November 2010 Archives

382px-Mark_Twain,_Brady-Handy_photo_portrait,_Feb_7,_1871,_cropped.jpg2010 has been the year of Twain, to be sure. A plethora of library exhibits, big ticket items at auction ("A Family Sketch" taking in $242,500), and the surprise bestseller of the year, Autobiography of Mark Twain: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, volume 1. Subscribers read all about this amazing year in our current issue (if you're not one of them, go here.)

With the month that remains in this exciting year, you can still catch the Twain train at the Morgan Library & Museum's Mark Twain: A Skeptic's Progress through January 3, 2011. Or check out the holiday-related festivities at the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut.

Twain was born on this day in 1835, and he died on April 21, 1910. The photo seen above is by Matthew Brady, from 1871. 

Happened upon this very interesting new blog by bookseller (and sometime FB&C contributor) Matthew D. Jones, who sells in the San Francisco Bay area. The opening paragraph caught my attention, and I thought I'd pass it along:

In no great contrast to the modern era, the scout of yore cut a generally dismal figure on the street. Down at heel, sagging under the weight of his/her wares, usually with a drug problem or two, this was the domain of the literate addict or hopelessly unemployable English graduate with dreams of one day opening their own shop and getting off the street. Unless a part-time occupation, and however romantic this life might seem to those trapped behind a desk for 9 hours a day, it was and remains an existence of grinding poverty or at best subsistence living. Think more Bobby Westfall than Lucas Corso.
However, the internet has profoundly altered the way scouts and dealers do business...[read more].
I have always thought that if I had more time, money and bookshelves (a not uncommon complaint among book collectors!), it would be both fun and enlightening to try and collect as many titles as I could that were printed under fictitious imprints.

Thumbnail image for claude_686_1l.jpgPublishers have for centuries sought to escape secular and ecclesiastical censorship by producing titles that sport a fake publisher's name and often a fake place of printing (and/or a fake author) as well.  One of the best known of these fictitious imprints, Pierre (du) Marteau of Cologne, was widely used by Dutch and other publishers during the 17th-18th centuries to avoid prosecution for printing pirated editions, sensitive political tomes, satires, anti-clerical works and the like.

The Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Co. lists just such a title on their website.  Printed in 1686, this title (depicted above left) is a very early example of the Marteau imprint, the first known use of which was by Jean Elzevier in Leiden in 1660.  PRBM notes that this title was written by a Huguenot minister and theologian who fled France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, a typical reason for using a fictitious imprint.

Of course, so many titles have been published under fictitious imprints over the centuries that I probably need to specialize so as not to run out of time, money and bookshelves too quickly.  One area of specialization that is particularly appealing is auction catalogs with fictitious imprints.

Thumbnail image for 88SD9CM6998C_1.jpgThe set of catalogs depicted left was produced during the Anglo-Dutch Sea Wars of 1780-1784.  Currently listed at Antiquariaat Forum, this collection of pamphlets takes the form of ... fake auction catalogue[s] ...  containing fake lots with manuscripts, books, prints, drawings & paintings, furniture, artefacts etc...... Each supposed lot contains a  description with satyrical comments on the English monarchy and nobility.

Deceptions such as the above were not always attempts to escape censorship.  Folks interested in pursuing the topic further might find Fakes and Frauds, Varieties of Deception in Print and Manuscript a good place to start....
photo (97).jpgWhile we all put the finishing touches on our turkeys (and pot roast in my case), it's easy to remember the obvious things we're so thankful for -- family, friends, a roof over our heads, a job in this tough economy, etc. 

I woke up this morning, though, with something else on my mind. 

I headed into my study to turn on my computer and then adjourned to my library. Both are packed with books and both provide me with enormous pleasure. Just the sight of my antiquarian books about the American Revolution fills me with joy. Many of them rest in a Civil War-era secretary that I practically stole at an estate sale. I most often peruse my collection while sitting in one of my 19th century English Charles II-style walnut arm chairs, swiped from an auction at a fraction of their worth. Hand-colored prints of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin hang on one wall opposite reproduction images of John and Abigail Adams purchased from the Library of Congress for maybe $30.

My humble yet beautiful library and my study together are both a sanctuary and a passage to a wildly exciting world of intellectual stimulation. On this Thanksgiving, I find myself particularly appreciative of the ability to read -- and ever grateful to my parents for granting it to me. They instilled me with a love for reading at an early age, setting in motion a wonderful life that would propel me to a college education, a career in journalism and another in the nonprofit sector. 

