish. Still I wanted this one because of all the extra engravings in the suite.

What this means is that often, a "standard" copy is the best buy. It is of course cheaper to acquire, and it can be more pleasing. One thing that I have noted is that I seldom look at the prints in the suites. Even if I just want to look at the art, ie not read the book, I prefer to look at it in the proper context, placed in the book together with the text.

When I have posted photos of the French books in my library, I have usually selected the illustrations and not the text. Most of the time, the typography and presswork is gorgeous, but I have not commented upon it because I do not have any education in typography. I appreciate it, but I feel that I am not in a position to discuss it.

All extras, suites, plates and original drawings can indeed be nice, but the book proper is the end product, the work of art conceived by the craftspeople that created it.

Mar 8, 2:27am Top

>28 BuzzBuzzard: wrote: "I did not know that framing a copper plate is a thing."

No, it's a verb.

Mar 8, 5:59am Top

>31 Parchment123:
To frame a copper is the heart's desire of every run-of-the-mill English criminal; the more ambitious would rather frame a judge.

Mar 8, 6:28am Top

>32 featherwate: I bow my head to Learned Hand and rest my case.

This is a draft of a chapter of Skin in the Game, a book in preparation (with some relevation to the books discussed) that I cannot wait to read:


Mar 8, 7:18am Top

>29 Django6924:

One or two quotes from Francis Meynell's autobiography My lives.

'Not unnaturally, George wanted to emphasise his new management by a move to more spacious premises in Russell Square and by a greater publication than Nonesuch had ever before attempted. This was a complete Dickens in sets of 24 volumes...' '...original illustration-plates, all of which he had bought from Chapman & Hall...' '... a set of books costing 48 guineas and I disliked the dispersal of the plates.' '...after the war the plate in each set proved a powerful selling aid...'

It looks as if this was Macy's project, doubted by Meynell, but eventually successful. Of course, autobiographies are not always to be relied upon, but Meynell is gracious enough about Macy to suggest this is the true version.

Edited: Apr 7, 5:48am Top

This book is an example of a book where the "extras" are of particular interest. Josso made twenty illustrations for it, and they all consist of one print in red and one in black, from two different coppers. There is one suite with only the red. An interesting extra is the drawing on semitransparent paper, that the artist used to transfer the outlines to the copper plate.

Mar 8, 8:47am Top

>35 Parchment123:

That is a stunning book in all aspects.

Mar 8, 11:26am Top

>34 affle:

Thank you! I will have to find Meynell's book.

Edited: Mar 8, 12:44pm Top

>29 Django6924: >34 affle:

This is from Francis Meynell's address at the dedication of The George Macy Memorial Collection of Books Published by the Limited Editions Club, 14-May-1957 Columbia University. The whole address is worth a read.

In 1936 George Macy took over from me The Nonesuch Press, and we had expected an active association there. But the war defeated those expectations. It was impossible to attend to the making of fine books in beleaguered England. But one great enterprise was concluded before the war - the Nonesuch Dickens. This edition was George's initiative and invention; and my part was merely to do his bidding, to be the executant. So I can say without embarrassment that this was one of the finest achievements of The Nonesuch Press. In 1951 George with the generous benevolence in financial matters that he was always to show to me, as to many others, handed back The Nonesuch Press to me.

Edited: Mar 16, 8:05pm Top

Imagine my surprise today when I walked into the local Goodwill and came across two LECs: The Three Cornered Hat and The Way of the World! Naturally I got them both because I couldn't pass them up for $4 a piece. O_O And in very good plus condition!

Mar 16, 8:14pm Top

>39 WildcatJF:
$4 each! $4!!! I'm not sure what a Goodwill is - a charity store? - but they sure sound like folks full of the milk of human kindness.
A well-deserved lucky break!

Mar 16, 11:30pm Top

40) Goodwill is exactly that - a thrift store that works for charities and those with special needs. Clerk told me they just put those out. I'm considering a return trip tomorrow to see if any more sneak onto the shelves.

