The Secrets of the Old Rare Books Collector's Secrets
"Restring the Clothesline"
Suggestions of secrets that are the secrets of old rare book collector’s secrets that I have made seem elemental and conceptually standard? Obsession, romance, appreciation and ‘of art’... ‘of the (old rare) book’ is, from you to I, an “I get it” and “Please move on”. That is just vile of you... isn’t it. It perpetuates; continues... the damnation of the old rare book in our modern ‘now’. “So smart (phone)” and it (old rare books) is “over”.
The (old rare) book is over. When you stand in conversation “with a” who has, behind them and over their shoulders a ‘shelves of’ “BOOKS” that should cause your furtive eye to escape from indolent chatter and scrutinize that; the shelves of ‘spine ends out’. It is radiant energy from a hidden source waiting your bask. Hot fresh shelves of title truth behind a mask of persona and their graceful pretend? Yes. Reach past them and shelve your titled self there too: an old rare books collector’s secrets... have no secrets of those secrets that they may hide. Their old rare book collection IS behind them... on a shelf. It is you who falters and fails to ‘step to that’: “They are just old books”... on a shelf.
What stories may they (these books) tell? Actually they speak of nothing at all these days. Fraudulent perpetration of admiral efforts to ‘appear’ to be a well booked-up patron of the old rare book is... about all of it... typically found. And there is always a risk of a Cretan (Part One)... before their shelves... visiting your roving biblioeye as soon as ‘onset’. That eye is hurried to its damnation. “HOW CAN I
TO MY BOOKS?”
You internalize as screech. And this only if you are a ‘book person’. You are sure. Yes for you know that life does absolutely go on for most without; “bookless”. Bibliobooklessness is the rage of bibliomania these days: The... that of God has damned the old rare books. Spine ends out are mostly shelved lies; often multiples of Hansel and Gretel type fabricated crumb trails of affected efforts to... as I already said above... ‘appear’. You know if you lie? You think you do not? You feel there is an... obvious biblio you? Well... I have to give notice that it is the books on the shelves that give the answer to those self queries. You do not... give the answers. Your books do.
I don’t say anything to anyone anymore. In the damned rare books world... silence resounds. But I did promise a... a lance of abscess I called it (Part Three [B}):
“I am not going to account this trash can found old ruined rare book... yet. I want to come back to it as a whole... abscess... that I ...lance. The book and its heritage is swell enough (as an old rare book) to be “FUN” doing that... as well as being a sort of swell-fun secret of an old rare books collector’s secrets... along ‘in there’ too. So I step away from the whole book and
Just expostulate on the ‘and such’ I found within.” (the three broadside throwaway handbill song sheets).”
Now I come back to that (the glued up old book)... with us shipping in murky waters too (the spine ends showing over your shoulders). I begin with a ‘do you have a THIS old book over there on a shelf?’ Not likely in my day to day... you do know now? Well you should know that by now. That; the actual old rare book, is furtive. And anyway... this one is a ruined old rare book making itself a newspaper clipping glued down repository and... therefore... all lost at sea? NO. We are going to look at that book and its ...secrets of secrets position on a shelf... and the MESSAGE that that shelving sends to a biblio world within the damned world of the old rare books.
If the book of query is on the shelf... look to the books on either side of it for “more”. Good (skilled) old rare books collectors are always shelving books relating to or about other books in very close proximity to each other. They (the book collectors) do this themselves... obsessively. Yes: It is an obsessive action combining physical and mental aspects. So, here, the bulging newspaper clipping ruined-by-glue... old rare book... is more than one book... on a collector’s shelf over past their shoulders that... well... I... spy. Yes: One book, two book... three books: “Oh.”.
The conquest of the glued down newspaper clippings within the old rare book begins with the curious action of the glue master... of ...skipping a glue down upon the old rare book’s title page. “How odd”? No... a classic ‘just couldn’t do it’... hesitation and then failure to ‘totally destroy’. The verso (back) of the title leaf is ‘clipping glued down’ but a... ‘still none the less’ of leaving the title page pure. This leaves the lifeline of the old rare book for us to... pull on and... “find out”. Find out what? WHAT THE ruined BOOK WAS... once... and, well... “still is”. I observe that all old rare books are all what they ‘still are’ whenever they (or a lone ‘it’) trickles down in time to us (one holds the old rare book... in hand... in... “time”).
But I... just review the title... page... with its title, author, imprint and date and... glory in that. OH LOOK how foolish the old book is after all. It is a book of music? About music? Is music? Could still be music? Not likely for this last for the glue has done its craft to nearly every page thereafter the ‘skipped’ title page and it is only the very last leaves that are not a ‘glued down’ so show, well.... “music”.
I do not care. The title page is enough ‘swell-fun’ for a biblio-obsessed. I follow it on its bookshelf to the books on either side of “IT”. The first is ANOTHER of the “SAME BOOK”. That is not true. It is actually another ‘edition’ of the “SAME BOOK” with a delightfully similar title page AND a ‘two years later “1827” imprint date. “OH.” so it is ...not quite... a ‘the same’. The second copy is a “perfect” original condition copy showing, inclusive of the gilt titled leather spine and... its printed blue paper stock on stiff paper boards... front cover... repeating of the title with the Printer’s promotional broadside printing on the rear outer cover board... too, and... with all this... creating for my eye a... what the whole ‘ruined’ edition should ‘look like’. “OH.” again... with “nice” and even ‘fun-swell’ added too. So now we find that this book TOO is an old rare book TOO and ... a positive delight too with...