The love of reading has brought countless other blessings to my life, from getting to know our Founding Fathers and Mothers to visiting Thoreau's cabin. I have been able to teach myself Spanish and live in Spain, interview people ranging from Mexican Noble Prize winner Octavio Paz to Southern Poverty Law Center founder Morris Dees. If it weren't for the brainpower my parents helped me generate through the ability to read, I wouldn't have met the great women I've known in my life, either: A man can only go so far on charm.

It is because Diane Blaisdell and Leonard Lancette gave me the gift of reading that my life has been such a treasure. I thought Thanksgiving might just be the best time to tell them that.

Thank you, mom and dad.
As subscribers will know, Nick Basbanes interviewed independent book publisher David R. Godine in our current issue, which was quite a treat. We even got a look at Godine's Kelmscott Chaucer. As a postscript to Nick's column, I offer a few notes:

DRG+poster1.jpgOne, Godine just released his fortieth anniversary poster (seen here) designed by Glenna Lang. It was hand-silkscreened in eight colors on fine acid-free paper by master printer Luther Davis at Axelle Editions in Brooklyn, NY, in a limited edition of 250 prints, each signed and numbered by the artist.

Two, a Godine exhibit just opened last week at the Grolier Club in New York, so if you are in town for the holidays, don't miss it. David R. Godine, Publisher: Celebrating Forty Years of Books That Matter For People Who Care runs through Jan. 7.

Three, are you still sifting through our 50 Books About Books feature? If so, perhaps you missed the entry on one of Godine's newest volumes, Portraits: Artists, Architects, Writers, Composers, and Friends, which is a collection of Barry Moser's fine engravings, exquisitely produced. A perfect holiday gift if ever there was one. 

In addition to knowing what titles you'd like to purchase at auction, reading and understanding the auctioneer's descriptions of the books, and deciding what will be your maximum bid, you'd be well served to understand the terminology of auctions. Formed in 1949, The National Auctioneers Association (NAA) promotes the professionalism of auctioneers and auctions and has a comprehensive glossary here.


For example, if you're new to buying books at auction, you'll want to make sure you understand the difference between the hammer price and the buyer's premium. Go to their site and read it all. It only takes a few minutes and you'll have a better understanding of some of the vocabulary you'll hear when you participate in a live auction.

See you in the stacks!

Bill Self.jpgThe passing last week of the Hollywood film and television producer William E. Self was noted by prominent obituaries published in the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, both of which I recommend for their appreciative reflections of this multi-talented man's many contributions to the entertainment world over the past half-century, though neither makes mention of his remarkable acumen as a book collector, or for the two sales of his beloved library last year in New York at Christie's that for a while were the talk of the antiquarian book world.

Self's television credits in various executive capacities during the 1950s, '60s, '70s, and '80s included The Twilight Zone, Peyton Place, Daniel Boone, Batman, MASH, some forty-four series alone during a fifteen-year tenure at 20th Century Fox Television, a good number of them as president of the company. Feature length productions included John Wayne's final film, The Shootist, and Sarah, Plain and Tall, starring Glenn Close, for the Hallmark Hall of Fame.

Is My Harry Potter Book Valuable?

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Do you have a gold mine on your hands with a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone? How can you tell if it's a true 1st edition? The Cataloguer's Desk has the answer!
Click on the links to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series about understanding antiquarian book auctions.

One of the things I always wondered about book auctions is how the auction process works--from a seller who is consigning books to auction to cataloguing and photographing the books, from publicizing the auction to selling the books at the actual auction. Bonhams has created a wonderful series of four videos entitled Anatomy of an Auction related to the December 2 The American Experience: 1630-1890 sale. The videos do an excellent job showing the journey on which an auction house embarks when it receives a consigned collection of books. Each video is approximately seven to ten minutes long and explains what happens when an auction house prepares a collection for sale. Bruce McKinney, the seller of the collection offered on December 2, is interviewed in the fourth video.

If, like me, you also wonder about how the auction process works, I highly recommend watching each of the four videos. Bonus: There are also fascinating glimpses into the history of some of the books that will be offered at the auction.

Click here to watch the videos.

