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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
 
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Booksellers

The Best Lack All Conviction. Part 1

Published on 17 July 2012
For some reason (and this is what I'm thinking about, not how people don't understand me and I must run off and play some Smiths), people are happy, ecstatic even to buy a car, or a watch, or a vase or a pair of shoes for enough money to feed me for six months … but when they look at a book; they don't see it. It doesn't say "You want me. I'm your treasure." It doesn't make them not want to eat for six months so they can own it ... Apart from feeling like I'd failed slightly, as if I'd somehow let down my vocation by not being able to represent it properly (a recurring theme), it occurred to me that my world is an arrogant one in many respects. Rare book people can often be like teenagers in love, they'll burn the world down for the objects of their desire. Which made me ask; why? Why are we like this?
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Rare Booksellers - Poppings Up

I first met Anthony Smith a good few years ago when he was a student on the long since disappeared Postgraduate Diploma in Antiquarian Bookselling course we used to run in conjunction with the School of Library, Archive and Information Studies (SLAIS) at London University. A course long since disappeared, although we hope to reintroduce something similar before too long in a collaboration between the London Rare Books School, the ABA, and those involved in the History of the Book masters course run at the Institute of English Studies (watch this space).
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Article

ABA Members on Postage Stamps (No. 1 in a very short series)

"Peter J. Kroger, of Ruislip, was not an ABA member for very long: the minutes of the General Committee say no more than '(October 1960) (Removed from membership April 1961)'. He and his wife Helen ran a modest catalogue business from their bungalow, 45 Cranley Drive, between 1954 and 7 January 1961, when a visit from Superintendent George `Moonraker' Smith, of Scotland Yard, put an abrupt end to their bookselling - and other - activities." The spy who loved books - An amazing story told by Angus O'Neill as "no. 1 in a very short series".
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Booksellers

Antiquarian Booksellers in Exile – Lucien Goldschmidt (1912-1992)

“Lucien Goldschmidt was a citizen of the world”, Nicholas Barker once wrote in The Independent. “He would have liked to be called that, but it would be more true to say that the world of which he was a citizen was one that he had largely created. His life was divided between books and the world of art. Booksellers and art dealers normally lead rather separate careers, but Goldschmidt combined both, giving to each his own individual, highly independent, taste. Words and images combined to form an outlook on the world that was, in one word, civilised.”
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Article

What do you see? Frontispieces of Margaret Cavendish – A Lecture by Maureen E. Mulvihill

Students of 17th century women writers, art history, and book culture will be interested in Maureen E. Mulvihill's observations on the articulate frontispiece portraits of Margaret (Cavendish), Duchess of Newcastle, published in her remarkable corpus of work. With digital images, a table display of rare books (Mulvihill Collection), and a distributed bibliography, Maureen E. Mulvihill (Princeton Research Forum, Princeton NJ) will engage with these visual constructions as physical artifacts of 17th century book design and as 'text' to be read and parsed on the writer's character and identity. Keynote speaker Maureen E. Mulvihill is a broadly published specialist on women writers, rare books, the London & Dublin book trade, and the intersection of literary text and the visual arts. She also has published on Rubens, Van Dyck, the Elzeviers, printers' marks, watermarks, woodcuts, and the Stuart legacy of Veronese. She studied at Wisconsin, the Yale Center for British Art, the Columbia University Rare Book School, and, as an NEH Fellow, Johns Hopkins University. Since the 1980s, she has been a visiting professor and speaker on many campuses. She is at work on Irishwomen's political writings and response c1603-1801.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Truman Capote

The books of the tiny terror of New York drawing rooms continue to be eagerly sought after. A young phenom, his books were mostly published in relatively large (for the time and genre) first printings. Thus when collecting Capote it is even more important then usual to look for particularly fine copies, as mediocre copies of most of his books abound.
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Article

Dance of the Death

"The Dance of Death" arouses everyone's curiosity. The name alone is responsible for the initial interest, and widespread use in many artistic arenas confirms its magnetism. But what exactly is the Dance of Death? From where does it come, what does it mean and why is it important? These are the principal questions addressed below.
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