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"May blessings be upon the head of Cadmus, the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invented books." -Thomas Carlyle

Welcome to my virtual book collection. Since collecting actual books is somewhat cost-prohibitive, I've begun to amass all of the books I would love to have if I had the means. Some are new, lots are old, all are unique or beautiful or unusual or in some other way have captured my fancy. Enjoy browsing!

Special Collections: Fine Bindings ~ Fairies and Fairy Tales ~ Terror and Madness ~ Poetry ~ Food, Drink and Apothecary ~ Science Fiction ~ Illuminations, Lettering and Hand-Coloring ~ Magic ~ Supernatural and Occult ~ Alchemy ~ Science and Technical ~ Maritime ~ Costumes ~ Humor ~ Children's books ~ Legend of King Arthur ~ Americana ~ 18th Century ~ 19th Century

Authors and illustrators: Edgar Allan Poe ~ Jules Verne ~ Edmund Dulac ~ Kay Nielsen ~ Arthur Rackham ~ Edward Gorey ~ Charles Dickens ~ H.P. Lovecraft ~ William Hope Hodgson ~ Mark Twain ~ Lewis Carroll ~ Salvador Dali ~ George Cruikshank ~ Emily Dickinson ~ Geoffrey Chaucer ~ H.G. Wells

L’Adone poema
con gli argomenti del conte sanvitale & l’allegorie di Don Lorenzo Scoto
Giovanni Battista Marino. Turin, heirs of Giovanni Domenico Tarino, 1627.

Rare edition of this work dedicated to Marie de Medici by “the greatest poet of the seventeenth century and one of the greatest Italian poets of all time” (Cambridge History of Italian Literature); there are only two copies listed in Italian libraries.

Cricketers’ Almanack

For 1894, edited by Sydney H. Pardon, some worming and soiling, G1 torn with loss, a few leaves detached, publisher’s wrappers, lacking spine, worn, 8vo, John Wisden, 1894.

B-A Note: I admit, I covet this strictly for the Cadbury’s Cocoa ad!

#Almanac  #Books  

The Murder on the Links
Agatha Christie. London, John Lane, 1923.

First Edition. Stamped Colonial Edition on copyright page.

One of the rarest Agatha Christie titles, and only her third mystery. The book contains very little golf content, but derives it name from the discovery of a dead body in a bunker at an unfinished golf course being developed. Although heavily restored, it is quite rare and difficult to come by in any condition.

Ehon hana no Kagami [“Mirrors of Flowers”]
Sukenbu (Nishikawa)
3 vol. in one, without the 2 preliminary leaves in volumes two and three, numerous full-page illustrations, modern patterned cloth, contemporary wrappers bound in, Kyoto, Kokuya Kihei, 1769

theshipthatflew:

Being a MISCELLANY of Curious and Interesting Songs, Ballads, Tales, Histories, & c.; adorned with a variety of pictures and very delightful to read; newly composed by MANY CELEBRATED WRITERS; To which are annex’d a LARGE COLLECTION of Notices of BOOKS

c. 1894-1896, Will Bradley, via NYPL

Is there anything better than a chapbook?

#Books  

A Song of the English
One of 500 Copies, Signed by W. Heath Robinson
Rudyard Kipling. Illustrated by W. Heath Robinson. London: Hodder & Stoughton, [n.d., 1909].

First separate edition. Limited to 500 copies (this copy being No. 136), numbered and signed by the artist. Large quarto (12 3/16 x 9 7/8 inches; 308 x 252 mm.). [65] leaves. Thirty color plates (including frontispiece), mounted on leaves with color border decorations. Descriptive tissue guards, each with a miniature line illustration. Pictorial title and fifty-nine black and white line illustrations in the text (half-page or smaller). Title printed in red and black.

Original vellum over boards with front cover pictorially stamped in dark green, red, and gilt and lettered in gilt and spine pictorially stamped in dark green, red, and gilt and lettered in gilt and green. Later taupe silk ties. Top edge gilt, others uncut. Some slight discoloration to the vellum on covers and very slight rubbing to gilt on spine. Otherwise an excellent copy.

Greybeards at Play. Literature and Art for Old Gentlemen
Gilbert Chesterton. R. Brimley Johnson, 1910

B-A Note: This just made me grin, so I had to find out more. You can read the poems and see the wonderful sketches/illustrations here at the University of Notre Dame’s archives..

