Thursday, January 04, 2007


Nothing to report today but this

I am here at the shop after all, for reasons too dull to go into. Onward:

cardigan. A warm jacket of knit worsted, named after the 7th Earl of Cardigan. (p.178)

Cardigan, 7th Earl of. James Thomas Brudenell (1797-1868). Commander of cavalry, led the "Six Hundred" in the famous charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava in Crimean War (1854). Cf. Tennyson's poem. (ibid)

chapbook. Originally one of the books carried about for sale by chapmen ("tradesmen," chap meaning purchase or bargain). Hence, any book of a similar nature, a tract, small collection of ballads, of the like. (p.196)

credence. A kind of sideboard, or buffet, generally associated with the Renaissance. Originally, the table on which the food was placed before serving to be tasted by a servant to guard against poisoning. The tasting itself was also called credence because it proved that credence could be given to the wholesome nature of the food. (pp.253-254)

Curlicism. Literary indecency. From Edmund Curle (1675-1747), English bookseller notorious for publication of A Nun in her Frock and similar books for which he was convicted and fined in 1728. Satirized by Alexander Pope in the Dunciad. (p.264)

Other entries I nearly mentioned: carte blanche, Castle of Indolence, classics, and cornucopia. Again I repeat Go to the nearest used bookshop and find your own copy.

I'll give ya a friggin' curlicism!
Curlicism indeed! Yet again, proceed posthaste to the nearest used bookshop and get your own copy. In your case, the nearest used bookshop is but a few short steps away...

Dear Sarah (et al),

This is a bit late, but happy new year. I like your encyclopedia postings. Maybe by letter M I'll break down and get a copy.

Your Daedalus post reminded me that I bought from them A City In Winter and The Pacific, both by Mark Helprin and at your recommendation. The first was a perfectly charming book, with wonderful illustrations by Chris Van Allsburg. As yet, I've only read the first story (Il Colore Ritrovato) in The Pacific, but agree with everything you said about MH. So, I thank you.

And while we're on the subject of recommendations, my sister asked me for suggestions for her Christmas present to me. I listed a half dozen books, thinking she'd find a couple, and she sent all six. Two of them were A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water, by you know who. They are sitting very close to the top of the TBR pile. On second thought, Benet may have to wait awhile.

I have two editions of The Reader's Encyclopedia that I cherish. More than two editions would clearly be better, so I will visit my local used bookstore in search of a copy from 1948. Sarah, does your copy have the wonderful list of obscure saints?
Dan, my favorite story in "The Pacific" is entitled "Monday." Runner-up is "Vandevere's House." No, wait, "Perfection." No, no, "Rain" (it's about Melville and is very very beautiful and has a great passage in it about a bookshop). Well, I guess I don't have to pick a favorite. I can love them all. Wait until you read his novels...

Hope you love Fermor - he's as good (if not better than) Laurie Lee. His memoirs about traveling around Greece (now his home) are also very fine.

What a good sister you have!

Dear Vicky, I listed E.M. Delafield in the next post, while thinking of you. She should have kept her real name - Dashwood is a great literary moniker! I have another 1948 edition here, but it's a bit battered. Hence inexpensive. I may start comparing pages between my two editions. Or not, this project might be big enough just as it is.
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