Tuesday, April 11, 2006


More booksale news

Well, I'm almost through sorting the books from the sale on Saturday. The Dorothy Parker book is not a first edition after all (Death and Taxes, it's a second printing before publication, 1931, Viking), but it is still lovely, and contains one of my all-time favorite verses (p.18):


My land is bare of chattering folk;
The clouds are low along the ridges,
And sweet's the air with curly smoke
From all my burning bridges.

It also has a lovely blindstamped pink-purple cloth cover, which wouldn't scan well, so here's the equally well-designed title page instead:

So, not a first. But, another discovery: an early hardcover reprint of W. Somerset Maugham's The Gentleman in the Parlour: A Record of a Journey from Rangoon to Haiphong (Doubleday, 1033), which I've wanted to read for some time, and which begins with Maugham selecting books to read on his journey:

"...one day, about to start on a long journey, I was wandering around Bumpus's looking for books to take with me when I came across a selection of Hazlitt's Essays. It was an agreeable little volume in a green cover, and nicely printed, cheap in price and light to hold, and out of curiosity to know the truth about an author of whom I had read so much ill (courtesy of Charles Lamb) I put it on the pile that I had already collected." (p.3, I've added the words in italics)

Maugham becomes enraptured with Hazlitt to the extent that the title of his book is taken from a passage in one of the Essays entitled On Going on a Journey:

"Oh! it is great to shake off the trammels of the world and of public opinion - to lose our importunate, tormenting, everlasting personal identity in the elements of nature, and become the creature of the moment, clear of all ties - to hold to the universe only by a dish of sweet-breads, and to owe nothing but the score of the evening - and no longer seeking for applause and meeting with contempt, to be known by no other title than the Gentleman in the parlour! (p.6, the italics are Hazlitt's)

Except for the sweetbreads (shudder), how delightful. I look forward to reading the rest of the book, even though, sadly, I won't be reading it on a steamer to Rangoon. At the booksale I also found a small Hazlitt book, a 1930's Oxford edition of Table-Talk, perhaps I'll read that next. And finally, while sorting books yesterday, I found one more book I'd bought with a bookseller's ticket that I didn't know about. Riches! Life is good.

Sarah, what a lovely entry. I've really been enoying your postings. Thanks for doing this!
Thank you for reading, Gary. A writer's greatest pleasure (besides writing, reading, of course, and possibly eating) must surely be having an appreciative reader (one will do just fine). I hope you keep checking in here from time to time.
may i recommend Marion Meade's Bobbed hair and bathtub gin? it's marvelous!
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