Old Books- And Love For Them

Mods, not sure if this is the right forum, so can you please move as you see fit (after all this time I SHOULD know)
I have this love of old books. At Trinity College loved the bibles from the 14th century. I almost got an erection over one of the Books of Kells.

But at the moment I am reading my 1929 copy of “All Quiet On The Western Front”

I hear you. I have a copy of the “Stockdale Shakspear” (sic) - Shakespear’s works were first collected and published in the First Folio in about 1623 (now generally considered the most desirable First Edition in the English Language, just like Don Quixote is in Spanish and Dante in Italian, etc…). There were a total of four Folio editions published during the 1600’s - beyond that, his works were published in multi-volume sets.

In 1784, publisher William Stockdale produced the first new single-volume Shakespeare - it is in Octavo (meaning sized like what we consider a normal book - the paper was folded so it produced 8 page-faces when printed and bound; hence “octavo”). It is really cool for a few reasons:

  • well, it’s a cool old book with a great old contemporary calfskin binding
  • any “s” in the middle of a word is printed as an “f” - back in the day, S was used at the beginning and end of words, but a “soft s” (i.e., an f) was used in the middle. So it reads as “Shakfpear”
  • his name is spelled differently - VERY common on early references until the “official” spelling was agreed upon.
  • in the publisher’s preface, he explains that the purpose of this new single-volume is to either allow the “common Englishman” access to the works of their Country’s greatest writer; or - get this - so Gentlemen could keep a copy in their coaches for reading or to resolve wagers over the exact quotes in his works.

If you are a person who digs cool, old objects and their…mojo, if you will - well, this has it in spades.

So, yeah, I get what you mean completely!

I love old books. I love bookstores filled with old books.

But they do not love me. I have bad allergies to dust and mold, and they cause me migraines and other nasty things. Alas, my love for old books must remain unrequited. I can view them from the other side of a glass case.

It is not to be.