May 2017 Archives

The simple green pine desk that Henry David Thoreau used during his famous stay at Walden Pond left Concord, Massachusetts, for the first time last week, bound for the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, where it will be on exhibit beginning Friday, June 2. Alongside eighteen other Thoreau artifacts from the Concord Museum, the desk is part of a joint exhibition titled, This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal.

2 Desk copy.jpgDavid Wood, curator of the Concord Museum and author of An Observant Eye: The Thoreau Collection at the Concord Museum, explained in a press release: “Thoreau’s green desk was made in Concord in 1838 by a cabinetmaker who charged about a dollar for it. Thoreau kept it with him all his life, wrote on it daily, and kept his journal locked inside it. The part the desk played in American’s intellectual history is all out of proportion to its humble form. It’s interesting to note that in all likelihood Thoreau’s green desk has never before been more than two miles from the shop it was made in.”

Thoreau’s walking stick, flute, spyglass, and his copy of the Bhagavad-Gita are among the objects lent by the Concord Museum to the Morgan for an exhibition marking the 200th anniversary of the author’s birth. More than twenty of Thoreau’s journal notebooks from the Morgan’s collection, along with letters, manuscripts, and field notes, will also be featured.

This Ever New Self will be on view at the Morgan through September 10. It will then travel to the Concord Museum for a second run, September 29, 2017-January 21, 2018.

Image: Desk, about 1838; Concord Museum Collection; Painted pine, steel; Gift of Cummings E. Davis (1886) Th10; Provenance: Henry Thoreau; Sophia Thoreau; Cummings Davis.


3691-0041-17-003C.jpgA yearbook from Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, from Allen Ginsberg’s graduating class of 1943, signed and annotated by the Beat Generation poet himself, goes to auction next month in California. Stored in a closet for more than seventy years by Ginsberg’s classmate, Norman Katz, the yearbook turned up two years ago at an Antiques Roadshow event in Tucson, Arizona.

The blurb alongside Ginsberg’s class picture describes him as “the philosopher and genius of the class ... hates dull teachers and Republicans,” to which he added in blue pen, “May all of your 50 children be Democrats” and signed his name.

3691-0041-17-001C copy.jpgA printed “Class Poem” by Ginsberg (the class poet) appears in the yearbook, with this opening stanza:

We leave the youthful pennants and the books,
Discard the little compasses and rules;
We open up our eyes, and test our souls,
Prepare ourselves to wield more mighty tools.

Ginsberg also personalized this particular yearbook with a handwritten ditty for his pal Katz that begins:

This is the Katz Pajamas,
our graduating now:
I wish to say that I’m a
graduate, too, and bow.
 
At the Roadshow event, appraiser Jason Preston valued the yearbook at $10,000 (watch the appraisal below). At the Profiles in History Historical & Pop Culture auction on June 8, the estimate is more conservatively placed at $4,000-6,000.




Images courtesy of Profiles in History

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Gabriel García Márquez working on “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” Photograph by Guillermo Angulo
Image courtesy of Harry Ransom Center

                                                                                                                           

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, and the Harry Ransom Center (HRC) at the University of Texas at Austin is marking the day by releasing an online collection documenting the creation of the novel that catapulted Márquez onto the world stage.                                                     

This digital launch is part of a larger project funded by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources to digitize more than 24,000 images from the Márquez archive, which is slated to be completed by December 2017.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

The acquisition of the Colombian-born author’s collection from the Márquez family in 2014 complements the HRC’s vast literary archives of fellow authors like James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, and Jorge Luis Borges. Students in the Latin American Studies program will no doubt benefit from studying Márquez’s trove of manuscripts, notebooks, correspondence, photo albums, and writing implements, like the two Smith Corona typewriters and five Apple computers Márquez kept and worked on throughout his career.


On May 24, the HRC hosted a Facebook Live discussion where José Montelongo of UT’s Benson Latin American Collection and Alvaro Santana-Acuña, a Ransom Center fellow and assistant professor of sociology at Whitman College led a lively conversation in Spanish and English about Márquez and his book. (See the discussion here.)


Interestingly, Márquez destroyed his working papers for Solitude (the HRC does have galleys as well as the last typescript version of the novel), while the trove that remains reveals a perfectionist at his craft. Santana-Acuña, author of the forthcoming book, Ascent to Glory: The Transformation of ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into a Global Classic (Columbia University Press), explained what awaits scholars who examine the remaining drafts. “He was a hardworking writer. He reviewed texts again and again until he made sure that the language was simple and effective.” No small feat for a book whose plot covered seven generations and treated magic and mythology as reality, in the process creating what is widely considered the seminal work of magical realism.

                                                                                                                                                               

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Gabriel García Márquez’s annotated typescript of “Love in the Time of Cholera.” Image courtesy of Harry Ransom Center


The novel would eventually become known as one of the most influential books of the twentieth century, garnering Márquez the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, yet it was not an immediate smash hit, at least among critics. “The book was an unexpected success, but critics were baffled back in 1967,” explained Santana-Acuña. “It was anachronistic and traditionalist; a return to old-fashioned storytelling at a time when the novel form was said to be in crisis.”


Crisis or no, when it comes to Solitude, Márquez put it best: “There is always something left to love.”

The Beatrix Potter Society is crossing the pond next month to host a three-day symposium at Connecticut College entitled, “Beatrix Potter in New London on the Thames River.” Sponsored in conjunction with the college’s Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives, the three-day program will feature talks exploring Potter’s life and her relationship with the natural world, panel discussions, and an exhibition of original Beatrix Potter materials. Speakers include historian and Potter biographer Linda Lear, the Free Library of Philadelphia’s art department head Karen Lightner, and the current resident of Potter’s marital home Mandy Marshall, among many others.

                                                                                                           

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The Roly Poly Pudding. Public Domain


Potter enthusiasts are heartily welcomed, especially since this is is the first Potter Society meeting held in the United States in five years.


