Friday, June 12, 2015

Worn Collars - Part Seven - "Books Indeed"

Worn Collars

Part Seven

"Books Indeed"

            Leaving, for this moment, the reader ‘sitted’ at the (old) (rare) book room desk... reading a ‘magazine’... I, reminding that I will not loose the word ‘precision’ and WILL return to that word for several contextual... motions (points and prods)... I expand the ‘what is?’ of the ‘magazine’.
            It is not a (rare bookseller’s) “catalog”.  As I said, the prose style is too breezy.  Further, the commercial presentation is too breezy too.  A ‘trite’ may be used by hardball rare book professionals to segment the role of this ‘magazine’.  Men, standing, waiting, sitted, waiting, riding, waiting... for the raw sewage of their human lives... may, from their suit jacket pocket ‘retrieve’ this ‘trite’ and... just for the few minutes a man may accidentally have... ‘he... flees’.  Then the train comes and, these days, ‘the wife’... calls on the smart phone.  This happens all too soon so ‘returned it’ to the suit pocket, “ONCE”, this ‘magazine’ went.  “ONCE” is because... today... there is ‘no one’ ‘doing this’.  Oh yes:  Thy smart phone... is this... now?  It is fine with me that one would ‘believe that’.

            If the magazine is NOT a catalog... what is a... rare book... ‘catalog’?  What is a (RARE BOOK) bibliography?  Annotated bibliography?  Check list?  Hand list?  Subject profile (summary).  Subject essay?  Collection summary?  Sale catalog?  Collection catalog?  Collection history?  Collector history?  Dealer history?  Dealer’s narrative?  Dealer’s remembrances...?  Are there such publications as a Rare Book Seller’s “journal”?  A real and substantive rare bookseller’s journal (daily log, diary) would be not only very rare but... very interesting reading...:  I do not know of one... of this last.   And I do... ‘look’.

            For our discussion, all of the ‘these’ are, too, like the magazine, used by the old rare book man at his old rare book room desk in his old rare book room to... “WORK”; (to get a) “FIND OUT ABOUT” ‘old books’ he ‘found’ that are... usually... hidden away in the drawers of the desk AND/OR on especially designated ‘shelves’ ‘close at hand’ (may be reached while sitted at the desk).  Again, the bookman is not in a hurry so this staged setting may, does, is and will be ‘continued for years’ (fifty, sixty... “to the day I die”) (Dying while ‘working’ on a ‘rare book’ is... not considered a bad way to go).  This ‘work’ is, obviously, part of ‘flee’; ‘fleeing’.  But NOTICE it is also grade... of... ‘to get a find out’.  This block of “books about books” (rare book reference books with this their real bookman’s title)... and the rare bookman... at the desk... in the room... again I notice... has applied... too... ‘precision’.  One, two, three:  They all play together but “WE” are now a long way from ‘the magazine’ AND the “NICE” “OLD BOOKS” on the shelves.  ‘Working’ as I describe, it is very... very... ‘infrequent’ that “HE” ever touches “THOSE” for “HE” “knows” those and is DONE WITH THEM... for the “forever”.  This (rare book land), again, is not about the books.  Yes, darling:  Rare Books are ‘process’.  And that’s being ‘real nice about it’... just for you.

            Want to go out for a little bit?  Keith Richards (the Rolling Stone) collects ‘old’ ‘rare’ books.  He has an old rare book room.  He is ‘sitted’ in it and works.  Really.  This is true.  I would like to say that he is a “YEAH YAHOO” when it comes to rare books (the hidden land) (Part Six) but... I cannot.  Reading the snippets about him, his books and the his rare book collection... in the rare book room (“My Books”), I am fully confident that Mr. Richards is fully aware of rare book ‘to get a find out’, rare book ‘precision’ and... rare book ‘fleeing’.  I am confident he knows these exactly and knows these exactly relative to himself.  I am confident Keith Richards does not lie to himself about rare books and... his rare books.  I am confident that Keith Richards has taught himself to be a bibliognoste and is quietly very pleased with this ‘hidden land’ of himself. 

            Back on the mainland of... this is why the rare book room door is closed.  It is not to prevent “LIGHT” from “ON THE BOOKS”.  It is to... get... rid... of ... YOU.  “Toilet?  Down the hall on the right.”  “Shopping?  You... know better than I.”  “I don’t really think your alive.”  Did the lay voyeur say this to the rare book collector or did the rare book collector say that to the... lay voyeur?  The answer is found in the word choice “think”.  Rare Book collectors know better than to ‘think’.  They ‘feel’.  It’s softer... and allows them to expand that universe; expand their fleeing in the hidden land... of rare books.  Close the door... gets rid of the ‘you’.  So did reading rare book magazines in large urban train stations while ‘waiting’.  This can still be done.
            I do it all the time... when I have those moments called ‘the

            I didn’t wake up one morning and ‘be this’.  Neither did Arlington St. John.  It has taken me my lifetime to ‘flee’ with ‘precision’ in my ‘hidden land’ travels ‘to find out about’ ...rare books.  Arlington has the same history.  “Precision” is a pivot point of our differential.  That does not mean the ‘his precision’ is better than mine or... mine better than his.  Precision... is... what it is... to each... his own.  Get it?  Then let me make it a little bit harder.

