Monday, January 08, 2007


Back after a busy weekend

I didn't spend much time at the shop over the weekend - Saturday morning was taken up with a library sale (I bought six cartons of books for around $140, a few treasures but nothing out of this world), Saturday afternoon with cleaning and sorting the new arrivals, and helping a stray customer here and there, and yesterday puttering at home, where I am computerless (by choice). Back this morning to more stacks of books, and an interesting email re our friend Edmund Curll: Pat, one of the authors of a new biography of Curll, wrote of its imminent publication (Oxford University Press, January in the UK and March in the US). Thanks, it's on my list - I look forward to reading it!

Too much to do today, luckily The Reader's Encyclopedia letter-of-the-day is fairly short. For anyone just joining the program, I am working my way through the 1948 edition of this fine reference book, one letter per day, and posting a few entries here. I am hoping to make January fly by. And learn something in the process. Editorial comments appear in parentheses from time to time (when I cannot restrain myself).

Eckhardt. Eckhardt, in German legends, appears on the evening of Maundy Thursday (in the week before Easter) to warn all persons to go home, that they may not be injured by the headless bodies and two-legged horses which traverse the streets on that night, or by Frau Holle or Hulda leading the dead.
Hence the phrase, a faithful Eckhardt, who warneth everyone. (p.331)

Edenhall, Luck of. A goblet which is the property of the Musgrave family of Edenhall in England. It is said to have been left by the little folk at St. Cuthbert's Well. The luck of the family depends on its possession.
If this cup either break or fall
Farewell the luck of Eden Hall.
One of the best known ballads by Uhland (Ger., 1787-1862) is called Das Glűck von Edenhall. (p.332)

Elephant in the Moon, The. A satire by the 17-century Samuel Butler, directed against the Royal Society. In it, what is apparently an elephant is discovered on the face of the moon as seen through the telescopes of the time, but it is revealed to be only a mouse which was somehow imprisoned in the instrument. (p.337)

Elzevir. Family of Dutch publishers and printers flourishing in the 17th century. A style of type was named Elzevir after this family. Books of their printing are of special value. The best are editions of classical and French authors. The Elzevir imprint is found in 1213 books: 968 Latin, 44 Greek, 126 French, 32 Flemish, 22 Oriental, 11 German, 10 Italian. (p.341) (I own one Elzevir imprint. Only 1212 left to go.)

Epipsychidion. (Gr., literally, "a little poem on the soul"). A poem by Shelley (1821). (p.346)

Erythynus, have no doings with the, i.e., "don't trust a braggart." This is the thirty-third symbol of the Protreptics of Iamblichus. (the What of Who??) The Erythynus is mentioned by Pliny (ix.77) as a red fish with a white belly, and Pythagoras used it as a symbol of braggadocio, who fable says is white-livered. (p.349)

Everyman. An old morality play of about the time of Edward IV, depicting man's progress through life. Everyman is symbolic of humanity, and the characters he meets with are personified vices and virtues. The subtitle reads A Treatise how the hye Fader of Heven sendeth Dethe to somon every creature to come and gyve a counte of theyr lyves in this Worlde. (p.356)

Enough for today.

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