Registration for the symposium is required and the deadline to register has been extended to May 31. The full cost to attend is $450, which includes on-campus lodging and all meals. A reduced rate of $370 is available for those lodging off-campus. Members of the Potter Society may also apply for funding assistance through the Jane Morse Memorial Fund


Find the application here.
For further information, contact Betsy Bray at braybetsybps@gmail.com or at (860) 752-9303

In need of some bookish beach reads for the upcoming long weekend? Get thee to a bookstore or library and fetch one of these five recommended novels:

cover_Mad Richard copy.jpgMad Richard by Lesley Krueger (ECW Press, $15.95) is based on the tragic true story of Victorian-era artist Richard Dadd. As his promising career takes off, Dadd rubs shoulders with J.M.W. Turner and Charles Dickens. Charlotte Brontë also enters the picture, after Dadd’s mental health takes a turn and he ends up in the Royal Bethlem Hospital (i.e., Bedlam). Smart and satisfying.

The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s, $25.99) is the third novel by the author of A Paris Apartment, featured in my 2014 summer reading round-up. Set in Nantucket, the novel’s dual narrative pings between the eve of World War II and the present, following the characters who fill the faded pages of a summer home’s guest book. A great escape!

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (Tin House, $25.95) is my current read, picked up for its premise: A wife hides letters to her husband within the pages of the thousands of books he has collected, and then disappears. Set on the English seaside, the novel is thoughtful, with a sharp edge. If that sounds like your cup of tea: try an excerpt

9781250100528 copy.jpgThe Adventures of John Carson in Several Quarters of the World by Brian Doyle (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s, $25.99) is Robert Louis Stevenson’s lost first novel, imagined by Doyle. As “an affectionate homage,” (The New York Times) Stevenson fans are likely to either love or hate it. Boyle, however, does succeed in transporting the reader to 19th-century San Francisco.  

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Random House, $28) is historical fiction--not “bookish” in the same sense of the others on this list, but it is so innovative in narrative style and so brilliantly imagined, the reader feels herself in the presence of Literature. It is haunting and heartfelt, and lives up to all of the hype (...MacArthur Genius, bestseller, critical acclaim).

Images courtesy of ECW Press and Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press.

Exciting news for young female book collectors: Brooklyn’s Honey & Wax Booksellers has announced an annual prize of $1,000 to be awarded to a woman aged 30 or younger with an “outstanding book collection.” The collection can include books, manuscripts, and/or ephemera, organized by whatever principle the collector deems appropriate to the material.

H&R copy.jpgHoney & Wax booksellers Heather O’Donnell and Rebecca Romney, pictured here at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair last year, took some inspiration for the collecting prize from the American book collector Mary Hyde Eccles. “Rebecca and I are both interested in the historic role of women in the rare book trade, on both the buying and the selling sides, and want to do whatever we can to get younger women involved,” said O’Donnell.

The Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize “rewards creativity, coherence, and bibliographic rigor,” according to the announcement, and “collections will not be judged on their size or their market value.” Entrants need not be enrolled in a degree program, a significant difference from similar collecting contests, and one that opens it up to a broader range of applicants. As O’Donnell said, “We want to give those women who have applied to their college book collecting contests and/or to the National Collegiate contest an additional chance to be recognized for their work, and we’d also like to reach out to bookish young women outside the academy.”

The deadline is July 15, and the application details are here.

Image courtesy of Honey & Wax.

Massive Freud Collection for Sale

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Bronze relief portrait medallion. 1906. 60 mm diameter.

 

The 19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop recently announced the sale of a massive 750-piece collection dedicated to the life and works of the father of modern psychology and psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. 


The collection includes a comprehensive representation of Freud’s published works from the 1880s to the 1940s. Freud was is one of the field’s most prolific authors, and many of the books in this collection are in their original printed wrappers. A run of 22 rare offprints--galley proofs, presentation and association copies--is believed to be the largest such collection in private hands.


Also among the items are etchings, lithographs, bronze medallions, and photographs of Freud, many of which are signed by the doctor. In addition to manuscripts, correpondance, and psychoanalytic journals, are nearly 80 books that Freud had donated to the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society, remarkable because the Nazis dissolved the society and destroyed the library in 1938. This cache was secretly saved. 

                                                                                                                                                                          Believed to be one of the most thorough private collections on Freud, the entire collection is being offered for $350,000. For a detailed inventory, contact Stephan Lowentheil at 19th Century Rare Book and Photograph shop at http://www.19thshop.com/

 

Sangorski & Sutcliffe is synonymous with fine binding and is often hailed as the “Rolls Royce of Bookbinding.” At the turn of the twentieth century, Francis Sangorski and George Sutcliffe wowed their fellow craftsmen with elaborate and innovative leather binding designs. Ornate jewelled bindings--featuring inset semi-precious stones--became one of their specialties.  

Next month one of those sumptuous bindings is going to auction in New York. It is, according to Bonhams, a “fantastic example of a Sangorski & Sutcliffe jewelled binding ... with 9 pearls and 3 rubies, and incorporating 9 sapphires, surrounded with a wreath of laurel enriched with 79 pearls.” And the inside is as beautiful as the outside: Bound within is an illuminated manuscript on vellum of Byron’s “Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte” accomplished by L. Fairfax Murray, an artist associated with the English Arts and Crafts movement.

80 copy.jpgNotably, this book was once owned by Phoebe A.D. Boyle, a Brooklyn widow and prominent Sangorski & Sutcliffe collector. Boyle’s collection of 45 S&S jewelled bindings (and 31 illuminated manuscripts done by Alberto Sangorski, Francis’s brother) went to auction in 1923. “It was by far the greatest array of these masterpieces ever put together and can never be replicated,” wrote Stephen Ratcliffe, in a 2014 article for Fine Books about the Ransom Center’s renowned S&S collection.

Perhaps not replicated, but some collector will have the opportunity to nab this one at least -- for an estimated $40,000-60,000.

Image courtesy of Bonhams

In response to California’s recently passed autograph law, Sacramento-based Pacific Legal Foundation filed a First Amendment lawsuit in the Northern District of U.S. District Court in California on behalf of Bay Area bookstore Book Passage and its co-owner, Bill Petrocelli, seeking a repeal of a law they consider unconstitutional.