Mar 17, 1:50am Top

I've made some fantastic under priced finds at the goodwill from a 1930s Erika typewriter to fine French and English porcelain but never fine books, under priced or otherwise! Congratulations!

Mar 17, 10:18am Top

>40 featherwate: "I'm not sure what a Goodwill is - a charity store?"

Indeed, it is a store which takes donation of goods from people who no longer want something they have, and sell them to raise money for people who are unable to afford some of the basics. Books are a major part of most Goodwill's inventories, and usually the books are mass market stuff, but sometimes one can find an HP or Folio Society book; a find such as Jerry's is really a rarity.

Mar 17, 11:47am Top

>43 Django6924: I work across the street from the area's largest Goodwill location. It has never occurred to me to regard it as a potential Antiquarian book store.

Mar 17, 12:20pm Top

>44 chrisrsprague:

Well, there are a few grains among the chaff, but the winnowing takes more time than I can afford these days.

For someone such as myself, the materials to be found these days isn't as rewarding as it was in my youth when I haunted these stores for books and records--this was in Kansas City back in the 1960s--and I often found HP books from the early days of the Club, probably donated by the surviving families of the collectors, as well as very nice collector's books from companies such as Dodd, Mead and Doubleday and Knopf, who did very nice illustrated books in the 30s and 40s. I was also into collecting 78 rpm records of 20s jazz and blues then, and the Goodwill was a treasure trove of these, as nobody wanted 78s back then. I had a friendly competition with a fellow collector who had much more time to scour the boxes of records than I did--because books were my main interest--and I remember his glee when he one day found a full box of Black Swan records in fine condition. He also beat me to a real treasure one day when he came home with a signed L.C. Tiffany lamp base in perfect condition--though missing the stained glass lampshade.

Mar 17, 12:50pm Top

43) This was an amazing fluke. In the year and a half I've been visiting the store, I've previously only seen maybe 10 - 15 Heritage titles on the shelves (not counting yesterday, where there were a good 8 other volumes alongside the two LECs), and once a collection of Folio fairy tale books that I couldn't splurge on at the time. These books (and the 8 Heritage titles I mentioned) all came from the same individual who apparently was a small collector in San Jose. The Heritage titles had name stamps, but the LECs did not, instead having cards with the man's address on it.

Still though, it never hurts to look! I've had a pretty good streak with books and my other passions at thrift stores like these. I've gotten several signed books...just never with LECs before!

Mar 18, 6:57pm Top

With the collapse of so many independent and used book stores in the U.S., Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity stores have become by default the best used book stores in town. People no longer have a place to take their books. My local Habitat even has a person who specializes in books in case something valuable comes in.

Edited: Apr 7, 5:49am Top

After years of searching, I have just been lucky to find a copy of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, illustrated by Raphael Freida. The artist started working with this book in 1912, but because of the war, it wasn't published until ten years later.

Mar 20, 7:39pm Top

>48 Parchment123:

These illustrated French language books are simply fabulous.

Mar 21, 2:05am Top

>49 dlphcoracl: Indeed. French fine press books seem to be neglected in their home country where every book collector is interested only in livres d'artiste. It is so interesting to discover new treasures all the time and learn more along the way. I have seen the photos that you have posted of your superb collection, but I know that I could never hope to afford to build up anything similar. Fortunately, I can build a small collection of French and other European classics. I don't think that I have paid more than 1250 Euros for a book (Maillol's Gonin Georgics with the two extra suites). Most of my books have costed much less than a FS limited edition. I am very grateful for this opportunity.

Edited: Apr 7, 5:49am Top

Raphael Freida only illustrated five books. This one is so different from the other four, and I wondered why Freida didn't live out his fantasy as he did in for example Thaïs, that I posted photos of a few years ago here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/184936#4996567. When I started to read the book, I found the answer. The publisher, Madame Romagnol, writes that he illustrated the actor Mounet-Sully as Oedipus from the 1881 set. I guess it was difficult to distort the face of a person that he possibly knew.

