[Lots of goodies this week - enjoy!]
- From today's Times (UK), William Sutton examines translations of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The Turkish version of the final book (Harry Potter ve Ölüm Yadigarlar) was just released last week, second only to the Ukrainian translation (Harry Potter i Smertelni Relikviyi). The French translator won't be finished until February, and in Italy "irate Potter fans have organised Operation Feather, deluging the publisher Salani with feathers to demand earlier publication, in the manner of Hogwarts' messenger owls." Sutton also discusses the many "unofficial" translations cropping up in various parts of the world, as well as the difficulties inherent in translating some of Rowling's names and ideas (Dumbledore in Norwegian? Humlesnurr, formed by combining the words for 'bee' and 'spin'). Voldemort's full name in French (to preserve the anagram)? Tom Elvis Jedusor.
- At Bookride, the first part of a two-part post on Boccaccio's Decameron. Always some interesting anecdotes here.
- Tom Pazzo posts an auction report over at Bookshop Blog. He doesn't say where the auction was, but he does report that a first edition of Hobbes' Leviathan went for $4600.
- Travis reports that Jay Miller "has [finally] been charged in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California with Interstate Transportation of Stolen Goods. He has pleaded not guilty." Another court appearance soon.
- Ed's got the latest dispatches from the Poe Wars battlefield.
- Michael Lieberman notes that police in Essex, England are on the lookout for four "Mini-Bookshop" vending machines stolen last month. "The machines, worth £10,000 each, were in a trailer attached to a lorry parked at PN Computer Services on High Street, Elsenham near Bishop's Stortford." A £2,000 reward is offered for their return.
- Over at Drawger, a gallery of endpapers.
- The Association of Research Libraries has published Celebrating Research: Rare and Special Collections from the Membership of the Association of Research Libraries. The book "includes 118 collection profiles, each from a different ARL member library. Each profile is illustrated with color photographs and tells a story of a single collection, recounting how the resources were acquired and developed. The compilation is rich with examples of how research libraries are engaging different communities to deliver library services and encourage the use of such distinctive collections." Nicholas Barker contributed the introduction. A companion website has also been released.
- Scott Brown at FB&C highlights their upcoming collection of Nicholas Basbanes essays, Editions & Impressions, and also passes along an Anne Trubek piece about collecting 'hypermoderns' (books published within the last two decades or so).
- Back in February I noted the discovery of book with Rousseau provenance at Cincinnati's [fixed, not Chicago's] Lloyd Library; they've now mounted an exhibit, "In Rousseau's Own Hand: His Book, His Notes, His Botany", complete with images of the annotations, other botany-related books used by Rousseau, &c.
- Last weekend's Paul Collins posts: comments on the Archimedes Palimpsest, and a link to a review of a recent book, Fopdoodle And Salmagundi: Words and Meanings From Dr Johnson's Dictionary That Time Forgot. Paul includes a web edition of a small portion of Edward Vaughn Kenealy's "epic and epically bonkers play A New Pantomime."
- From BibliOdyssey, images from an anonymous, undated and spectacular Arabic manuscript showing some sort of water-moving machine, a fun miscellany, and a collection of costume plates from Dutch artist Caspar Luyken (1703).
- Richard Cox examines the new book Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible from an archival perspective. Perceptive and relevant, as usual.
- Over at Galleycat, they spent some time this week wondering what's the oldest library in America (here and here). As usual, it's complicated.
Marcus Rediker's The Slave Ship: A Human History - by Colin Woodard in the Christian Science Monitor. I heard Rediker speak on this book at Northeastern this week, and am very much looking forward to reading it. His talk was riveting and excellent. Woodard says Rediker "has drawn the slave ship out of the shadows, creating a history that is elegant, readable, and entirely horrifying. It is, as Rediker warns at the outset, a painful book to read, and one the reader won't soon forget."
Eve LaPlante's Salem Witch Judge: The Life and Repentance of Samuel Sewell - by Marjorie Kehe in the Christian Science Monitor.
John Kukla's Mr. Jefferson's Women - by Stacy Schiff in the New York Times. Schiff's verdict: "Generally, Kukla is working with a thin historical record; the perhapses pile up. More disturbingly, the evidence seems honed to fit an argument. ... Kukla contrasts Jefferson unfavorably with Benjamin Rush and the Marquis de Condorcet, progressive thinkers whose ideas about women were especially advanced. If, however, the charge that Jefferson 'did nothing whatsoever to improve the legal or social condition of women in American society' holds, his entire generation stands convicted. It seems as unfair to tar him with that brush as it does to accuse him of selfishness, behavior that would hardly distinguish Jefferson, or most of the rest of us, in any century."
- Lucy Worsley's Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion, and Great Houses - by Judith Flanders in the New York Times. Flanders says this unconventional biography of William Cavendish, first Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne doesn't quite measure up: elements "fail to cohere" and the book "sometimes reads like a historical novel. ... "The description of Newcastle’s father’s deathbed is 'extrapolated,' an endnote tells us, from 'similar scenes' in contemporary sources, including paintings. In the text, the reader is straightforwardly told that certain people are present, but the endnotes amend these assertions, revealing that documents 'do not place' these people 'in the house on the day,' although 'their presence seems likely.'” This is not history. It is fiction." Quite so, and yet another indictment of editors and publishers who allow authors to get away with blurring if not outright fudging facts. For shame.
- Angus Hawkins' The Forgotten Prime Minister: The 14th Earl of Derby (Volume I: Ascent, 1799-1851) - by Andrew Roberts in the Times. Of the subject, Roberts writes "Although he formed three ministries, was the longest-serving party leader in modern British political history and abolished slavery throughout the British Empire, Derby is not today remembered at all, even in the Tory party that he led between 1846 and 1868." Of the book: "With its genealogical tables, chapter headings based on Derby’s Iliad translation and deeply learned expositions on the minutiae of parliamentary manoeuvrings, this book hails from the elitist high-politics school of history and is (rightly) proud of it."
- Woody Holton's Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution - by Terry Shulman in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "Holton's sour view of the framers' motivations might have been tempered by an acknowledgment of how much more democratic the Constitution has become since its ratification. This, too, can be attributed to the framers. The author gives short shrift to any higher agenda (in the fashion of most revisionists) and fails to focus the reader's attention on the Constitution's ingrained powers of reinvention. ... But Holton's book is groundbreaking in that it enlarges exponentially our understanding of the people's role in the formation of American government. Unruly they might have been, but they were canny enough to see the extent to which they were being taken advantage of by their state governments and capable enough to bring about the grass-roots upheavals that led to the drafting of the Constitution." My copy of Unruly Americans arrived this week, and is another one I'm really looking forward to.