The complaint, Passage v. Becerra, alleges that Assembly Bill 1570  makes it illegal for Book Passage to host author talks and signing events. According to section 1739.7 of the law, anyone selling an autographed book worth more than five dollars must provide a “certificate of authenticity,” which must include a description of the book, the signatory’s identity, the identity of any third parties witnessing the autograph, date of sale, insurance information, and other such details. A copy of these records must be maintained by the seller for seven years. Violating these requirements subjects a seller to huge fines: “a civil penalty in an amount equal to 10 times actual damages, plus court costs, reasonable attorney’s fees, interest, and expert witness fees, if applicable, incurred by the consumer in the action. The court, in its discretion, may award additional damages based on the egregiousness of the dealer’s conduct.” (California Civil Code § 1739.7(g))


The law went into effect on January 1.


Book Passage alleges AB-1570 is a violation of the First Amendment because of the undue burden it creates on the bookseller to both disseminate books, autographed or otherwise, and burdens protected speech.The lawsuit also claims that AB-1570 irrationally exempts pawn shops and online retailers from the law but not brick-and-mortar storefronts. “The new restrictions were held out as a means to protect consumers, but the Legislature exempted precisely those transactions -- internet and pawn shop transactions -- where consumer vulnerability is highest,” said PLF Senior Attorney Joshua Thompson.


Petrocelli says Book Passage hosts over 700 author events a year and that this new provision to the autograph law will create a “massive bureaucratic nightmare,” severely hampering his ability to continue hosting author talks at his three stores.


Pacific Legal Foundation is representing Book Passage pro bono in the lawsuit. “With the passage of AB-1570, California lawmakers have threatened the vitality of bookstores and the hosting of author events, and in so doing, dealt a major blow to free speech,” said PLF Attorney Anastasia Boden.


A spokesperson for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said they are reviewing the complaint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                   Speaking on behalf of the ABAA regarding any legal action, Executive Director Susan Benne said: “We fully understand and share the frustrations and problems AB-1570 has caused since its passage. The ABAA has chosen to pursue a legislative solution by collaborating with California lawmakers to amend the legislation to protect our members, rather than suing the state of California to overturn it in court. A protracted lawsuit would be costly, could take years to resolve, and risks a judgement adverse to our interests.”

                                                                                                                                                                                  See the complaint here.

Collectors of any stripe will recognize themselves within the pages of James Barron’s absorbing book, The One-Cent Magenta: Inside the Quest to Own the Most Valuable Stamp in the World ($23.95), published earlier this year. À la The Red Violin, Barron traces the episodic history of the penny postage issued in British Guiana in 1856 that implausibly became the world’s most expensive stamp when it sold at Sotheby’s for about $9.5 million in 2014 (auctioneer David Redden, who has sold his share of famous rare books, plays the role of supporting actor in Barron’s book).

magenta.jpgIt all began with a twelve-year-old philatelist who discovered the reddish scrap with clipped corners among his uncle’s old papers. He sold it for six shillings (about $16.83 in today’s dollars, Barron informs us). After that, the stamp had many adventures and more than a few oddball owners, which Barron, a New York Times journalist, reports with verve.

Hidden away for large blocks of time in a Parisian castle and a New York City bank vault, the unique one-cent magenta became a source of intrigue: Was it doctored? Over-painted? Was a second discovered and quickly destroyed to bolster its value? Barron delves into these details without getting bogged down in philatelic minutiae--readers need not have more than a passing interest in postal matters to thoroughly enjoy this book.    

                                                                                                                                                                                       Image Courtesy of Algonquin Books

FBC2017summer-cover.jpgOur summer print edition is currently en route to subscribers. This year we decided to try a travel theme, apropos to the vacation season. So our readers will be swept away to London to join a walking tour of the city’s “Lost Libraries,” and they’ll get a preview of Chicago’s brand new American Writers Museum, and they’ll peek inside Winterthur’s mysterious Memorial Library in Delaware. Where else will they armchair-travel? Colonial Virginia and Civil War-era Gettysburg; an orchard in Colorado and a country house in Wales. And our “How I Got Started” collector interview focuses on what else? Literary travel guides.

All that in addition to our featured columns from the likes of Nick Basbanes and Joel Silver, auction reports from Ian McKay, a feature story on Griffin & Sabine creator Nick Bantock, and our annual Biblio 360 guide to the bookish clubs, classes, fairs, and events of interest.

Didn’t subscribe but still want to order one? Email our circulation department at circasst@finebooksmagazine.com or visit our online store.

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Image copyright 2012 the Balbusso sisters. Reproduced with permission from the Folio Society.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                      Motherhood takes on a whole new meaning in The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s dystopian tale of a fundamentalist theocracy. The award-winning bestseller was recently adapted into a television series airing on Hulu to much fanfare--to get up to speed, read Emily Nussbaum’s excellent analysis of the series and how the show’s creators adapted Atwood’s critique of Reagan-era sexual politics for a contemporary audience. The takeaway: it’s different, but rendered totally relevant to 2017, and a quick internet search yields all sorts of fascinating (if chilling) comparisons between the show, the state of feminism, the environment, and our current political climate. (Be on the lookout in episode one for a cameo by Atwood, who plays one of the women indoctrinating Offred, played by Elizabeth Moss.)


Before binge-watching the show, consider picking up the Folio Society’s 2012 edition of the book. Complete with a new introduction by the author, this incarnation includes illustrations by Italian sister-artists Anna and Elena Balbusso, whose painterly creations are often heavy with iconography and symbolism, and their work here is no different. “For a long time we hoped for a book like this [The Handmaid’s Tale] and we loved the challenge,” the Balbussos said. “The theme of a woman’s body appealed to our sensibility.” The sisters strike a decidedly futurist note with images full of bold, fascist-era strokes of red, white, and black.


Watch the show. Read the book. Discuss. If the whole enterprise starts to feel too grim, chin up: “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”


Hulu streams new episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale Wednesdays. 

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The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, illustrated by the Balbusso sisters; Folio Society, $74.95, 366 pages. Image Courtesy of the Folio Society.

California bookseller David Brass has uncovered a rare first edition of Edward Lear’s famous children’s book, A Book of Nonsense. First published in two volumes in 1846, the book includes seventy-two humorous verses, accompanied by Lear’s absurd illustrations. The two volumes are bound here in one small quarto in contemporary half red hard-grain morocco over marbled boards. Brass plans to exhibit this beauty at the ABA London International Antiquarian Book Fair at Olympia, June 1-3.