Mar 23, 7:08pm Top

Though not a big fan of Dickens' Christmas stories, I finally found a nice (NF except for the toned spine) copy of The Chimes for a relatively good price during the recent Biblio sale. I like the design and paper as well as the slightly different style used in the illustrations by Rackham. I'm now only missing Alice in my quest to collect the first 50 LECs.

Mar 23, 7:22pm Top

>52 kdweber: Congrats! Quite an accomplishment. My goal (close to attain) is to collect the first 50 original monthly letters :-) In this train of thought if anyone knows of ML#1 being for sale/trade (at a reasonable price this is) please let me know.

If memory serves me right The Chimes was ranked rock bottom (liking) in its series. Probably a bit harsh. I don't have it but I would like to. Just not yet ready to pay the usual $300 price tag.

Mar 23, 7:29pm Top

>53 BuzzBuzzard: Very few of my first 50 include the Monthly Letter both because these editions are harder to find and I'm not willing to pay anything extra for these monthly letters since I have a copy of the very nice First 50 Monthly Letters. For my post first 50 editions I'm usually willing to pay $5 - $10 more for a copy that includes the Monthly Letter. I assume the early letters with no matching volume are much harder to find. Good luck in your search for ML #1.

Edited: Mar 24, 6:24pm Top

I've bought nothing this month. And after reading the following example may never buy another book again.
E L Mascall in his memoirs Saraband recalls his colleague, Dr Claude Jenkins, the Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Christ's Church, Oxford.

His sole extravagance was the purchase of books, of which at his death he had, I believe, thirty thousand. He spent his vacations at either Malvern or Tunbridge Wells, in both of which towns there were secondhand bookshops of which he must have been one of the principal customers. Shortly after his return at the beginning of each term several crates full of spoils would be delivered at his lodging; many of these remained unpacked to the time of his death, for they had simply overwhelmed him. Many of them were the kind of books -Victorian parish histories and the like-which one can hardly imagine anyone wanting but which, if anyone did want them, it might be impossible to find. In spite of its size the house was inadequate to accommodate them; in the corners of each room piles of books were thrown down anyhow like sand in the corner of a builder's yard, and the bath, which was not used for its normal purpose, was a kind of dump for odd printed scraps. It was only just possible to push one's way up the staircase, for on every step there were piles of books extending high out of reach; in fact the view of the staircase-wall reminded me of a sectional diagram of geological strata in an atlas, and one could see how the conformation had readjusted itself after a cataclysm had occurred through a removal of the book from one of its lower levels. He was very indignant at the suggestion that books were ever stolen from libraries and insisted that apparent thefts were in fact cases of absent-mindedness; this may be true to some extent, for it would be absurd to give any other explanation for the books which were found in his house after his death. He once showed me a book which contained the plate of a well-known library and in which he had inserted a signed declaration that he had bought it in a shop and not stolen it from the library; otherwise, he said, someone doing research would defame him posthumously. I remarked that I thought this a very poor safeguard, since anyone suspecting him of theft would be equally ready to accuse him of perjury.

Mar 24, 11:38am Top

>55 Constantinopolitan: I had never before been able to throw away books, even if I didn't appreciate them. During the past few years, I listed thousands of titles at a Scandinavian sales site on the internet and sold over a thousand.

In December, the sales site suddenly changed the rules - their percentage increased by the ten- and in some cases hundredfold and they introduced a flat delivery charge that I had to accept for every order.

The result of this was that I during this winter went through every box and threw out all books that didn't cost at least ten euros, or twenty if they were heavy. A couple of weeks ago, I drove three full trailers with books to the local dump, so by now a few thousand books have probably gone up in flames.

