“I felt strong enough to lift a mountain” declared Alexandre Dumas after a visit to Georgia in 1858.
Presidents of ILAB’s member associations certainly felt equally inspired after a week of meetings in the capital, Tbilisi.
LET ME TELL YOU A STORY. Well, it felt like a story at the time, and not without a whisper of magic. Celtic magic. Book collectors, after all, are irrepressible raconteurs. For every book in their collection, there is a backstory to spin. Here is one of mine:
The UK Guardian has picked up on one of the most significant archival discoveries of recent times; a first folio with hundreds of annotations by John Milton, possibly one of the most important literary discoveries of modern times.
In 1878, when Chief Thunderwater was 13 years old and not yet a chief, his uncle gave him an extraordinary book, titled The Life and Adventures of Black Hawk: With Sketches of Keokuk, the Sac and Fox Indians, and the Late Black Hawk War.
I naturally like to regale the family over the supper table with all the latest news from the world of rare books. The family are slightly ambivalent about this: stifled yawns sometimes remain unstifled; eyes are exaggeratedly rolled; fathomless stupefactions of chronic boredom are elaborately mimed, and silent departures from the table to go and have a lie down are by no means unknown. Imagine then my surprise, my triumph, when I announced the concept of Pop-Up Bookfairs – and not just one or two, but a worldwide rolling twenty-four hour programme to celebrate a World Rare Book Day – fairs popping up all over the place, time-zone by time-zone, on a single day – right across the globe and all backed-up by the full might of social media. Tweet-pop, tweet-pop, from Australia to L.A. and beyond. Pictures, videos and reports on the web, YouTube, Instagram and wherever else anyone can think of. "That's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant", said Daughter No. 1. "Oh, you are soooo twenty-first century", said Daughter No. 2. "We've got a trestle table", said my dear wife, fondly imagining that the number of books in the house might actually decrease if I popped out for a pop-up. Incredible. I had managed to hold their attention for – oh – thirty or forty seconds. Well, twenty anyway.
Johannes Magnus, Sweden's last Catholic archbishop, got caught up in the politics of the Reformation but escaped to Italy, where he found time to write a book about the history of the Scandinavian people. Some scholars, Danes in particular, don't think much of Magnus' history, though. Magnus was decidedly a Swedish nationalist and didn't treat the Danish people very kindly in his book. In fact, he suggested that Danes were actually descendants of Swedish criminals who were exiled south of Sweden. His book, Gothorum Sueonumque Historia, ex probatis Anriquorum Monumentis Colleta, & in xxiiij. libros redacta, naturally sparked loud Danish protests, and spate of Danish books refuting Magnus' conclusions.
On July 26, 1984, Edward Gein died in a state mental institution. Gein's case stole the headlines in November 1957, when police went to his farmhouse to investigate the disappearance of local hardware store clerk Bernice Worden. Gein had been the last customer at the store and had been seen loitering on the premises. Officers were horrified to find Worden's corpse hanging in the barn along with a collection of household items and a suit made out of human skin, and bowls made from human skulls. It seemed that Gein was responsible for the deaths of countless victims, not just that of Worden.
The Rare Book Fair Stuttgart is proud to announce the patronage of the Lord Mayor of Stuttgart. 75 German and international dealers will present a variety of material from illuminated manuscripts, and incunabula to rare books, autographs, illustrated works and graphic art of the 20th century.