03897_5170.jpgAbout five hundred copies of “Nonsense” were initially published, but, as is often the case with children’s books, they were read to tatters. A census taken in 1988 located only eleven complete copies and twelve incomplete, most of which are in libraries. In a press release, the ABA commented, “The appearance on the market of a previously unknown, complete first edition is therefore an extremely unusual and exciting event for book lovers.” This one had been in a private collection for the past twenty-five years, according to Brass.

The price tag for this newly unearthed treasure? £59,000 ($75,000).

03897_4278.jpgLear’s Book of Nonsense is often cited as one of the high-spots of children’s books, coming in at #32 in the Grolier Club’s One Hundred Books Famous in Children’s Literature.

                                                                                                                                                                         Images courtesy of the ABA 

Guest Post by Kara Accettola

                                                                                                                                                 “Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.” --George Eliot, a daughter

The contemporary world brings many new things: an undeniably brisk pace, an unclear future, and an ever-changing face of motherhood. Working vs. stay-at-home  mothers elicit philosophical mommy wars, along with a side of mommy guilt. We are called to nurture, rear and cultivate, as well to bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan, to stay sexy, remain relevant, and preserve the muse. We evoke countless archetypes: the hausfrau, the hunter, the trophy, the school marm, the momma bear, the CEO, the soldier, the revolutionary, the blogger, the woman.  

While the state of motherhood redefines us, the roles of our past and the roles as yet realized do not simply vanish. Once the default condition--the cultural currency of our sex--now the pendulum of mother balance swings even closer to our tender underbelly.

Observe her in the wild and she may be listening to a podcast on her commute, juggling baskets and toddlers at the market, or sitting focused in front of a laptop at midnight--burning that oil, the incandescent glow flaring against black mirrors of glass as it has for so many before her. This may be the contemporary snapshot of 21st-century matris, but is it very different than our matriarchal forebears?  

Here, four literary notables who wore the cape of motherhood and left us with a legacy reaching far beyond their natural heirs:

Mary Wollstonecraft (b. 1759- d. 1797)

“The man who can be contented to live with a pretty and useful companion who has no mind has lost in voluptuous gratifications a taste for more refined pleasures; he has never felt the calm and refreshing satisfaction. . . .of being loved by someone who could understand him.”  

So Mary Wollstonecraft writes in one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Written in part as a response to Tallyrand-Perrigord’s assertion that a domestic education was all that women needed,  she called vehemently and originally for rounded and worldly education, to elevate women’s place as companions, not ornaments. Absent the formal argument style of the day’s philosophical writings, her long essay form presented with a large dose of sensibility. While later criticized, it is thought to have been well received at the time of release. Twentieth-century feminists have tended to view her life itself, as well as works, as a template for a progressive femininity, yet the writings have been held in evolving yet continuous regard, from both within and without the academy and at the crossroads of intersectional feminism.

Mary, the challenger to Rousseau, the inspiration to Wordsworth and Coleridge, the author-activist immortalized in words and legacy, and mother. Her first child was born of an affair predating her marriage to anarchist forefather William Godwin. Years later, she died shortly after giving birth to her second daughter, who would come to be known as Mary Shelley.

Mary Shelley (b. 1797 - d. 1851)

“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.” -- Shelley, from Frankenstein.

The daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, she took an early liking to writing and was encouraged to this. Having lost her when she was a newborn, she was raised by her philosopher father and his new wife, provided access to libraries, tutors and governesses and surrounded by artists, thinkers, and politicos.  

At a time when girls are choosing prom dresses, she was entwined in an affair with Percy Bysshe Shelley, meeting in secrecy at her mother’s grave. Shortly thereafter, the duo would leave for Europe, leaving behind a wake of lost hearts, including Shelley’s pregnant wife who would in later years throw herself into the river Thames. Their radical circle and subsequent tumultuous years would write deep loss for Mary, most profoundly the deaths of her two children, a miscarriage, her sister’s suicide, and her husband Percy’s laudanum-fueled drowning.

Her salvation and solace was found in rearing her remaining child and through her work. While best known for her iconic work, Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus, released anonymously in 1818, recent scholarship has shed light on the sum of her literary output and steadfast radical philosophy.  

Doris Lessing (b. 1919 - d. 2013)

After half a century of work, a mother of three, novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, and biographer, described by the Swedish academy as “that epicist of the female experience,” became the eleventh woman and the oldest person to receive the Nobel prize.

Born in Iran to British parents,  Doris Lessing began as a teen penning African magazine articles. Her jewel, The Golden Notebook, is considered a feminist classic by many scholars, yet Doris rejected being overtly labeled as a feminist author, quoted as telling the NY Times: “What the feminists want of me is something they haven’t examined because it comes from religion. They want me to bear witness. What they would really like me to say is, ‘Ha, sisters, I stand with you side by side in your struggle toward the golden dawn where all those beastly men are no more.’ Do they really want people to make oversimplified statements about men and women? In fact, they do. I’ve come with great regret to this conclusion.”

A prolific, socially prescient writer, she reflects with bold honesty on the arc of her own motherhood. In 1949 she left Africa for London to pursue her craft and communist beliefs. She travelled with her second husband and two-year old son, but left her elder children with their father, later saying: “For a long time I felt I had done a very brave thing. There is nothing more boring for an intelligent woman than to spend endless amounts of time with small children. I felt I wasn’t the best person to bring them up. I would have ended up an alcoholic or a frustrated intellectual like my mother.”  

Nikki Giovanni (b. 1943)
Poet and author Nikki Giovanni, single mother by choice to one son, is considered the “Poet of the Black Revolution.” One of the most noted Black Arts movement authors, she is known for her powerful examination of race, gender dynamics and social issues. She examines black womanhood, culture, and family status markers such as the concept of ‘breadwinner’ in her canon of work now decades in the making.