See you in the stacks!
Yesterday I went to an estate auction in the artsy enclave of Hudson, NY, about 120 miles north of the city. But it wasn't just any country estate sale, it was the auction of the estate of investigative journalist and novelist Dominick Dunne, who died last year at the age of 83. The contents of both his New York City apartment and his Connecticut country home were on the block, in 261 lots at Stair Galleries. Antiques, furniture, art, and porcelain seemed to be the prevailing articles.

Of course, what interested me was the literary component. Dunne wrote for Vanity Fair, he authored several novels, and counted many celebrities among his close friends. So there were bound to be some books, and being close to home, I checked it out. There were many first editions, signed editions, inscribed editions, presentation copies, etc., though most quite ordinary. A 1975 first edition of Andy Warhol's The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, inscribed to Dunne, and including a drawing of a Campbell soup can, was probably the highlight of the literary lots--and it sold for $900. Four Avedon and Leibowitz titles together as a group brought it $275. Seven Bruce Weber titles, with inscriptions, took in a surprising $1,600. I considered bidding on Lot 175, a group of forty assorted fiction titles that included a signed first edition of Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, a signed first edition of Auchincloss' The Atonement, and a Pynchon first edition, but then decided I'd have to become a bookseller first. At $250, it came it under estimate, though.
You can read Part 1 of this post here.

I'm writing this series of posts on antiquarian book auctions primarily for those who haven't spent much time at antiquarian book auctions, including myself. The best way to learn is to do, and, once you've done, be willing to share it with others. That's what I'm trying to do here. If any of you more experienced book collectors or booksellers have some observations to add about auctions, please do so in the comment box below. I'm going to learn what I can from a very transparent auction: the upcoming The American Experience: 1630-1890 auction at Bonhams in New York on December 2. Even if you're a very experienced collector or bookseller, there's much to be learned in this auction, where all of the acquisition information, including price originally paid by the collection's current owner, Bruce McKinney, is included in the auction catalogue.

If you haven't already done so, you can access the online version of the catalogue here. One of the many high-spots offered for sale include landmarks of history, such as the first printing (1783) of the Treaty of Paris, when the United States is finally acknowledged as a free and independent nation. Other treasures offered for sale feature exquisite illustrations of the American environment and people: Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall's History of the Indian Tribes of North America, Mark Catesby's The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands, and several works about the American Indians by George Catlin.
Turn down your volume and buckle your seat belt. FocusFeatures just released the official trailer for one action-packed version of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. But I'll be waiting with ticket in hand, March 2011.


Even though I've been an antiquarian bookseller for almost four years and I've purchased some good items for myself and for my customers at auction, I've always been a little bit intimidated by live auctions.

Live auctions seem as if they are fraught with all kinds of peril for the uninitiated: Should I bid higher than I planned just because two or three other bidders in the room (the market?) seem to think this book is worth more than my maximum (the price I thought the market could bear)? Why didn't I examine this book more carefully during the preview? Was it the first printing or the second that has the all-important lithograph map? Even though I can't recall, should I risk it and bid anyway? When I'm caught up in the heat of bidding on an item I simply must have, will I remember that when I purchase a book at auction that the hammer price isn't usually the final price--there is a buyer's premium from the auction house (around 20% at many auction houses) and a fee for shipping and insurance. When that's all added in, is it worthwhile for me to purchase this book for resale?
A few reports from this weekend's 34th Annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair

Ian Kahn of Lux Mentis - begin here and work forward.

Chris Lowenstein at Book Hunter's Holiday - Chris wasn't at the fair this year, but has a dispatch from Mr. Z, here.

Marie at Boston Bibliophile - report here.


Foer-interior2.jpgHipster novelist Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated, Eating Animals, etc.) has the design world abuzz with his latest project, a commercially printed altered book. What does this mean? He had the idea to take his favorite book, Bruno Schulz's Polish classic The Street of Crocodiles, slice it into pieces, and reconstruct something new; a story within a story. But he didn't do it with just one copy, as most book artists do. He decided to find a publisher who would print the final product, titled Tree of Codes.
 
Foer-cover.jpgA paper engineering challenge, several printers turned down the job. In the end, the publisher, Visual Editions, found Belgian designer Sara de Bondt and a team from Die Keure, who figured that it could work if the binding was paperback.  

Foer told Vanity Fair, "I just love the physicality of books. I love breaking the spine, smelling the pages, taking it into the bath. . ." In Fast Company, John Pavlus wrote of the book, it "will fly in the face of anyone who says that physical books are passé. Tree of Codes is tactile, interactive, immersive--and it won't ever run out of batteries."