Oh no.... the original ruined book still too... being of appreciation and merit TOO: A “still too”... too. Two books.
Three books? Oh why not. The biblioeye and bibliofingers go to that other side of the shelved ruined book and find (pulls forth) a... vintage (second half of the 20th Century) pamphlet. Olive green printed wrappers... with title on the wrapper front. This title carries two bibliognoste action words; “Bibliography” and “Ithaca” (NY), a coverage date of “1820-1850” and an author’s name; “McMurtrie”. This last is a name so obsessive of American imprint bibliography... that it (this name) may be itself... the definition of the world of old rare books secrets of ‘obsessive’. All this pamphlet title matter... is to old rare books collector’s a “take (only) seconds”.
Of little surprise then (?) that this last printed wisp (pamphlet) is the secret to the secret of the... ‘this (ruined) old rare book’? Certainly it may be and... again I point out... this shelving too is done-to-the current date BY the old rare books collector who ‘shelved’ these (their) books... “in their collection”
I save and savor these three books “for later”. Then (“later”): Alone, I pursue the bibliography first. For a record, one will not commonly find ANY bibliographies at, for example, church book sales. These books (bibliography) travel in... and only in... old rare books collector circles... and are God damned to only ever that... so that alone explains why I ‘that one first’ of the three books. And I am rewarded. The first and ruined book, under the 1825 imprint hand list given within the bibliography, records (in book collector grade obsessive detail)... “THAT BOOK”. I quickly follow to the “1827” hand list and find, too, the second ‘perfect’ copy recorded in obsessive detail TOO. “Why... not poke this bibliography’s hand lists some more?” I do and am amply rewarded by discover that this ‘book of music’ was published every year of the 1820-1830 decade by this printer in Ithaca. IN FACT what is found is that the very first... and single... old rare book printed in Ithaca in that first year (1820) ‘ever’... is this book of music... there by being first and only book published in 1820... being the 1820 edition of this book (of music). It (this title) was the first book printed and published “THERE” (Ithaca, N.Y.). in 1820. Becoming a “Too”.
“Well I’ll be” and there my personal bibliomane obsession, romance and (developed) appreciation of the heritage of this old rare book AND the ‘art’ of that old rare book (the ‘object’)... ends... with me... ready for my next rare book adventure (flight of biblio fantasy. I am alone in this happy land... God has damned me.
A simpler version of the resistance to the Bibliobooklessness; the obsession, romance and appreciation... of the art... of the old rare book... has been brought ‘news worthy’ to us all from the BBC in the last two weeks (May, 2017) (goggle BBC William Caxton Printer). A leaf (a single piece of paper with printing on both sides (two pages) has been found, after one hundred and ninety years (1820-2017) of it being collected, to be a leaf from a very early William Caxton printed book (1400’s). He was England’s first ‘in English’ printer. Caxton has been “collected” “forever”... so finding an early lone leaf... “is possible”. But this leaf... for I... touches the obsession, the romance and the appreciation... of the old rare book... from how and where it was found. Although not identified until our current year (2017), the leaf was recorded as found at Cambridge in 1820... where it (the leaf) was being used to reinforce the spine binding of... another book. “What?” you say. SO: This page from an old book was used as scrap paper and glued down within the spine binding of another old rare book. In 1820, at Cambridge, a somebody noted this, removed the leaf and preserved it with other such biblio odd single leaf discoveries. Eventually (2017) this leaf was “researched” and the Caxton printed deduced.
But what do I care about; the biblio obsessed, romantically inclined and ‘wonder I’ appreciation? WHAT I BRING TO YOU is that... did you know one may look inside old book bindings at their glued down “scrap” papers hidden within and find... OLD RARE BOOK TREASURE? And that the bibliomane such as myself, understanding that this hunt has been going on for centuries... DELIGHTS in bibliomania that one may ‘do this’; hunt for printed paper wisps from old rare books hidden and glued within the spines of other old rare books...? And again... this habit has been ‘done for centuries’ by the old rare books collectors and dealers? Is this a secret of a secret? No. It is just a (old rare books) collector’s secret.
The secret of the secret of this is... that... one must... if one wishes to leave Bibliobooklessness behind... join this habitual. To do that one must ‘restring your biblio clothesline’.
And clotheslines... re-stringing them is not a ‘quick’ or ‘simple’ endeavor (work). No... it is a very long wondering trail... of back and forth... stretched tight... with many old wooden pins pinching the old rare book collector’s secrets to your ever restringing ‘needs to be tightened again’... biblioclothesline wonderworld. Is THIS (the ‘learning’ of old rare books and the ‘leaving behind’ of Bibliobooklessness) then a... secret of the old rare books collector’s secrets?
Yes it is.
Look ‘behind the spine’ and over your shoulder at the ‘books I have shelved’ “behind me”..