In “Mother” she recalls:

i’m sure i just hung there by the door
i remember thinking: what a beautiful lady
she was very deliberately waiting
perhaps for my father to come home
from his night job or maybe for a dream
that had promised to come by
“come here” she said “i’ll teach you
a poem: i see the moon
the moon sees me
god bless the moon
and god bless me”
i taught it to my son
who recited it for her
just to say we must learn
to bear the pleasures
as we have borne the pains

--Kara Accettola is the owner of Little Sages Books, Member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, The Ephemera Society of America, and The Grolier Club. She works with letters, books, photography, archives, and ephemera relating foremost to Women, History, Art, Cultural and Social History.

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The Key in the Hand, Japan Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 2015. Image courtesy of Galerie Templon. 

                                                                                                                                            The Galerie Templon in Paris is hosting an exhibition dedicated to Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota from May 20 through July 22, 2017. The performance and installation artist is known for her room-filling pieces that are at once monumental yet incredibly intricate, as if a giant spider has enveloped everything in its path in skeins of thread. Indeed, Shiota signature is quite literally tying various components of her work--often mundane items like keys, shoes, and dresses--together with red woven wool yarns, spinning intricate, ghostly webs beckoning for inspection and introspection. Shiota’s pieces are art as theater--viewers become participants in the installations, themselves springboards for meditations on the constant tension between life and death. She has said in interviews that most of her work focuses on “the memory of absent things” and that rooms can possess memory of those no longer with us, recalling, in a way, the cognitive realism of Proust and his madeline in À La Recherche du Temps Perdu.


Entitled, Destination, Shiota’s current exhibition employs empty boats as an attempt to explore life’s journeys, dreams, and how modern lifestyles have pushed humankind towards the unknown at an ever increasing pace. The show follows a theme Shiota explored at her other recent installation at the chic Parisian department store Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, where she suspended a fleet of spectral wooden boats like a massive chandelier over the store using 300,000 yards of woven white thread. (Check out the opening night here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwshqeh-k9s )


Shiota revisits the boat theme in Destination, where a fleet of eleven-foot boats surround a sixteen-foot vessel, the ensemble caught in a red sea of red yarn. “I have been using boats [in my artwork] since my exhibition at the Japan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015,” explained Shiota, who, like many artists, uses boats as symbols of travel and finding one’s destination, though there is a slightly dark element to all this. If viewing the boats from below, as in the Bon Marché exhibit, the viewer becomes a drowning victim looking up at the hulls. Here, red yarn ensnares the boats, possibly preventing these vessels from arriving at their final destination. None of Shiota’s boats carry passengers but perhaps, as the artist suggests, they carry spirits and memories of the dead.


Destination also suggests that, in this age of hyper-fast everything, perhaps we’re getting tangled in the process, forgetting what harbor we’re actually navigating towards, and that maybe we should all just slow down a little bit and enjoy the ride. “Though we may not know where we are heading, we can never stop,” Shiota said. “Life is a journey of uncertainty and wonder, and the boats symbolize our dreams and hopes.”

                                                                                                                                                                

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Image courtesy of Galerie Templon. 

On May 24, Maggs Bros. Ltd.--“antiquarian booksellers by appointment to the Queen”--will re-open at its new headquarters, 48 Bedford Square. The long-lived bookshop had been based at 50 Berkeley Square for nearly eighty years before the decision was made, in late 2015, to cut short its 99-year lease and relocate.

The firm founded in 1853 by Uriah Maggs is still run by the same family. Ed Maggs is managing director, and his son, Benjamin, is a sixth-generation bookseller. Maggs and his staff of twenty work closely with book collectors and institutional libraries, offering superior rare books, maps, and manuscripts.   

image001.jpg“We’re tremendously excited about this move. It has been a great challenge, first to excavate and sort out the extraordinary layers of material buried in the catacombs of 50 Berkeley Square, to restore this wonderful new building, and to occupy it. I hope it will look as if it’s been effortless, but there’s been a lot of very hard work and very good faith gone into this project,” Ed Maggs commented in a press statement.

The new Bedford Square location comes with its own special provenance--it was formerly the home of Bedford College, the first higher education institution for women in Britain, attended by author George Eliot, Kate Dickens (daughter of Charles), and Lady Byron (wife of the notorious poet).  

In the spirit of innovation, Maggs seeks to broaden the collector community with events and exhibitions. On May 25, in conjunction with Rare Books London, Maggs will be hosting a colloquium titled Tattered remnants of lost civilizations, or fixed points in a shifting world? where writers, collectors, and librarians will discuss the current state of the various book trades. Two exhibitions are also in the works for summer: one focused on T.E. Lawrence and one on Evelyn Waugh’s artwork.  

Said Maggs, “The last 20 years have seen unprecedented change in our world. Both the purpose and perception of books and manuscripts have changed profoundly, as have their marketplaces. The tectonic shift that has challenged our trade is entering a mature stage: the drift of the two continents of text and object, sometimes colliding, sometimes moving apart, is beginning to settle down. The coming years are going to be tremendously interesting. There’s a burgeoning culture of collecting and interpreting material among youngsters these days, which is based on a need to find new ways of looking at the world, of finding new ways to interpret both the past and the present. The firm has a really strong cadre of young booksellers working here now, and the combination of their enthusiasm with the experience of us oldsters bodes extremely well.”

                                                                                                                                        Image courtesy of Maggs Bros. Ltd.

I sat down for lunch with my friend Phil and gave him some news that he found shocking: I told him I was thinking hard about selling my once-treasured personal library. I was ready to let it all go -- every rare book about the American Revolution, a small collection of artifacts like a wrought iron camp stove, my big oil on canvas painting of George815.JPG
Washington and other Revolutionary art, my antique chairs, secretary, revolving book cases. My Henry David Thoreau corner, too. I was tired of it, I told him. I never spend time in the library anymore; I never crack a book. The collection I spent the last two decades assembling sat abandoned, my passion snuffed out. I might as well sell it and put the money into something else.


Phil listened patiently, taking time to digest our pile of hamburgers and chicken wings along with what I just told him. He took a slow sip of water and told me that my idea was the dumbest one I had ever conceived. He said that I had clearly been down in the dumps lately and that I should not make such a momentous decision in that state of mind. 


I promised him that I would give myself some time to see if I felt differently later. I shelved the conversation and went back to work running my antiques and collectibles business (and some rare books, too).