Now I have a room with shelves of books for sale - I have been able to discard all the boxes - and my personal books are shelved in my living- and bedrooms.

What a relief! Now my books only bring pleasure, even those that are for sale - earlier some of them were only a burden.

It sounds terrible, I know, but there are simply too many books out there that nobody wants anymore. One of the local charity shops give away all books for free - earlier they cost one euro each, but I suppose that was too much.

Mar 24, 1:45pm Top

>56 Parchment123: The same here. I've had some hundreds of books listed for sale with Amazon and eBay. They've clogged up the house and garage and not added anything to domestic harmony. So, last month I stopped all my listings on Amazon and took 2 vanloads of books to the charity shop. It still, perhaps optimistically, offers them in exchange for cash. Now I can look at my decent collection without feeling that the badge of shame is going to be awarded to me for possession of some awful tat.

Mar 24, 2:23pm Top

I swear I'm going to stop at the Pepys limit. Currently, I ditch one book for every five I purchase but soon this will have to change to parity.

Mar 24, 3:03pm Top

>56 Parchment123:
Couldn't you give them away to charity instead of the dump?

I will agree that books should be a pleasure and not a burden. I have a couple of hundred books that I need to alleviate the burden of, if only I had the time.

>58 kdweber:
What was the Pepys limit again? 3,000?

Mar 24, 3:34pm Top

Mar 24, 4:20pm Top

Prospero, The Tempest:
"So, of his gentleness,
Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me
From mine own library with volumes that
I prize above my dukedom."

But how many?

Mar 24, 6:30pm Top

>56 Parchment123: >58 kdweber: >59 EclecticIndulgence: One more vaguely pertinent quote from Saraband (a very amusing book):
Sir Maurice Bowra, the Warden of Wadham, "This is one of those books which it is very difficult to pick up once you have laid it down."

Mar 24, 7:46pm Top

>62 Constantinopolitan: What a great quote! I will have to use it at my book club.

Edited: Mar 25, 2:54am Top

>59 EclecticIndulgence: wrote: "Couldn't you give them away to charity instead of the dump?"

If they had accepted them - yes.

But, as I wrote above, the local charity started giving all books away for free a while ago. They shelve books that they receive together with whole estate remains - people buy furniture and bric-a-brac but not books.

Last year (when I could still sell cheaper books online), I filled three store carriages with books. To make sure that I didn't do anything wrong, I asked a member of staff if that was allright.

- Yes, it's only books. She smiled like she believed that I was crazy. And obviously I was. First I hauled the books home, took photos of them and catalogued them online, put them in boxes; later, when rules changed, I had to cancel the catalogue entries one at a time, find the books in their respective boxes, throw them out onto the balcony (I didn't want to use the trailer in snow and mud), in spring throw them from the balcony onto the trailer, drive them to the dump and throw them into a container (being watched by a dump inspector - who never made it to police academy - who made sure that I put everything in the right container).

Mar 25, 11:19pm Top

>64 Parchment123:

I don't believe I have ever been in a market where this is the case, and to a bibliophile it is very disheartening.

Edited: Apr 7, 5:49am Top

Herodias by Flaubert (One of the Three Tales published by the LEC), illustrated by Raphael Freida, and quite different to Oedipus Rex above. I was delighted to find an out of series copy with a handwritten message from Freida. His style here is very similar to Thaïs.

Mar 28, 2:59pm Top

Recently got two slim LECs that are usually hard to find in fine condition. Aucassin is else fine with close to fine dust jacket (has a few small chips). Sinbad came with the original glassine. Both with fine slipcases. Does anyone have the Monthly Letter for Sinbad? The second series appears to be one of the most fascinating series.

Mar 28, 4:36pm Top

>67 BuzzBuzzard: Good job, great condition! Hard to find either is such good shape, particularly the Sinbad. My Aucassin is NF but needs a new slipcase while my copy of Sinbad is pretty much trashed and needs to be replaced. The worst condition LEC in my collection (by far). A $20 gamble that failed entirely.