Pretty cool stuff. Read more about it at Good magazine and the Telegraph
For the past two weeks, we've been running a contest on our Facebook page. We asked our fans to tell us in 420 characters or less why his/her collection is fantastic. Then, instead of our judging the entries, we asked our 520+ fans to do it, by voting for their favorite entries. Overall, we had six contestants, and many more who participated by voting. The winning entry was written by collector David Spilman of California, in 414 characters (not including spaces -- boy, was that close!). Congrats, David! Here it is:

I collect Heroic Era + (1895 to 1940) Antarctic Books of Cook, Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton, Mawson, Byrd & others. In addition to these core books, I have added many books by other members of the major expeditions. I also read my collection that gives me a greater sense of the courage and hardships of these explorers. My goal is a comprehensive collection first edition books of early 20th Century exploration. I hope to use this collection and knowledge to teach courses in my Community College.

To read the other entries--fantastic collections, all of them, including bookbinding manuals, first editions of Jane Austen, etc.--stop by our Facebook page
melvilleportrait.jpg On the evening of November 14, 1851, one of Pittsfield, Massachusetts', great recluses sat alone at a table in Curtis's hotel in Lenox awaiting his sole guest. The occasion was supposed to be a celebration.

The reclusive Herman Melville was celebrating the American publication of his newest novel, "Moby-Dick." The one guest Melville had invited to his "publication party" was Nathaniel Hawthorne, who agreed to come even though he and his family were busy packing to leave Lenox.

Neither could afford to host the other, so dinner at the hotel had been arranged so each could pay for their own bill within the limits of their individual penury.
c11514.jpg Purushottama Lal, renowned poet and publisher of the great Indian literary imprint Writers Workshop, passed away on November 3 at his home in Kolkata. He was 81 years old.

The Writers Workshop publications were known to bibliophiles around the world for the elegance of their production. Each slim volume was bound in sari cloth from handlooms, with hand-stitching and P. Lal's own exquisite calligraphy on the title page and chapter heads. Even the type-setting was conducted by hand until just recently.

P. Lal founded Writers Workshop in 1958 with the deceptively simple goal of publishing Indian writers in English. Since then, the imprint has published over 3,500 titles, presenting a significant undertaking for any would-be collector. Lal's guiding philosophy for his publishing house was wonderfully inclusive,"WW is not a professional publishing house. It does not print well-known names; it makes names known ... and then leaves them in the loving clutches of the so-called 'free' market." As a result, Lal launched the careers of a number of prominent Indian writers including Vikram Seth, Nissip Ezekiel, Meena Alexander, Dilip Hiro, and Anita Desai, amongst many others.

Read more about P. Lal and the Writers Workshop in this excellent piece from The Economist.
The 4 November Sotheby's London Travels, Atlases, Maps and Natural History sale brought in £1,098,500, with 133 of 214 lots selling. The four-volume composite atlas (c. 1740) and Henry Cook's Recollections of a Tour in the Ionian Islands ... (1853) shared top honors, each fetching £97,250 (with the latter greatly surpassing estimates of £25,000-35,000). A 1708Janssonius atlas sold for £73,250. The Hortus Eystettensis (1613), which garned a top estimate, did not sell.

Christie's Paris Importants Livres Anciens, Livres d'Artistes et Manuscrits on 9 November made €1,137,750, with 141 of 193 lots selling. A first edition of Goya's Los Caprichos (1799) was the top seller, bringing in €145,000. Another Goya work, Treinta y tres stampas ... (1816) made €115,000. The first edition of Descartes' Discours de la Méthode made €55,000. The fragment of Saint-Exupéry's manuscript of Pilote de guerre, the top-estimated lot in this sale, failed to sell.

There are some really great sales coming up through the rest of the month (my preview here), and I'll report on those as they happen; after this weekend I'll also start previewing the really great range of sales coming up during the first week in December, including the American Experience sale at Bonhams, Edward Tufte's research library at Christie's, and the Hesketh sale at Sotheby's.
BookdealerMagCover.pngAs some of you may already be painfully aware, the UK book collector's magazine, Bookdealer, announced that it is suspending publication for the near future. Coming fast on the heels of the closure of Book and Magazine Collector last month, and Rare before that, it seems Britain is bereft of bibliophiles.