My girlfriend Won-ok and I then suddenly moved to a new house. It has a family room built onto it that features floor-to-ceiling recessed book shelves along one wall. It’s bathed in natural light from multiple windows and couldn’t be more perfectly suited for a library. The room struck me as a blank canvas, a chance to create something new. We unloaded our truck and I spent three days setting up my library before I even trifled with things like beds, kitchen utensils, and the like. I was shocked by the fervor the work unleashed. We invited Phil over to take a look. He was blown away. He said the room felt equal parts library, museum and salon. He was kind enough not to say, “I told you so.”


837.JPG Won-ok and I continued unpacking and began hosting social gatherings even as we worked. Everyone naturally gravitated to the library without me ushering them in. We sat for hours and spoke of politics, the news of the day, what our family members were doing, how our careers were going. We talked about old times. People asked me about my books, artifacts and art. They even began to read the books, too. I started reading again myself. I began reconnecting with dear friends including John and Abigail Adams, Ben Franklin and of course the General himself. I began to remember all the things I loved about collecting the American Revolution.


My modest library was more beautiful than it had ever been. I also realized that a huge part of my new joy came from the fact that, unlike the case in my previous dwelling, my library and every other room was not overwhelmed with excess merchandise from our business. Won-ok and I may not have mutually pledged “to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor” but we did vow not to let any merchandise invade any part of our new home. It could go in our huge new basement office but not anywhere else. Not even for a day.


Won-ok and I unloaded all kinds of other clutter during the move. Our new home felt like a normal house once again. I kept on reading the Washington Post in my library every morning before work and playing with my books in the evening. I started writing again, too--“clocking out” of my basement office and retiring to the main floor so that I could get creative in my clean, sunny library.


I could not have been more excited to attend the 2017 Washington Antiquarian Book Fair on April 28-29. I was thrilled to return to the hunt of collecting and have the chance to again talk shop with the book dealing world. I even donned one of my all-time favorite t-shirts featuring an Edward Gorey illustration and a caption that reads “Real men read.” The shirt starts conversations everywhere I go, but I certainly didn’t anticipate the one I would have at WABF. Dealer Larry Rakow of Wonderland Books stopped me in my tracks.002.JPG “I designed that shirt!” he said, in clear disbelief to see someone still wearing one nearly 15 years after he created it. Running another company at the time, he asked children’s illustrators to submit work he could use to make t-shirts to promote reading. Famed illustrators like Gorey sent in their work and Rakow developed language for them.


“I realized most t-shirts and items about books were aimed at patrons who were women as they’re dominant in the professions of teaching and libraries,” he told me. “I thought it was time we should start producing shirts that spoke to men, too. That was back when phrases like ‘Real men eat quiche’ were popular. I thought, ‘No, real men don’t eat quiche. Real men read!”


I felt a little star-struck, standing there in the presence of a man whose work has given me so much joy over the years. The one I had on was actually my second; I wore out the first over the years. I couldn’t resist the urge to do a quick video interview with Rakow about the “Real men read” shirt.


I returned to my quest for books to buy and began exploring other opportunities to again immerse myself in the world of Fine Books & Collections. I had a great conversation with Amanda Zimmerman, who has one of my dream jobs as a librarian in the Rare Book and Special Collections Reading Room at the Library of Congress -- my favorite place on the planet. She moonlights as volunteer for the Washington Rare Book Group. Its members include everyone from professional book folks to everyday folks who just love books. I couldn’t sign up for its e-mail list fast enough. I also picked up a brochure from Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. Some guys dream of going to a Major League Baseball fantasy camp; I dream of going to a five-day program to study the history of books and printing.


I was so happy to be traipsing around WABF losing myself in the world of old books again that I didn’t notice that something had caught Won-ok’s attention. After years of kindly spending time with me as I enjoyed my hobby but never catching the fever herself, she spotted a book that Rakow had on display: The Speaking Picture Book: A Special Book with Picture, Rhyme and Sound for Little People. The finely crafted book was made in Germany in the 1800s and features nine pulls that you can tug and that miraculously still produce farm animal sounds. (See the book in action in this quick video.) 


021.JPG“If I made more money, I’d like to buy that book,” she told me over our WABF lunch break. I was stunned. She had never purchased an antiquarian book yet there she sat talking about diving right into the deep end of the pool. “I’ve never let that stop me before,” I said. “If you love it, let’s go back and get it before someone else does.”


We sprang from the table and raced back to our new friend Rakow. I couldn’t have been more proud or excited to see Won-ok buy her first rare book. I also couldn’t believe she out-spent me on the day.


Won-ok and I left the fair and eagerly headed home to place our prized new possessions in our prized new library. My love for the room and for old books has been completely reborn--and now there are two of us!


Former journalist Christopher Lancette lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, and is thrilled to again be contributing to Fine Books & Collections.

 

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Studio photo of Peter O’Toole in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia. Courtesy Harry Ransom Center.

 

The Harry Ransom Center (HRC) at the University of Texas at Austin recently announced its acquisition of the archives of Peter O’Toole (1932-2013), the legendary British-Irish actor who began his career as a promising drama student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the 1950s. His Academy-Award-nominated turn as T.E. Lawrence--whose archives are also at HRC--in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962) catapulted O’Toole into the spotlight. (See the 60-second O’Toole montage HRC put together celebrating the acquisition here.)

Having the Lawrence and O’Toole archives in the same place offers rich opportunity for studying and comparing the two collections. “A nearly endless amount of research can come out of the collections of T.E. Lawrence and Peter O’Toole individually, but one of the particularly interesting stories is seeing how T. E. Lawrence the person began documenting his own life, and how that story grew into the legend he’s become,” said Eric Colleary, the HRC’s Cline Curator of Theatre and Performing Arts.

The creation of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the inspiration for the 1962 film, is “as much a part of the Lawrence legend as his time in the Middle East,” said Colleary. Lawrence lost the first draft at a train station in 1919, so he began rewriting the story from memory. This handwritten second draft, the earliest existing draft of what would become Seven Pillars of Wisdom, is part of the HRC archives. (Finding Aid for the Lawrence Collection: http://norman.hrc.utexas.edu/fasearch/findingAid.cfm?eadid=00073)

                                                                                                                                                                           

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Unidentified photographer. T. E. Lawrence. Courtesy Harry Ransom Center.

