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Monday, June 11, 2007

Book Inscriptions website

The Book Inscriptions Project is a pretty amazing site; it collects digital images of book inscriptions as found art. Like this one:

Or this one:
Or, most simply, this one:

Trolling through this strangely moving website reminded me of Simplicius' wonderful discussion of reading the marginalia in the copy of Keats's Collected Poems that he inherited from one of his favorite college professors, who was retiring and giving away his old books. The professor had written in the margins of the book while a grad student or a junior professor, and Simplicius writes: "I love this fleeting glimpse of my professor as a young man, someone I obviously could never know, but, here, in this one book, can imagine as he was in the 1940s." One of my personal BtR favorites, which I thought I'd refer you to, since we're in the middle of a summer slowdown.

They accept reader submissions at the Book Inscriptions Website. A whole new reason for leafing through used book stores.

  • At 6/11/2007 02:19:00 AM, Blogger Flavia wrote…

    My copy of Stanley Fish's Self-Consuming Artifacts--which is an original 1972 hardcover--has an inscription, written in purple ink and what appears to be a fairly young hand: "To Lew, my favorite brother. Merry Christmas! [Heart] Kathy."

    For some reason, this disturbs me intensely.

    It's particularly disturbing in light of the image on the book's dustjacket. (I can't find a digital image, but I'm sure some of you have seen it. It's the most terrifying cover art I've ever encountered.)


  • At 6/11/2007 10:34:00 AM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    You should send it in, Flavia!


  • At 6/15/2007 01:11:00 PM, Blogger Inkhorn wrote…

    I have a copy of Blake's The Book of Urizen with the following inscription:

    "For Peter
    from Allen
    Merry Xmas

    The Development of Industrial Rationality to Plutonium"

    Above, the bookseller has identified this as an inscription from Allen Ginsberg to Peter Orlovsky. It always struck me as sad to find this for sale in a used bookstore. Though that didn't stop me from buying it.


 Scribble some marginalia

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