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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Manuscripts

Buried Books - The Cairo Genizah

Published on 30 June 2011
Linda Hedrick has discovered a very special place in Egypt: "The most famous for both its size and contents is the Cairo Genizah. Almost 180,000 Jewish manuscript fragments were found in the genizah of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo. More fragments were found in the Basatin Cemetery east of Old Cairo, and some old documents were bought in Cairo in the late 19th century. The first European to "discover" them was Simon van Geldern (an ancestor of Heinrich Heine, the 19th century poet) who visited the synagogue about 1752."
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Manuscripts

Rare Books in the Press: New York Public Library Buys Timothy Leary’s Papers

Published on 16 June 2011
"'The first time I took psilocybin - 10 pills - was in the fireside social setting in Cambridge,' Ginsberg wrote in a blow-by-blow description of his experience taking synthesized hallucinogenic mushrooms at Leary's stately home. At one point Ginsberg, naked and nauseated, began to feel scared, but then 'Professor Leary came into my room, looked in my eyes and said I was a great man.' Ginsberg's 'session record,' composed for Leary's research, was in one of the 335 boxes of papers, videotapes, photographs and more that the New York Public Library is planning to announce that it has purchased from the Leary estate. The material documents the evolution of the tweedy middle-aged academic into a drug guru, international outlaw, gubernatorial candidate, computer software designer and progenitor of the Me Decade's self-absorbed interest in self-help."
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Manuscripts

English Literary Manuscripts

Published on 29 March 2011
Among manuscript collectors in the English-speaking world, literature has had the most constant appeal; and until recently, when historical manuscripts have really come into their own, literary ones attracted most of the highest prices for post-mediaeval manuscripts. This appeal is due to the universal interest in literature itself; to the demands of doctoral dissertations; to the desire among some individuals, librarians, and editors for definitive collections; and no doubt also to the relative ease, in comparison with historical manuscripts, of selecting an area for collection.
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Manuscripts

Manuscripts and the Worthiness of Collecting

Published on 21 March 2011
Collecting undoubtedly serves many people beneficially during their lives in these respects. However there is also a higher scheme of things in terms of collecting. This involves considerations of the past, the present and the future which have significance for the individual involved as well as beyond him or her. An interest in his past is an inbuilt response in Man. 'How will we know it's us, without our past?', John Steinbeck asked. How else can we make sense of our lives unless we discover ourselves to be part of the continuum? For those interested in psychological parallels (if, indeed, they are not in some ways part of the same process) aspects of the Jungian concepts of the collective unconscious and the self-regulating psyche seem to suggest themselves. We need to have some relationship with the past and one of the easiest and most effective ways is through contact with our human predecessors. Collecting can be one of the royal roads.
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Manuscripts

Manuscripta mediaevalia - Medieval Manuscripts Online

Published on 15 Feb. 2011
75.000 medieval manuscripts, available online: Manuscripta mediaevalia is a joint venture of the State Library Berlin (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin / Preußischer Kulturbesitz), the State Library Munich (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München) and the German Documentation Centre for the History of Arts (Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte - Bildarchiv Foto Marburg).
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Manuscripts

The Canterbury Tales - Digital

Published on 30 March 2010
"Experts from The University of Manchester's John Rylands Library are to spend four days at a beautiful seventeenth century mansion to capture its world famous Canterbury Tales manuscript on camera ...
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Manuscripts

Bibliographies - Manuscripts

Published on 17 Dec. 2009
Online: Codex Sinaiticus - Western Manuscripts to 1500 - Early Manuscripts at Oxford University - Bodleian Library Manuscripts - Hill Monastic Manuscript Library - Dunhuang Project - Dscriptorium - Illumination and Calligraphy
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Obituaries for Martin Stone (1946 - 2016) - Bookseller, book scout, legend of the rare book trade

The rare book trade has lost one of his most interesting and legendary personalities. Martin Stone (11 December 1946, Woking, Surrey – 9 November 2016, Versailles, France) was an English guitarist and rare book dealer.
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Article

Collecting Science Fiction - Karel Čapek and the Origin of the Word Robot

Karel Čapek's Czech play RUR, (Rossum's Universal Robots) is notable for numerous reasons. Written in 1920, the play's commentary on the politics of its day earned its author a spot on the Nazi most-wanted list. RUR details a robot revolution that would overthrow the dominant class, humans, and lead to their extinction. Above all, the play is most well known for introducing the world to the word, "robot." In fact, before Čapek's play, what we think of as robots were mainly called "androids" or "automatons," with "automaton" meaning a self-operating machine. In Czech, "robota" translates to "forced labor." It's associated with the type of work done by serfs during the feudal ages.
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Article

In the Press - Collector and Bookseller: A Vanishing Relationship?

"It's a cliché, but it's true: Things aren't the same as they used to be. Over the last twenty-five years, we've transformed the way that we buy books and build our collections, and most of the familiar bookshops, old and new, have disappeared. There aren't nearly as many local places to browse and buy books as there once were, but there are more books available to buy than ever, and great collections are still being formed. But collectors and booksellers have lost something along the way, and it's important to recognize that just as Frank Bruni's favorite restaurants offer something that he can't get anywhere else, this is what the book market, at its best, used to do, and still sometimes does." A thoughtful article about rare book dealers and collectors by Joel Silver for Fine Books & Collections. Read it!
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Article

First editions and lasting treasures: how to be a book collector

Thinking of investing in rare books? Do it for the love of books, not money, say the expertsRare and antiquarian books can be surprisingly valuable. A first-edition copy of Ulysses by James Joyce, published in Paris in 1922, can sell for €100,000 and sometimes much more; Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, published in London in 1726, up to €50,000. But, like art, most books will never become really valuable, and collectors are generally motivated by love of literature and books rather than the prospect of making a fast buck.Repost from The Irish Times, first published 26 August 2017.
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Article

When Kerouac Met Dostoyevsky

Sometime during March-April, 1949, John-not-yet-Jack Kerouac, 27 years old and living with his parents as "The Wizard of Ozone Park" (Queens, NYC), as his Beat friends referred to him, bought a cheap reprint edition of short stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. He annotated the book, and entered his ownership signature. Dostoyevsky was an important influence on Kerouac; his novel,The Subterraneans, was consciously modeled on Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground, one of his favorite books, and there are many references to the Russian author in Kerouac's novels and letters.
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