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Re: Book finding [was Re: Obscure languages]

From:Adam Walker <dreamertwo@...>
Date:Monday, October 1, 2001, 13:07


>From: "Thomas R. Wier" <trwier@...> >Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 13:27:12 -0500 > >Quoting Adam Walker <dreamertwo@...>: > > > >From: "Thomas R. Wier" <trwier@...> > > >(I collect antique books, so these naturally interested me. My most > > >recent acquisition was a nearly perfect condition, 1873 edition of > > >the Song of Roland in Old French with notes in German -- for 50 > > >cents! I don't know *what* the Seminary library was thinking when > > >they got rid of that book.) > > > > You have GOT to be kidding!!!!!! > >No, I'm not! And that's not the most spectacular story along these >lines that I have to tell. When I was a freshman undergrad at UT, >my friend heard that the UT library system was having one of their >quintennial booksales, at which thousands of books are sold, $0.50 for >paperbacks, $1.00 for hardbacks. I was browsing through the Classical >lit section, when I happened upon a beautiful copy of the Roman poet >Horace's _Odes_, quite richly engraved by the publisher Iohannes Pine >(London). It wasn't in very good condition (part of the binding of >the second volume was entirely separated from the book), but it was >two dollars and I just *had* to have it. (I also got a 1930s copy of >Leibniz's _Discourse on Metaphysics_, but that wasn't as impressive.) >Well, I hadn't even thought of looking at how old it was. When I got >back to Houston and showed my father my new find, he looked at the date >in Roman Numerals, and asked me: "Is that *19*37, or *17*37?" (I think >he was shocked and wanted to be sure). Of course, it was the latter. >What's more, its companion, Volume I, was from 17*33*. So I got two >books that were each over 260 years old for two dollars! (I hope I >don't sound like I'm boasting, but it was such a wonderful and >serendipitous experience for me, I like retelling it.) > >That was, in fact, what got me started on antique books. My collection >also now includes a 1753 edition of _Paradise Regained_ by Milton; an >1806 volume entitled _Politisches Gleichgewicht in Europa_ written in >Fraktur -- naturally interesting if only because there *was* no political >equilibrium in Europe at that time; an 1890's photocopy of Thomas >Jefferson's quadrilingual (English, French, Latin, Greek) Comparative >Bible with the table of contents in his own handwriting; an 1810 >Student's copy of the Iliad in Greek; and volumes 2-6 of the works >of Moliere in a 1926 publication -- too bad I can't read French; but now >at least I have another reason (in addition to gradschool) to get me >to learn it. Anyways, most of them are not worth all that much, but I >love them all the same. > >When buying old books, I really try for literature if possible. I mean, >the corpus of the laws of the State of Illinois from the 1850s (which, >incidentally, is available at Powell's) might be interesting for a >historian of 19th century America since Abraham Lincoln probably helped >write them, but it's not for me. I'm thinking my next buys, if I can >afford it, will be either (1) that bilingual copy of Longinus, (2) that >bilingual copy of Marcus Aurelius, or (3) a first-edition copy of J. R. R. >Tolkien's _Simarillion_, also available at Powell's. Or maybe the 18th >century copy of the Code of Justian. I don't know! There's so much beauty >there, it boggles the mind. > >============================== >Thomas Wier <trwier@...> > >"If a man demands justice, not merely as an abstract concept, >but in setting up the life of a society, and if he holds, further, >that within that society (however defined) all men have equal rights, >then the odds are that his views, sooner rather than later, are going >to set something or someone on fire." Peter Green, in _From Alexander >to Actium_, on Spartan king Cleomenes III
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