Un demi-siècle après l’invention de l’imprimerie, avant que la Renaissance ne laisse place aux Guerres de Religion, le livre est à la fois l’acteur principal et un témoin privilégié de ces bouleversements.
William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, Bette Davis, John Keats, Sylvia Plath and, of course, Oscar Wilde whose grave in Paris is always covered with red lipstick kisses. The memorial - a naked birdman - was unveiled in 1914, but it had to be covered up because of complaints about the figure's exposed genitals. Oscar Wilde's grave on the Père Lachaise is a tourist attraction, as well as Jim Morrison's grave nearby.
"The BBC's Antiques Roadshow is a TV programme which examines many fine and fascinating art and antiques, but as a general rule it is not known for valuing particularly weird memorabilia … When it was called to the former home of Sir Walter Scott in the Borders, however, the team made a rather surprising discovery in a blotter which had belonged to Napoleon. A small handwritten note dated 8 November 1827, written to Sir Walter Scott from a Mr Dalton was found inside which contains a lock of Napoleon's hair."
Bellow's three National Book Award-winning books, Mr. Sammler's Planet (1971), Herzog (1965), and The Adventures of Augie March (1954); and his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Humboldt's Gift (1976), are not difficult to find, but they do command a premium price if they are either in especially fine condition or signed (although for such a legendarily grumpy author, Bellow seems to have been generous with his signature). His first two books, Dangling Man (1944), and The Victim (1947), are usually harder to find, with Dangling Man, because of its fragile wartime construction (using cheaper paper and other materials) being the most difficult and expensive. Other early books of his that have become scarce in fine copies are his play The Last Analysis (1965), and Henderson the Rain King (1959). It seems to us that Bellow will continue to be collected for the relatively long term, and fine copies will become steadily scarcer.
Three categories of people attended the recent joint conference of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB) and the National Library of Australia, held in Canberra on 19 and 20 May 2014 – librarians, booksellers and collectors. Its title was 'The Most Agreeable Servants of Civilization', Booksellers and Librarians in a Changing World. You can see the program at www.anzaab.com.
The quotations are taken from memoirs and articles about the League: Barbara Kaye, Second Impression. Rural Life with a Rare Bookman. Oak Knoll Press 1995Menno Hertzberger, The Origin of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers and Its First Few Years (in: Aus dem Antiquariat 9, 1977)
Menno Hertzberger, Boeken, veel boeken - en mensen. Herinneringen aan Internationaal Antiquariaat Menno Hertzberger 1920-1970, Vantilt 2008
Percy H. Muir, Half a League Onward (in: Aus dem Antiquariat 9, 1977) Georges A. Deny, Le Prix Triennal de Bibliographie fondé par La Ligue Internationale de la Librairie Ancienne (in: Aus dem Antiquariat 9, 1977) Anton Gerits, Books, Friends and Bibliophilia. Reminiscences of an Antiquarian Bookseller. Oak Knoll Press 2004Out of Print and into Profit. A History of the Rare and Secondhand Book Trade in Britain in the Twentieth Century. Edited by Giles Mandelbrote. The British Library and Oak Knoll Press 2006Sheila Markham, A Book of Booksellers. Conversations with the Antiquarian Book Trade 1991-2003. Sheila Markham Rare Books and Oak Knoll Press 2007
Chapters and excerpts are published (with the permission of Bob Fleck and the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels) on this website.
The prominence of printed material relating to Van Diemen's Land – that is, Tasmania before 1855 – amongst desirable Australiana is not at all surprising given that it was the second of the Australian colonies to be established (some three decades before Port Phillip/Victoria or South Australia).