                                                                                                                                                    Now, the addition of the O’Toole papers extends the Lawrence-O’Toole connection. A trove of press materials, photographs from the shooting of Lawrence of Arabia, and fan letters all demonstrate that this was a seminal role for O’Toole.                                                              

“O’Toole’s script for Lawrence of Arabia is here, but like many British actors of his generation, the script is mostly clean,” explained Colleary. “O’Toole was publicly critical of the American method style of acting, where scripts are often heavily marked with gesture, movement, and character motivation.”

The O’Toole collection reveals the actor’s talent as a writer, though Colleary isn’t surprised by that. “He had an incredible gift for the English language, and a style and wit that you can see in candid interviews. His archive includes unproduced screenplay adaptations of Uncle Vanya and Juno written by O’Toole himself, along with notes on drama and acting.” Interestingly enough, O’Toole once considered becoming a college educator in the United States, but rather than focus on acting, he envisioned a course dedicated to his beloved Shakespeare.

Like the Lawrence archives, O’Toole’s collection is deeply personal. “Peter O’Toole was a very private person who nearly always turned down interview requests from biographers. Speculation led to wild stories about O’Toole’s life and escapades - some true, some pure fiction. His archive reveals a much more complex person. Like Lawrence, his papers reveal the man behind the legend.”

 

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Peter O’Toole. Unidentified photographer. Courtesy Harry Ransom Center.

Fancy yourself the next Bard of Avon? Well then, here’s your chance: The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) in Staunton, Virginia, announced last month an international playwriting competition called “Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries.” The contest seeks to inspire dramatists to “compose original works that serve as partner plays to Shakespeare’s classics.” ASC hopes to find 38 winning plays--each serving as a modern companion to one of Will’s original 38--and to produce them over the next 20 years.

565px-Title_page_William_Shakespeare's_First_Folio_1623.jpg“There aren’t many plays out there that vibe off Shakespeare,” said Jim Warren, artistic director of the American Shakespeare Center. “We’re not looking for a retelling of Shakespeare plays. We’re looking for partner plays that are inspired by Shakespeare, plays that might be sequels or prequels to Shakespeare’s stories, plays that might tell the stories of minor characters in Shakespeare’s stories, plays that might dramatize Shakespeare’s company creating the first production of a title, plays that might include modern characters interacting with Shakespeare’s characters, plays that will be even more remarkable when staged in rotating repertory with their Shakespeare counterpart and actors playing the same characters who might appear in both plays, plays that not only will appeal to other Shakespeare theatres, but also to all types of theatres and audiences around the world.”

During the first year of the competition, contestants can choose to remix one of these four Shakespearean scripts: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry IV, Part 1, The Comedy of Errors, or The Winter’s Tale. Two annual prizes of $25,000 will be awarded.

Aspirants have until February 15, 2018 to “call for pen and ink, and write [their] mind.” More details are available here.

Image: Shakespeare’s portrait by Martin Droeshout, frontispiece of the First Folio. Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University [2], Public Domain, via Wikimedia.


Soaring High with Vintage Airline Posters

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In the summer 2015 issue of Fine Books & Collections, Martha Steger wrote about the glory days of travel posters and how the field has opened up to collectors in recent years. (Read the full article here.) As Richard Davies at AbeBooks.com writes in his primer on collecting vintage airline posters, “You could ... collect by era, destination, artist, or style. There are lots of routes to go.”


For those of you feeling the pull of vintage airline posters, AbeBooks has pulled together a series from the glamorous days of air flight--i.e., 1940 to 1984--being offered by various booksellers on its site.


The usual book collecting points apply to posters, but below are a few in particular to keep in mind:


1. Posters were not mass-produced and were generally printed in a single run. Most were tossed after a few months, so scarcity can drive up demand, with prices ranging from $100 online to $162,500--the record Swann Galleries set for a travel poster three years ago. Which leads to:
2. Condition, condition, condition. If you’re interested in a particular poster, find out if it was ever tacked on a wall--are there holes in the paper? Water stains? Sunning? Dirt? Even if a poster is rare, you may be able to negotiate a better price if the poster needs restoration.
3. Love the posters but want to stick to a theme? Consider collecting by airline or by geographical region, and go from there. If you’re thinking of building your collection around a particular artist, like Donald Brun, Franz Fiebiger, or Gert Sellheim, know that it may be harder to authenticate their work--illustrators rarely signed posters.

                                                                                                                                                          To help your collection soar, consider reading Fly Now!: The Poster Collection of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, chapter 2 in the scholarly Poetics of the Poster: The Rhetoric of Image-Text by David Scott, and the gorgeous Airline Visual Identity by Callisto Publishers.


Check out ABE’s catalog of vintage airline posters here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/abebooks_inc/sets/72157682180444595.

                                                                                                                                            

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Images used with permission from AbeBooks. 

tomzille.jpgOur Bright Young Collectors series continues today with Tom Zille of Berlin, Germany who collects English and German interwar literature. Tom is a member of the Half-Crown Club of book collectors and has written about his collecting in The Book Collector and other places.


Where are you from / where do you live?


I was born in Leipzig (erstwhile printing and bookselling capital of Germany), but I now live in Berlin.


What do you study at University?


After training as a bookseller in Leipzig, I studied English and German Literature at Berlin and Cambridge. I am now reading for an M.A. in English Literatures at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Brexit permitting, I shall go back to Cambridge afterwards.


Please introduce us to your book collection. What areas do you collect in?


I collect English and German literature of the interwar years, mostly first editions. Theoretically, all books published between 1919 and 1939 are “eligible for inclusion.” The main criterion is that they be characteristic of their period, be it with regard to their design, literary style, or social and political aims. Many of the books are concerned with the wars, of course, either discussing the past one or in some ways anticipating the war to come. Over the years, the focus on Britain, the US, and Germany - which is dictated by my limited knowledge of languages - meant that I became increasingly interested in how books reflected the countries’ relations and their interest in each other. Carl-Erdmann Pückler’s Einflussreiche Engländer (‘Influential Englishmen’), published in 1938, is an interesting example of that kind, as is Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 novel, It Can’t Happen Here, which tells the story of a fascist seizure of power in the US. The latter has a particularly striking dust jacket, which on the front, looming behind the title, sports a bright red image of the fasces. This is the kind of book I am always looking for, one that is intriguing not only for its design but also for its narrative.


