Tuesday, February 12, 2008
An excursion among my books
Fifth Avenue Bus (Doubleday 1934). A doorstop of a book sweetly subtitled: An Excursion Among the Books of Christopher Morley / With a Note by the Conductor. This copy is a little worn around the edges, and the green spine cloth has faded a bit. But the good news is that the book is signed, twice. Once on the front free endpaper, and again on the title page, shown here:
Morley's signature has such dash - I particularly admire the trailing descender on the y. I've seen his signature so many times, and he almost always wrote this way. But in this case his signature really fills the page nicely. Now, about that attention to detail - it's hard to read in this image, but the little open book device has some Latin printed on the banner beneath it:
FRUCTUS QUAM FOLIA
Fruit of the leaves - Doubleday used this same emblem on at least one of the books of a writer Morley championed while working at Doubleday himself, Joseph Conrad. Folia reminds us, of course, of folio leaves, i.e. pages of a book. A fine motto, very neat.
More Morley later this week. And before I go a quick cat report: Hodge is settling in nicely at our house, he was (mostly) asleep on my lap last night while I read Montaigne. Every time I reached over him to turn the page, he'd Mrreeow quietly. We kept this up for nearly an hour. Not bad, considering a mere week ago he was hiding in the back of the closet, hissing if we got too close.
Was thinking of him all morning.
Read a bit from Pipefuls; tried (in vain) to find a biogr. or some titles on the net.
CM enriches your everyday life.
Antony, don't envy Morley, he had a difficult life, surely - an Elizabethan poet trapped in the body of a potboiler journalist. He says in "Inward Ho!" (quoted here in "Fifth Avenue Bus"):
"I shall fail, as all men do; but I shall be happy. And I shall laugh, as I have always laughed; and I shall go through my terrors in secret."
He felt things so deeply. It's all there in his writing. I do wish someone would write a biography - it would be something else.
Borges, yes, I've seen many other authors sign this way. I do have a signed DFW book at home, I'll have to look at it tonight.
No post tomorrow - looks like another snowstorm will keep me at home. Back on Thursday with another Morley book.
Groundhog Day 1931
Dear Miss Corey- The groundhog comes out of his hole long enough to thank you for your friendly letter. Messrs. Doubleday Doran & Co. of Garden City, N.Y. will be glad to send you a pamphlet containing some of the information you ask for; and here is the signature you requested-
The only signed book I have of his is Human Being; this works out since it's one of my favorites.
Looking forward to seeing more in the coming posts.