            By 1815, the United States... of America... had, in its pioneer populace... old book men.  Even old rare book men.  And... too... the understanding within these men that ‘rare books’ held answers to their varied studies.  Thomas Jefferson had already donated his ‘library’ (collection of his rare books) to the United States and... that collection had already been burned up; the books burned (Part Five ).  A few escaped.  They, today, are ‘precious’.  Washington Irving (Part Three) was an official... U.S. official... to (in) Spain and he was ‘working’ of himself (‘flee’) with ‘rare books’ he ‘found’ in the Spanish archives relating to Spanish exploration of the American continents (1492/Columbus).
            Another man; a Massachusetts sea captain’s boy who was (bibliognoste) smitten with ‘old books’ turned up in London to, too, look into this Spanish exploration old rare book thing... himself.  He was Obadiah Rich.  By common interests; desires ‘to get a find out’ and obsession with ‘old’ ‘books’ merged with some notable ‘figure this out as we go along’ rare book collection/collecting ‘precision’... AND the mutual ‘never spoken’ “we” in our ‘hidden land’ (‘flee’) of rare books... these two men managed to change
            “Rare Books”

            This was accomplished by Rich publishing, in (London) 1832, the first ‘catalogue’ of ‘books relating to America’.  That is, of today’s hindsight, the first ‘catalog’ of “Americana” “RARE BOOKS”.  From this point, inclusive of that catalog’s lack of bibliognoste perfection precision... “AMERICANA” begins to shape (take over) the United States realm of ‘rare books’.  This ‘shape’ continues to... right now.
            The Rich collection, for the record, falls... by old rare bookseller dominos... into Henry Stevens (of Vermont) (“GMB”; Green Mountain Boy) hands.  He was an ex-patriot London rare book dealer who...
            Commercially PLAYS OFF... the start up Brown University Library and the ... start up New York City Public Library... who are forming, each, old rare book collections of this new subject word; “AMERICANA”.  Both of these ‘in high standing’ collections SHOW US RIGHT NOW TODAY... this ‘wholeness’ of the precision of rare book collecting has not... abated.  No:  Not in the ‘least’.  One may track all this down with one... on one’s... smart phone.  This last; a “surfer’s survey”, will do you little good until YOU have actually “READ AROUND” in and of this; the Rich Catalogs, the Lenox and Stevens Biographies.  Visited the... ‘these libraries’.  READ AROUND SOME MORE.  Don’t worry, if you start now, sitted, at your rare book room desk in your rare book room... you will NEVER FINISH your ‘survey’ of ‘this subject’ in your... life’s... time.  You will apply ‘precision’ and will ‘flee’ doing this ‘to get a find out.  But for right now... right here, I simply denote again the introduction of the ‘hidden land’ of ‘rare books’ called “Americana”.  And expand the boundary of that.

            There was, in this same date slot (1815-1835), another Americana trouble in London.  As this new highway of Americana Rare Books was opened up... another Americana... of equal lasting impact, changed the way things are and ‘still be today’ too.  An American writer (authored books of published fiction) fled to London and... pen crafted a prose missive for Blackwood's magazine.  A snippet in it reads:

“Books, indeed,
except as a reference for dates, words and figures,
three things which we carefully avoid,
wherever they can be avoided, with decency – believing on our oaths,
that there is nothing so insupportable, in this world, as unnecessary precision –
books, indeed, would be out of the question; for, we profess to supply that
which cannot be found in any book or books, whatever.”

(John Neal: “American Writers”, BLACKWOOD’S MAGAZINE, XVI, pg. 415
Edinburgh, Oct., 1824.)

            John Neal was a rascal from Portland, Maine who ‘invented’; was the first to observe to the world, that there is an ‘American Literature’.  The quote above, inclusive of the denotation of precision, is ‘books indeed’ we (the United States) ‘supply that which cannot be found in any book or books whatever’.  This means American authored books such as Cooper’s THE SPY... RIP VAN WINKLE, the headless horse man.  The Scarlet Letter. Red Badge of Courage, Maggie... Leaves of Grass.  Walden...
            “Ahhhh... Poe... Moby...
            Little Women
And Huck.”
            Are singular ‘American’
            Books... indeed.

            I... ‘flee’ with ‘precision’ ‘to get a find out’ of this ‘hidden land’?
            “Maybe I’ll just go to the Mall instead.”
            “Yes you do... have to”.
            Now have we declined the fall?
            It is a lot easier; the old rare book... if you read.

This is why Arlington stayed.  There.  He did read.  Without ‘unnecessary precision’.  In his rare book room.  At his rare book desk.  He did not ‘have’ many ‘books about books’.  Those... ‘cost money’.  Arlington would ‘plan to go to the (a major Maine college) library’ to ‘look for that’ and then
            Never go.
            I would be shown the ‘look for that’ with a bowstring tight grimace upon my
            Bowstring tight grimace.  Fortunately most of the ‘look for that’ “Are (were) not anything” (not a rare... rare book).
            “ARE YOU SURE.”
            The iota was then returned to its place in the desk drawer.  WHY would he believe me?  He never did.  That was a peaceful solution; the ‘was no good’ and I didn’t ever have to ‘deal with it’ again.  We could go back to sipping our smidgens and ‘cheese’ upon ...Saltine.  It was always Saltines.  Never crackers.  I LIKED MY VISITS.  It allowed me to flee.  Too.
            He died.
            His rare book room was “left” “exactly how he left it”... whatever that means.
            No ‘unnecessary precision’?

1 comment:

  1. Is it all about the foreplay? - discovering and awareness - studying and knowing about - thinking and talking about seeking?