“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.
The endowment of the ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography has recently been funded with a further generous donation of $25,000 from the B.H. Breslauer Foundation of New York — Submissions are currently being accepted for the 2022 prizes.
By the time Henry Clay Folger died in 1930, he had amassed a collection of early English printing that is most famous for housing more than a third of all the copies known today of the First Folio of Shakespeare.
The Internet has had a dramatic effect on the prices and availability of antiquarian books. This is great news for the consumer but has required some serious thinking by all of us "old-timers" in the business (I started selling books about books in 1976). What happens when you consistently sell David Randall's Dukedom Large Enough for $45 for a number of years (fine in dust jacket) but then go on-line today and find it being sold for $18 by other booksellers? This scenario was starting to happen often enough that I decided to sit down one night (November 2009) next to a shelf of my books and analyze how my prices compared to those of other dealers.
"It was not easy to be Jack Butler Yeats. Beset with the dual burden of identity and fame, he wisely distanced himself from most of the Yeatses and proved more a Pollexfen (his mother's line) than a Yeats. In the second half of his career (circa 1920s-1950s), when he moved from commercial art to fine art, he proved more a European painter than an Irish one ..."
"A recently discovered map of Middle-earth annotated by JRR Tolkien reveals The Lord of the Rings author's observation that Hobbiton is on the same latitude as Oxford, and implies that the Italian city of Ravenna could be the inspiration behind the fictional city of Minas Tirith...." Read the whole article in The Guardian.
Peter B. Howard bears a remarkable resemblance to the crotchety old bookseller in Michael Ende's The Never Ending Story - "Your books, are safe, my books are real" - and his premises are probably the closest I've seen to those in the library labyrinthe in the filmed version of Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose," although I have yet to encounter any arsenic-laced incunabula except, perhaps, from the tongue of the proprietor. And Serendipity is the operative word for both the premises; in their vast inventories and ever changing denizens. The minotaur himself and his long suffering assistant, Nancy Kosenka, are the only two constants in this ever evolving and serendipitous landscape. And those premises are a bit like the various lands of Oz, although not nearly as neatly ordered and likely full of a lot more surprises.
After the completely unexpected death of Michael Park earlier this year, who had served as ABAC President since November of 2015, Robert Wright of Robert Wright Books has taken on the role of Interim President. Mr. Wright spoke to us about bookselling in his home country and where the trade is going.