Saturday, 28 May 2005

Books and All that Jazz

Books. I love books. In a kind of crazy psycho way, I love books. I love reading them, I love touching them, opening them, closing them, and I LOVE owning them. I own a few gems of which I'm terribly proud: Thilo and Hagen's Servius, for example. The BAC edition of the Summa Theologiae. The facsimile of the Kelmscott Chaucer that I bought for £20 at the Oxford Book Fair. Gorgeous. And the bargains, I remember each and every one. Like Curtius' Gesammelte Aufsätze zur romanischen Philologie for a quid in the Taylorian sale, or the wonderful Public Architecture in Ireland, 1680-1760 by Edward McParland (my old History of Art lecturer in TCD) that I picked up in Unsworth's on Turl St for £2. All the way home I thought they were going to run after me saying there had been a terrible mistake. It's a beautiful book and written with all the verve and passion I remember from his lectures.

But what really annoys me is buying odd volumes of a set and then being unable to complete the set. Examples: vol 1 of de Lubac's Medieval Exegesis (English trans). It is findable, I just have to fork out the £20 quid for it, instead of the 5 I spend on vol. 2. And then, most painful of all, vol. 1 of the Ricciardi paperback reprints of the Minor Works of Dante. The Opere minori were published first in 1979-84 in two volumes, and then in 1995 were reprinted in paperback, in six volumes. I cannot find the first volume (containing the Vita nuova and the Rime, ed. by de Robertis and Contini) anywhere. The ISBN is: 8878171077, if anyone has one. God it annoys me. And it is not particularly expensive either, €12 or so, and I just know there are stacks of them sitting in second hand bookshops in Italy (though Italy does not really do a big trade in s/h books). It annoys me so much I have considered taking an ad out in some bibliophilic journal in Italy.
And I really really want Contini's Poeti del Duecento. I've placed an order with Casalini but I very much suspect that it is out of print, and Casalini usually take about 2 months to figure it out. That too has been reprinted by Ricciardi in four volumes.
If only you knew that this is just a snowflake on the tip of an iceberg of obsession.


hesitant hack said...

dear Miglior. haven't we discussed this before? One evening in Ranelagh around (and here the scary memory bit kicks in) May 18, 2001?

We all gather the things we wish to represent our identity to the world. Some of us gather books, hoping thereby that we are adding to our knowledge and intellect; some of us buy music, some of us buy clothes. Some of us buy property. Some of us buy whores.
It's all the same principle. Making up for what we fear we lack and cannot naturally acquire...
But you don't, that's the crazy thing. Lack intellect and knowledge, I mean. So stop buying so many books! What are you going to do when you have to move again? I'm already having to sell some of mine off. There are just too many and I can't bear the idea of dumping them in a charity shop in Stoneybatter...

hesitant hack said...

by the way, this from popbitch (MY favoured hunting/gathering site)

Rome's gay scene is buzzing with the rumour that Pope
Benedict XVI has a secret priest lover. The money is
on... his 55 year old ex-secretary Josef Clemens.
hee hee!

Miglior acque said...

Selling one's books is just about the saddest, most awful thing I can think of. Really. I'm very sorry HH. I had no idea.
Yes, when I move (again in Aug) it will be hell. Hell I tells ya. But worth it.

Miglior acque said...

Benedict does have killer's eyes - have you noticed that? Killer's eyes. Crazy, cold, and I'm so afraid that Fr Clemens thinks it's so hot.


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