Mar 28, 5:51pm Top

>67 BuzzBuzzard: I like the look of the Sinbad. Does anyone own a copy of the Heritage Press edition? If so any information would be appreciated.

Edited: Mar 28, 6:11pm Top

Mar 29, 1:29am Top

>67 BuzzBuzzard: Congratulations on Aucassin. I usually do not care much about dust jackets, but in this case it is such an integral part of the book's design that it is essential. I am not satisfied with my copy that lacks a jacket. This book was printed at the Czechoslovak banknote printing works. During the first part of the 20th century they printed some of the most beautiful paper money issued anywhere in the world.

This is such a thin book that I might be able to acquire a copy if I find it. Otherwise, I always change my mind to buy LEC books from the U.S.A. when the sellers inform me about shipping costs. A 100 dollar LEC sometimes costs another 100 in postage. That's when I turn to France instead wherefrom postage is inexpensive indeed.

I have nothing nice to say about Edward A. Wilson, so I will refrain from commenting on Sindbad.

Mar 29, 2:30am Top

>71 perpetuum: Wilson is like a comfort meal. Not extraordinary but always hits the right spot. He must have been popular too, only (I think) beaten by Kredel in number of LEC commissions. The LEC Sindbad is a very balanced book. Nice paper, bindind, printing, etc. I like it.

Aside from the books printed in Italy and some of the books printed in England, which other LECs have dust jackets?

Mar 29, 7:43am Top

>72 BuzzBuzzard:
Carl Purington Rollins's design for Snow-Bound involved a snow-effect typeface, a swirly snowstorm binding, a wrapper of "snowy Parchkin paper" and a blue slip-case lined in white felt. Don (leccol) rebound his copy in grey and purple because he found "the binding and materials used out-dated and inadequate for a modern Fine Press edition".
Each to his own. I'm happy with the original.

Mar 29, 12:37pm Top

>73 featherwate: Thanks for pointing out Snow-Bound. I have forgotten about its unique jacket. Perhaps Don got carried away a little bit with his comment. He apparently attended grade school that was named after the poet, which explains why he undertook this project. Admittedly not for any literary reasons (I am quoting here). The pictures of his rebound Snow-Bound that I have seen I liked.

Mar 29, 2:57pm Top

>70 WildcatJF: Thanks. That was very helpful.
>71 perpetuum: "I have nothing nice to say...so I will refrain from commenting"! Obviously that is a comment (fair enough I'm sure; each to their own). Does anyone know if there is a technical term for this sort of figure of speech? Irony, antiphrasis...?

Mar 29, 3:06pm Top

>75 Constantinopolitan: politely restrained?

Apr 11, 5:39pm Top

I just scored what appears to be a fine looking LEC copy of Grapes of Wrath for $185. The (internet induced) race to the bottom that works against booksellers is working for us.

Apr 11, 8:49pm Top

>77 BuzzBuzzard: Congrats, that's the best price I've ever seen for a nice copy.

Apr 11, 10:33pm Top

>77 BuzzBuzzard: Please let me know if you discover another deal like this. I can just imagine your joy.

Apr 11, 10:51pm Top

>77 BuzzBuzzard:

Exceptional price indeed! I paid over 5 times as much for my set, more than I have paid for any LEC other than the Complete Shakespeare.

Apr 11, 11:56pm Top

Frankly this was not expected. The set was on eBay and for sale at $500. Still less than what it typically goes for. I offered $150 and got countered with $175. There is no mention of limitation or signature so the seller might not have been aware. I could not find blemishes from the pictures and hopefully there are no surprises.

Apr 12, 11:27pm Top

>81 BuzzBuzzard: Based on the pictures you got a very beautiful set and I know you will enjoy this great find.

Join to post

Group: George Macy devotees

273 members

17,602 messages

You must be a member of this group to post.


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,239,071 books! | Top bar: Always visible