Nonetheless, writers who consciously turned their backs on politics, carving out an aestheticist niche for themselves, are by no means less fascinating. Probably the most beautiful book in the collection is Stefan George’s Das Neue Reich (‘The New Realm’), a volume of poetry which was published in 1928. It is printed in a handsome yet eccentric type which the poet himself had designed, and which combines the best of its classical and medieval sources. While each of these books is a wholly characteristic example of what the collection contains, the next one might look completely different.


Perhaps motivated by certain developments within the interwar collection, I have more recently started to collect books that shed light on early Anglo-German literary relations, particularly in the eighteenth century. Most of these are German translations of English novels, but I am also looking for travel accounts and histories from that period.


2.JPGHow many books are in your collection?


The interwar collection comprises sixty books now, about two thirds of which are first editions. There are also several shelves of secondary literature on the subject. The 18th-century collection at the present time contains only a dozen volumes, but like the first one, it is growing increasingly fast.


What was the first book you bought for your collection?


Back in 2009, the first book was a first edition of Stefan Zweig’s Der Kampf mit dem Dämon, published in 1925 (the English translation, The Struggle with the Daimon, was published in 1930). It contains an interesting collection of essays on Hölderlin, Kleist, and Nietzsche, but it was also the first book I bought out of aesthetic and historical interest, rather than because I wanted to read it at that time. Its sober cover design and typography seemed so quintessentially modernist, and what is more, Zweig had dedicated his essays to Sigmund Freud. In a way, it set many of the parameters for the collection: I look for books that in some way epitomise developments of the period, I am still quite keen on nonfiction, and I generally try to get the first edition if I can.


How about the most recent book?


Most recently, I bought an early German translation of Sterne’s Sentimental Journey published in 1771. Sterne had an enormous influence on eighteenth-century German literature, which is why this is a particularly welcome addition to the collection.


And your favorite book in your collection?


I think my favourite one is Bruno Vogel’s Es lebe der Krieg! (‘Long Live the War!’), an early German anti-war book. I have a second edition copy published in 1925 which is quite rare, but I am still looking for an affordable first. The stories, which draw on Vogel’s own experience as a soldier, present the horrors of the war in an absolutely relentless manner, and so do the expressionist woodcuts by Rüdiger Berlit that were used to illustrate the text. Immediately after the book’s publication, Vogel became embroiled in a lawsuit, and the third and fourth editions came heavily censored. It is a privilege, therefore, to be able to read the book in its original form.


Best bargain you’ve found?


That would be my first edition of Wolfheinrich von der Mülbe’s Das Märchen vom Rasierzeug oder die Zauberlaterne, a minor fantasy classic first published in 1937. The story is a highly original parody of classic German fairy tales and the conventions of chivalric romance, with ironic references to the modern age interspersed throughout the text. First editions of this book are few and far between, and it took me several years to find one. I bought it online from someone who clearly didn’t know what they were selling.


How about The One that Got Away?


There have been many over the years. Most recently, a signed photography of Ivy Compton-Burnett was auctioned on Ebay, and I was too timid to offer an appropriate amount of money, not least because it was the first time I was interested in a picture. Doubtlessly, that one is going to haunt me for some time.


What would be the Holy Grail for your collection?


There isn’t really the one book I long for. First editions of A.J.A. Symons’s The Quest for Corvo (1934) or Compton-Burnett’s A House and Its Head (1935) with interesting inscriptions from the authors could send me into rapture. But the best finds are the ones you were never looking for.


Who is your favorite bookseller / bookstore?


I enjoy making discoveries, which is why an all too well-informed bookseller tends to spoil the hunt, not to mention the prices. My ideal bookshop is something halfway between Quaritch and Ebay. For instance, even though they have seen better times, I always stop by the shops on Charing Cross Road whenever I am in London.


Images Courtesy of Tom Zille, portrait of Tom copyright Renate von Mangoldt






















Muriel Spark is less read in America than in her native Great Britain, which is a shame since she is one of the “50 greatest British writers since 1945,” landing at No. 8, ahead of the more popular Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, and A.S. Byatt. Spark, who was born in Scotland in 1918, published novels, short stories, and poems from the late 1950s until 2004, two years before her death. She is perhaps best known for her novel, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), although three other novels were shortlisted for the Booker Prize; she was also awarded a Golden PEN Award.

218643-1.jpgOn May 17, this elegant wooden table, “said to be the table at which Muriel Spark wrote The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,goes to auction in Edinburgh. The table had belonged to the author’s parents, and, according to the auctioneer, “Spark is thought to have come to her parents’ home in Edinburgh for six weeks to work on The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at this small table.” Her parents presumably willed the table to Spark’s estranged son, the artist Robin Spark, who died last year.

The auction estimate is £300-400 ($387-516), an incredible bargain for a Spark fan. Spark’s archives are at the National Library of Scotland.

Image via Lyon & Turnbull

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A previously unknown audio recording of Dr. Martin Luther King’s last full staff meeting before his assassination was recently discovered and is coming up for auction on May 13th at Heritage in Dallas. The recording includes King’s usual impassionaed oratory, with elements of Biblical teachings and sports analogies. This unique recording is the first of its kind to come to auction in recent memory.


In the tape recording, King addresses his Southern Christian Leadership Conference staff at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on January 17, 1968, four months before his assassination. The tape runs for just under an hour and is expected to fetch $10,000 or more at auction.


The tape was owned by C. Clarence Mayfield, a Savannah-based lawyer who represented the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the NAACP until his death in 1996.


“The talk is a combination of a sermon, pep talk and personal reflection, delivered in King’s moving and inspirational style,” said Don Ackerman, an Americana expert and consignment director at Heritage Auctions in a press statement. “Dr. King’s speech is clear as a bell and gives one the impression of being right there in the room.”


[Image courtesy Heritage Auctions]






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