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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
Rebecca Lawton
Manuscripts

'My year in St. Andrews was one of the best in my life'‘

Published on 03 July 2018
Rebecca Lawton (M.Litt Mediaeval History 2015) has been working on a collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts as part of a collaborative PhD between the University of Leicester and the British Library. ILAB would like to share her original blog post to demonstrate the work and research currently taking place in the field of rare books.
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Manuscripts

Germany buys back 1000-Year old Liesborn Gospels

Published on 30 Aug. 2017
Printing with movable types was only invented 500 years later, the Liesborn Gospel from the year 980, one of the oldest manuscripts still in private possession has now returned to its original place, the diocese of Münster in Germany after a 3Mill Euro investment by the German state and a number of regional trusts.
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Manuscripts

Video link to "Walking Tour of the Medieval Book Trade in Paris" by Les Enluminures

Published on 15 May 2017
On April 8, 2017, Christopher de Hamel and Sandra Hindman led a "Walking Tour of the Medieval Book Trade in Paris". Setting off from Notre-Dame, the small group of participants had the opportunity to step into the Middle Ages and learn all about the life and practice of illuminators, scribes, printers and binders. In the video - see link below - Les Enluminures presents snippets from the guided tour to discover.
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Manuscripts

Collecting - Famous Manuscripts and the History of Handwriting

Published on 25 Jan. 2016
In the digital age, it is no secret that calligraphy is a dying art. Why work laboriously and imperfectly on something that takes days to cross the country, when the computer will set it in flawless text that can be transmitted instantly? A careful look at the grand history of handwriting is not kind to the craft, either. Some historians consider Gutenberg's press, the very device that liberated us from writing by hand, to be the single most important invention of the second millennium. Not only did it make books more accessible, it gave the works themselves unprecedented longevity. Think of all the masterpieces of antiquity (if you can bear) that were lost to rot and ruin because scribes could only produce a handful of them at a time. Aeschylus wrote some eighty plays, of which only seven survive. Shakespeare may have suffered a similar fate, as a writer who luckily had the printing press to immortalize his works - he leaves us with nearly nothing written by hand.
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Manuscripts

Manuscript Collecting - An Endangered Species

Published on 27 Nov. 2013
I am the owner of Barry R. Levin Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, a firm of rare book dealers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and I was discussing with her the acquisition of a manuscript written by one of her authors. When I say manuscript, I mean the physical artifact — the words on the paper. Manuscripts are the most important literary collectible and over the years my firm has handled many of the major ones, a number of them for award-winning novels. We always try to purchase all notes and drafts, so that the creative process can be traced from the original idea to the final setting-copy. To that end I asked Perkins to make sure that her client included in the final manuscript package the final draft, the setting-copy (this is the manuscript copy sent to publisher from which the publisher's printer sets the type). She told me that the author had submitted his copy on a disk - that no setting-copy was sent to the publisher at all. From the standpoint of collectors, archivists and literary scholars, this has to be the last straw.
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Manuscripts

Rare Books on the Blog - Manuscript Road Trip: Mappa Mundi Wisconsinianae

Published on 11 Nov. 2013
Lisa Fagin Davis is currently serving as Acting Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America. Since 1996 she has been travelling through North America collecting data on the numbers and cataloguing status of pre-1600 manuscripts. Her blog Manuscript Road Trip takes readers on a (virtual) state-by-state tour of manuscripts focusing on less-well-known collections, some of them in very surprising locations. Read her recent blog post
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Manuscripts

50 unseen Rudyard Kipling poems discovered

Published on 26 Feb. 2013
"Kipling scholars are celebrating the publication of lost poems by the author whose exhortations in "If" to "keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you" are regularly voted the nation's favourite poem. Discovered by the American scholar Thomas Pinney in an array of hiding places including family papers, the archive of a former head of the Cunard Line and during renovations at a Manhattan house, more than 50 previously unpublished poems by Rudyard Kipling will be released for the first time next month."
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

BUDAPEST 2016 - ILAB CONGRESS & INTERNATIONAL ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR

In two weeks time, booksellers from all over the world will gather in Budapest at the 42nd ILAB Congress and the 26th ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair.
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Article

Collecting Literature on Socialism - The Libraries of Anton Menger, Theodor Mauthner, Wilhelm Pappenheim und Bruno Schönfeld

In the early years of the 20th century scholars and collectors like Anton Menger, Theodor Mauthner, Wilhelm Pappenheim und Bruno Schönfeld established huge collections of books, manuscripts and pamphlets on the history of socialism. Their famous libraries comprised thousands of books, and they were all situated in Vienna. Within the following decades all these libraries were destroyed or brought out of the country under different circumstances. Gerhard Oberkofler's profound study tracks the history of these famous libraries.
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Article

ILAB Presidents’ Meeting in Seville 2015

The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers unites 22 national associations, representing 35 countries and nearly 2000 professional rare book dealers worldwide. In its over 60 years of existence, ILAB has become a truly global network of the international antiquarian book trade. Once in a year the presidents of ILAB's member associations, who form the governing body of the League, meet to discuss recent trends of the trade, the activities of ILAB within the past year along with initiatives and actions that shall be taken to promote the rare book business in the future. On 1st October 2015 Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes, President of the Asociación Ibérica de Librerias Anticuarias (AILA) and Vice-President of ILAB, welcomed the delegates of the Presidents' Meeting in Seville. The Spanish city on the river Guadalquivir is not only known to be one of the hottest European spots with a summer average high temperature of 35° C, but also one of the most beautiful places in Europe. The Roman and Medieval centre of Seville owns three UNESCO World Heritage Sites - the Alcázar Palace, the Cathedral, and the General Archive of the Indies. Only a short walk away from these famous sites the ILAB delegates met at the Palace of the Duke of Segorbe to hold their annual meeting.The items on the agenda show that the rare book trade has to face severe problems and radical changes, but that there also promising perspectives and new paths to follow for better future partnerships and cooperation within the rare book world. The most important item on the agenda of each meeting is the report of the ILAB President. Read the detailed and excellent speech ILAB President Norbert Donhofer held yesterday to open the Presidents' Meeting 2015 in Seville:
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Article

Bibliographies - English Literature

Online: The Cambridge History of English and American Literature - Case, Poetical Miscellanies 1521-1750 - Grolier Club, English writers from Langland to Prior, 3 volumes - The Victorian Literary Studies Archive
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - The Short Story and The Private Library (Part III)

The grandson of a serf, Anton Pavlovich Chekhov accomplished more in his all-too-brief 44 years than most folks accomplish in lifetimes twice that long. His handful of plays and 200+ short stories, many of which reflected the difficult circumstances of his early life and education, revolutionized both drama and short fiction ... Always modest, Chekhov thought readers might go on reading his work for no more than seven years after his death (at the time of this remark, he had about six years left to live). He was wrong. Already a literary legend in Russia, the English-language translations of his work undertaken by Constance Garnett spread Chekhov's fame far and wide.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Norman Mailer

Mailer has enjoyed great public esteem, exceeded perhaps only his own opinion of himself, ever since his first book The Naked and The Dead was published in (1948). The book is notorious for the cheapness of the materials employed in its construction, and don't be surprised when you have to pay a chilling premium for a truly fine copy. However, just because a dealer says its a truly fine copy, don't accept it at face value. Among its usual flaws are extensive rubbing to the bottoms of the boards (which seems to have a thinner skin than George W. Bush at a Mensa meeting), and tanning to the white lettering on the spine.
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