Stephen Maughan, who writes regularly for Bookdealer and also contributes to FB&C, told me Monday that he doesn't think that's the case. He wrote, "As far as book collecting in the UK, I would say it was in a pretty healthy state.The internet is a challenge for magazines and collectors tend to go to Abebooks rather than the listed dealers in these mags. But, saying that, the "news" was often far better and up to date in Bookdealer than online."

Bookdealer changed hands in the past year, and Richard Sawyer is now the editor there. He has expressed to his writers that he is trying to find a way to move forward and resume publication in early 2011. On the magazine's website, a posted message from Sawyer asserted, "Talks are already taking place with another publishing concern and it is hoped that the above will be only a temporary measure. A letter will be sent to our subscribers and regular advertisers later in the month."

slide_12873_174316_large.jpgThe Bapst Art Library at Boston College leads the list of lovely libraries published in today's Huffington Post. My personal favorite is the Chancellor Green Library at Princeton (seen here, photograph by Andreas Praefcke), though Vassar's Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library looks pretty amazing. The Huff Post re-purposed this content from the longer list published by CampusGrotto.
Looking for some stocking stuffers? Here are five beauties I particularly recommend, with more to follow in the weeks to come.

venice.JPG Venice: Pure City, by Peter Ackroyd; Nan Talese/Doubleday, 403 pages, $37.50. Writing about the life of a city as if it were a living, breathing organism is a specialty of the estimable English writer Peter Ackroyd, his "London: The Biography" of a few years back being an exemplar of the form; with "Venice: Pure City," he offers a worthy companion. As a place seemingly set apart from the rest of Italy--Venice is a cluster of islands in a lagoon, really--the city's insularity has given it a degree of independence. "The Italians do not really think of Venice at all," Ackroyd writes, "it belongs to some other realm of fancy or of artifice." His blend of detail and atmosphere is always in perfect balance, his narrative skill apparent in every chapter.

The Presidential Memoir

Barack_Obama_with_Superman.jpg George Bush's new memoir is out today. There's no telling how well it'll sell. What politicians have the most books sold? The Daily Beast has roll call of the 20 bestselling politicians (hint: Obama's on the list).

Of course, Bush isn't the first president to write his memoirs. The Daily Beast also offers up a brief history.

From the piece ...

The first memoir written by a former president to combine historical merit and real commercial success is considered to be Ulysses S. Grant's. Though Grant is viewed as one of this nation's lesser presidents, the Princeton historian Sean Wilentz said that his tainted legacy was largely the work of Southerners in the early 20th century. In fact, Grant was a hero in his own time, the savior of the Union, and in 1880, there had even been talk of running him for a third term.

But by the early 1880s, his popularity had not saved him from being nearly broke. So, perhaps sensing an opportunity, Grant's close friend Mark Twain started a publishing firm, with his nephew in charge, specifically to publish Grant's memoirs. Completed days before his death in 1885, they barely touched on the presidency, focusing instead on the Civil War. "He wanted to write about it authoritatively," Wilentz said. "There were lots of records left from the war, but he wrote a very terse and elegant account of the war that he fought, from where he stood."

It made Twain and Grant's widow some real money. Then, the book was forgotten. It took two unlikely people to revive it half century later: Gertrude Stein and the literary critic Edmund Wilson.
Dracula.jpg Today is the birthday of Bram Stoker, born in 1847. The Irish writer is best known for his gothic novel, Dracula, and in celebration of that, here's a snippet from one of Ian McKay's recent auction reports on an inscribed first edition of Stoker's classic that sold for $77,770:

Not only is this copy clean and bright, but it is inscribed by the author to Mrs. W. S. Gilbert--wife of the chap who wrote the librettos to the Savoy Operas of Gilbert & Sullivan.

At the time, some mild controversy attached to the nature and extent of the friendship between the Stoker and Gilbert households, or--to be more direct--a certain curiosity regarding the frequent meetings between Gilbert and Stoker's young wife, Florence, the Dublin beauty who had once been courted by Oscar Wilde, whilst Stoker, a theatre manager, was busy at work. [see full report here]

Dying for more Dracula? Check out his homepage.
51203ugooML._SL500_AA300_.jpg
If you don't know the work of artist Nikki McClure, based in Olympia, Washington, you should. It's nothing short of stunning.

