Rare Books

Casanova Memoirs Donated to the French National Library

...the definitive sexy librarian...

PARIS — France's national library has acquired the memoirs of Casanova, a moving narrative written in French by the 18th century Venetian-born lothario. Times Online reports.

The memoirs, "The Story of My Life," had been in the hands of one of Germany's most prominent publishing families for nearly two centuries.
The manuscript was acquired by the Brockhaus family in 1820, hidden by Frederic-Arnold Brockhaus during World War II, then carried by an American military truck in 1945 out of Leipzig. It was finally published in 1960.
...it seems there's quite a bit he scratched out...

The manuscript was donated to the French National Library. Casanova, who was born in 1725, wrote his memoirs between 1789 and 1798, the year of his death. Here...a bit excerpted:

"(I have had) exploits with 120 women and girls, including a nun. As for women, I have always found that the one I was in love with smelled good, and the more copious her sweat the sweeter I found it."

Heat Up Your Kindle With a Free Penny-Dreadful

It's a red-hot, red letter day for Amazon Kindle owners. The British Library has announced that 65,000 rare 19th century literary first editions will be offered as free downloads to owners of the device beginning in Spring of 2010. Thanks to a joint venture with Microsoft, the no-cost titles will reproduce the original type-face and illustrations from such classic works as Charles Dickens's Bleak House, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge.

While having an electronic facsimile of a valuable first edition is a treat for fans of highbrow literature, what about readers seeking the pleasure that comes from biting into a nice, juicy, raw, piece of pulp? Can kinky Kindle owners looking for graphic kicks with a side of sensationalism find anything to sate their savage appetites from the staid British Library? Happily, along with the high class fiction, the UK library's freebies will also include the world's finest collection of cheap, tawdry, lowdown, lowbrow, Victorian trash. Get ready to heat up your cold Kindle with a torrid "Penny Dreadful."

From Seatle PI's Nancy Mattoon of Book Patrol.

Bookmark Collectors...Mark Your Calendars

On February 20 and 21, 2010 the first convention for bookmark collectors will take place online. For 24 hours, bookmark collectors from all over the world will meet to give and attend seminars, view galleries, shop, swap, and socialize with other collectors and enthusiasts. For many collectors, this will be the first time they will have the opportunity to meet and discuss their passion with other enthusiasts, live.

If you collect bookmarks, make bookmarks, or are curious about bookmarks; if you are interested in ephemera, biblio-paraphernalia, craft samplers, book history, small art, or collectibles; or if you are interested in seeing the first virtual convention for collectors of any sort, then stop by the website and register for the Bookmark Collectors Virtual convention.

Convention Websites are BMCVC and Bookmark Convention. Organizers are Alan Irwin, [email protected] and Lauren Roberts, [email protected], who also runs the website Bibliobuffet. In My Book® will participate in the convention as a vendor.

Book Review: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

Is it possible to love books too much? Writer Allison Hoover Bartlett thinks so, given the reaction she often gets to her new book, The Man Who Loved Books Too Much.

"I can't tell you how many people have picked up the book and read the title and said, 'Huh! That's me,' " Bartlett says.

"Some people care so deeply about books," she adds, "they're willing to do just about anything to get their hands on the books that they love."
The book tells the story of the light-fingered bibliophile John Gilkey, and how antiquarian bookseller, Ken Sanders tracked, identified and exposed the thief. Story from NPR.

Former NFL star gets a kick out of rare books

Former NFL star gets a kick out of rare books
After Pat McInally signed his rookie contract with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1975, the first thing he did with his new-found wealth was also the least likely: He bought a vintage book collection for the copy of "Winnie the Pooh" it contained.

Old or new?

Scholars have argued for nearly 70 years over a 44-page codex, known as the Archaic Mark, that contains the complete 16-chapter text of the Gospel of Mark in minuscule handwritten text. The manuscript, which also includes 16 colorful illustrations, has long been believed to be either an important witness to the early text of the gospel or a modern forgery. An exhaustive, multi-disciplinary examination has determined that it is . . . .


Saving Manuscripts

Father Stewart is a Benedictine monk at a small Catholic university in Minnesota. For the past several years he has also been the director of a project to find and digitize manuscripts held in monastic communities in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

Since 2003 he has overseen the imaging of some 17,500 manuscripts. Over the decades, the museum has made a photographic record of more than 110,000 manuscripts — an estimated 35 million pages’ worth — shifting from microfilm to digital imaging as the technology has evolved. Lately it has run 15 to 20 projects a year.


Rare Darwin book found on toilet bookcase

"A first edition of Charles Darwin's groundbreaking Origin Of Species, which languished for years in a toilet, will go under the hammer this week, on the 150th anniversary of the book's publication." Read more from the The Independent,


Syria: Islam's Most Important Library to Reopen in Aleppo

After decades of neglect, one of Islam’s most important libraries is about to reopen in Aleppo, offering scholars access to some 70,000 books and rare works of art, and shining a light on a centuries-old tradition of learning. Aleppo, Syria’s second city, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, outdone only by Damascus. It has also been a centre of scholarship for millennia, especially for the three Abrahamic faiths.

Islamic scholarship, in particular, thrived there during the Middle Ages.


Rare Chinese Books

Harvard College Library and the National Library of China have agreed to digitize one of the largest collections of rare Chinese books outside of China, according to The Associated Press. The aim is to increase access while reducing the amount of physical contact with the Harvard-Yenching Library’s 51,500 volumes, some more than 1,000 years old and covering subjects like history, philosophy and drama.

Full story

Longer, more detailed story at the Boston Globe



Subscribe to Rare Books