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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
Thomas Mann Villa Opening
Literature

Opening of the Thomas Mann Villa in Los Angeles

Published on 26 July 2018
On June 18, 2018, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier inaugurated the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles. More than 250 guests from the worlds of culture, science, politics and the media gathered in the house on San Remo Drive in Pacific Palisades, a borough of Los Angeles. 
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Literature

Collecting - Postwar Germany in the Works of W.G. Sebald

Published on 15 Aug. 2016
Whose role is it to write postwar German fiction? Since World War II ended, numerous writers of great acclaim have come out of West Germany and the GDR, and later from reunified Germany. For instance, you might be familiar with the works of the West German novelists Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass, or with the GDR literature of Christa Wolf. While many writers of the immediate postwar period returned to the rise of Nazi Germany and its aftermath in their works, W.G. Sebald is a bit of an interesting case.
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Literature

Collecting - Ten Facts About Caldecott Winner, James Thurber

Published on 05 Aug. 2016
James Thurber was a short story writer, cartoonist, and humorist. Much of his work was published in The New Yorker, where he began working as an editor in 1927. His most famous short story is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, recently adapted to film. Combining his talents for writing and illustration, Thurber had a successful career writing children's books, and won the Caldecott Medal for the book Many Moons. Below, read ten facts about Thurber's fascinating life and career.
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Literature

‘I never have any luck with my books’ – Collecting the works of Friedo Lampe

Published on 21 July 2016
Lampe was born on 4 December 1899, in the northern city of Bremen, a place which would exert a particular influence on his writing. At the age of five, he was diagnosed with bone tuberculosis in his left ankle and was sent to a children's clinic over 100 miles away, on the East Frisian island of Nordeney; he spent a total of three years there, away from his family, before being pronounced cured, but it left him disabled for the rest of his life. As a teenager, Lampe was a voracious reader (E.T.A. Hoffmann, Kleist, Büchner, Rilke, Thomas Mann, Kafka, Boccaccio, Cervantes, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe) and an insatiable book buyer: 'It really is an illness with me. I just have to buy every book, even if I don't have the money.'
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Literature

Collecting - The Life of the Great Creator of Sherlock Holmes

Published on 21 July 2016
On the 7th of July, 1930, Arthur Conan Doyle died at age 71 from a heart attack. On this the 86th anniversary of his death, we'd like to look at this famous author, spiritualist & physician and his lifetime contribution to so many different fields! Conan Doyle (as he is often called, though Conan Doyle is a combination of his middle and last names, as Conan is not a surname, as people often think!) was not born under auspicious circumstances. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, was an alcoholic and when Arthur was only 5 years old he and his siblings were dispersed to live with family and friends across Edinburgh. A few years later the family moved back together and for numerous years lived in near-poverty. Luckily, Doyle had wealthy family to support him and to send him to Jesuit boarding school in England for seven years beginning when he was nine years old. Despite a difficult home life and upbringing, Doyle apparently struggled leaving home for school – as he was incredibly close with his mother (and would remain so throughout his life) and cherished the stories she would tell him during his childhood. It is even said that his favorite part of school was writing letters home to his mother, and telling stories to his schoolmates that she had once told him!
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Literature

Collecting - The Russian taste for Edgar Allan Poe

Published on 14 June 2016
'"Edgar Poe - the underground stream in Russia." So the Russian Symbolist poet Aleksandr Blok noted in his journal for November 6, 1911, a topic for a future critical study. The article was never written, but the prospect has remained an enticing one. For Poe's fame, however clouded by conflicting interpretation, is of long standing in Russia' (Joan Delaney Grossman, Edgar Allan Poe in Russia: a study in legend and literary influence, p. 7).
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Literature

Collecting – Arthur Conan Doyle: Social Justice Warrior

Published on 07 March 2016
Arthur Conan Doyle was hardly a meek man, nor one prone to seeking diplomatic solutions when dramatic alternatives were available. When he attempted to enlist in the military forces he wrote that "I am fifty-five but I am very strong and hardy, and can make my voice audible at great distances, which is useful at drill." This audible voice proved to be very significant for two individuals in particular; George Edalji and Oscar Slater. My interest in these two men was sparked by our recent celebration of "Arthur Conan Doyle Week" at the end of May in honour of his birthday. Fortunately or otherwise, the Olympia bookfair has prevented me from typing up some of the more fascinating aspects of Doyle's life that I discovered during that week.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Da Lucca a New York a Lugano. Giuseppe Martini libraio tra Otto e Novecento – A Conference in Lucca in October 2014

From 17th to 18th October 2014 bibliophiles, scholars and rare book dealers will gather in Lucca (Italy) to hold a conference on the life, work and collections of Giuseppe Martini. Guiseppe Martini (1870-1944) was a contemporary of Leo S. Olschki and Ulrico Hoepli. Mario Armanni, the later director of the Libreria Antiquaria Hoepli, called him "l'homo bibliographicus". Martini's library, formed during over thirty years of collecting, was considered to be one of the richest private collections of Italian literature in the world. The Lucca conference in October 2014, officially supported by numerous Italian and international organizations – among them ILAB and the Italian Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (ALAI) – is dedicated to Giuseppe Martini's extraordinary career and the historical background under which it developed.
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Article

Book-Jackets: Their History, Form, and Use, by G. Thomas Tanselle

Book-jackets (or "dust-jackets," as they are often called), have been regularly used in America and some European countries since the early part of the 19th century. Historians of publishing practices, however, have not accorded these detachable coverings with the scrutiny that one would expect for such a noticeable phenomenon. The new book by G. Thomas Tanselle examines dust jackets as resources for biography, bibliography, cultural analysis, and development of graphic design, while surveying their use by publishers and scholars of literature, art and book history.
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Article

Lost Lincoln letter returned to the Archives

The Washington Post reports: "A Civil War-era letter written by Abraham Lincoln that went missing at an unknown date has surfaced and has been returned to the National Archives . … An Archives employee saw the document listed for sale in 2009 and recognized it as belonging to the government. When contacted, Panagopous who was representing a family from Rhode Island in the sale, had already sold the documents to a New York dealer. Upon realizing the provenance of the papers, Panagopulos refunded the purchase price to the dealer to get them back and the Rhode Island family, in turn, agreed to refund the money they had been paid so the papers could be retuned to the government."
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Article

The Tough Life of an Antiquarian Bookseller in Spain

Once a year, the Committee of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) gets together to talk about the problems and challenges facing the League. This Committee consists of the officers of the League that actually do the day-to-day work of this international organization composed of 21 countries. The meeting falls half way between the Presidents Meeting and the Congress, with events held in alternating years in the fall of the year. For the last three years, the Committee Meeting has been held in Gimenelles, a quiet hotel about an hour outside Barcelona.
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Article

The Most Provocative, Revolutionary, Dangerous, Radical, and [insert adjective] Book Ever Written

"What book, born of the political upheavals in mid-nineteenth century Europe, spearheaded radical Leftist Anarchism in the United States during the late-nineteenth through early decades of the twentieth century and then, intellectually banished for a few decades, returned in the mid-twentieth century from exile to rise, by the end of the late-twentieth century, as the philosophical cornerstone of a Conservative wing of the Republican party?" Stephen Gertz rediscovers Max Stirner's "Der Einzige und sein Eigentum" ("The Ego and His Own") in an awesome Booktryst post.
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