Using an X-ACTO knife, she cuts detailed pictures from single sheets of paper. Her artwork has appeared in journals, note cards, and, more recently, in her own books (like the one pictured to the right).

Recently, Portland's fabled Powell's Books interviewed McClure about her art and her inspirations.

From the piece...

Megan: Where do you find inspiration? If you're really stuck, what do you do?

McClure: I usually sweep the floor. [Laughter]

It actually needs sweeping. You just finished the picture, so you leave your room. And the next time you come, there's always something to do, right? There's sweeping the floor.

But inspiration is like... It's everywhere. It's food. It's moss. It's mushrooms. It's the bird that just flew away from my feet. I find a lot of inspiration just... It's just life. Life's so beautiful. It's every needle on the fir tree, all the leaves. It's a way to kind of capture it and honor it, and hold on to memories, too. I feel like I'm kind of compiling our family scrapbook and sharing it with the world. It seems to resonate with people even though it's so personal to me, but I really love making pictures of events in my life. I'm kind of recording it, marking it. But the inspiration is just in the day, though sometimes it's hard to wake up. [Laughter] I like sleeping in.


Booksellers and book buyers are gearing up for next weekend's book bonanza in Boston. The ABAA's 34th International Antiquarian Book Fair runs from Friday, Nov. 12-Sunday, Nov. 14 at the Hynes Convention Center in the Back Bay section of town. More than one hundred rare gentlemen_prefer_blondes[1].jpgbook dealers will be there with their best wares, including this lovely first edition of Gentleman Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos, inscribed to editor Ray Long, who suggested the title for the book. Offered by Babylon Revisited Rare Books & Yesterday's Gallery in East Woodstock, CT.

What else is on the slate? One of the high points will surely be the keynote address presented by Michael Suarez, director of the University of Virginia's Rare Book School, at 1:00 on Sunday. His talk is titled "The Ecosystems of Book History: Local Actions, Global Analysis." Also, the Northeast Document Conservation Center is offering a workshop on "How to Cure Smelly Books ... and Other Common Problems for Book Collectors" on Saturday at 1:00. For more information, and to see the exhibitor list (Bauman, Between the Covers, Bromer, Brian Cassidy, Lux Mentis, Maggs, Oak Knoll, William Reese, Royal Books, Ken Sanders, Veatchs, John Windle, and more, oh so many more!) visit the Fair's website.

But that is not all, bookish friends -- while you're in town, there are other events for book collectors and book lovers to consider, including the Boston Book, Print & Ephemera Show on Saturday the 13th at the Park Plaza Castle (just five blocks away from the Hynes Center). The following day, Skinner holds its annual fine books and manuscripts auction, where a rare contemporary broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence will be up for grabs.

438px-Gutenberg_press.jpgIn celebration of the publication of Little Book of Letterpress, Flavorwire nominates its ten favorite letterpress studios. From Albertine Press in Somerville, MA, to Sycamore Street Press in Heber City, UT. Who's your favorite? Me, I like the work of Kennedy Prints in Gordo, AL (not listed on Flavorwire) and Bowne & Co. Stationers in New York City (also not listed, and so 'old school,' they don't even have their own website.)
250px-Frances_d'Arblay_('Fanny_Burney')_by_Edward_Francisco_Burney.jpgSome of you may recall Maureen E. Mulvihill's essay on the auction of the Peyraud Collection just about this time last year ("Literary Property Changing Hands"). Fanny Burney was one of the stars of that collection, and Dr. Mulvihill has again taken up her pen to give us a detailed account of the special Burney items that 'changed hands' at that Bloomsbury sale in May of 2009. Her essay "Bedazzled by Burney," commissioned by The Burney Letter, can be downloaded in full at the Burney Centre website
Guest Blog by Steve Hare, bookseller, Penguin collector, trustee of the Penguin Collectors Society, and sometime FB&C contributor

LCL anniv edn jacket.jpeg Penguin Classics are publishing in early November a special edition of the novel that changed British society exactly 50 years ago: Lady Chatterley's Lover. Despite the fact that the Grove Press authorized and unexpurgated edition had already been published, banned, and successfully appealed in the States, the British government decided to use the proposed UK publication by Penguin as a test case for the new Obscene Publications Act.

Penguin famously won their case, having assembled some 35 witnesses who testified in court, with as many more in reserve; having approached at least 300 authors, publishers, lawyers, politicians, doctors, churchmen, teachers, professors and even a student or two.

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