CHAINED BINDING

ERASMUS (DESIDERIUS The Second Tome or Volume of the Paraphrase of Erasmus Upon the Newe Testament: Conteynyng the Epistles of St. Pauls, and Other Apostles], translated by Miles Coverdale, John Old, and Leonard Cox, black letter, large woodcut device on final leaf, lacks title, 5Cii, and 34 leaves (section between Thessalonians and Hebrewes), hole with loss of letters to dedication, small wormholes to opening leaves, contemporary blindstamped calf [not located in Oldham] over wooden boards (upper board replaced), with chain and hasp in lower forecorner of lower cover [STC 2854.6], folio, [Edward Whitchurch, 1549]

The Murders in the Rue Morgue
Edgar Allan Poe. Antibes-France, Allen Press, 1958.

Illustrated with title-page decoration & 6 multicolored chapter headings by Dorothy Allen. 9½x6, tri-color printed boards, black spine, gray covers, front with lettered red colored strip, acetate. 1 of 150 copies printed on Richard de Bas hand-made paper on an Albion hand press.

B-A Note: Interesting interpretation. It’s not a style I would associate with Rue Morgue, these clean spare geometric shapes.

FYI: Booktryst posted a brief but informative article on Agrippa’s celebrated Books of Occult Philosophy today.

Rappaccini’s Daughter
Nathaniel Hawthorne. Greenbrae CA, Allen Press, 1991.

Reflections on Hawthorne by Poe, Trollope and James. Illustrated with wood engravings by John DePol. 11x7, color floral decorated cloth, paper spine label, acetate. One of 115 copies printed on mould-made Rives paper.

The Plantin-Moretus Museum: A Printer’s Paradise
Theodore L. De Vinne. San Francisco, Grabhorn Press, 1929.

Introduction by Oscar Lewis. Color frontispiece of Plantin. 6¼x4, vellum gilt. Limited Edition, one of 425 copies, this copy not numbered.
From the library of the printer, Robert Grabhorn, with posthumous bookplate, also with bookplate of W.A. Bissell, brother of Jane Grabhorn. GB 116.

B-A Note: If I ever find myself in Antwerp, I definitely want to visit The Plantin-Moretus Museum. A printer’s paradise indeed!

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
Herman Melville, New York: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, 1851.

First American edition, in scarce lovely unrestored original cloth, of Melville’s rare classic. Octavo, original stamped green cloth, orange-brown endpapers. Housed in a custom clamshell box.

"Arguably the greatest single work in American literature, Moby-Dick was initially “a complete practical failure, misunderstood by the critics and ignored by the public; and in 1853 the Harper’s fire destroyed the plates of all his books and most of the copies remaining in stock (only about 60 copies of Moby-Dick survived the fire)…"

Two items related to Dracula
Edward Gorey.

Includes: Dracula: A Toy Theatre. The sets and costumes of the Broadway production of the play, designed by Edward Gorey. 20 pp. 38.5x25.5 cm. (15¼x10”), spiral bound wrappers. First Edition. Scribner’s, 1979. * Playbill. Martin Beck Theatre: Dracula. Wrappers. An original playbill from the 1977 Broadway production of Stoker’s novel, the set and costumes for which were designed by Gorey. From the 1977 opening season of the production.

Fama posthuma a la vida y muerte del doctor Frey Lope Felix de Vega Caprio
Compiled by Juan Pérez de Montalván.

"First edition of a tribute volume created on the occasion of the death of Lope de Vega with contributions frommore than 150 of his contemporary writers, both male and female. Sonnets, epigrams, extended poems, decimas, elegies in Spanish are joined by a sprinkling of pieces in Latin and Italian. Pérez de Montalván was a disciple of Lope’s and knew just about everyone who was anyone in the Spanish literary circles of the first third of the 17th century, meaning the writers here are to be reckoned with. There is even a sonnet by Antonio Enríquez Gómez , the Sepharic crypto-Jew. "

B-A Note: The only reason I’m familiar with Lope de Vega is because he appears as a recurring character in Arturo Perez Reverte’s Alatriste series of novels. Also, I’ve always been fascinated with the social construct of “Literary Circles”, from Le Rive Gauche in Paris to Dorothy Parker’s Algonquin Round Table. There seems to have been a strong circle in Spain during this time, a theme that also plays in Perez Reverte’s stories. I’m looking forward to diving into reading more of the writers from that period.