Sunday, June 07, 2009

Links & Reviews

- A sale before the start of this week's London Antiquarian Book Fair set a record: a first edition of Ulysses fetched a whopping £275,000, the most ever paid for a 20th-century first edition. Dealer Pom Harrington said this was one of just four copies from the 100-copy first print run (all signed by Joyce; this is number 45) that were unaccounted for.

- Cambridge University is putting its incunabula collection online, thanks to a £300,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The project to catalog the 4,650 books will continue for about five years.

- John Overholt notes the newest acquisitions to the Houghton Library's Johnson collection: more than 30 letters and documents from the Paula Peyraud sale at Bloomsbury, along with a small collection of books annotated by Hester Thrale Piozzi.

- June installments of Americana Exchange Monthly and Fine Books Notes were released this week. Good articles in each.

- The Raymond Scott trial, which was scheduled to begin on 22 May, has been delayed. No new date has been set.

- At Salon, a series of author interviews from BEA in which the authors recommend books for summer reading. The Gaiman clip is fantastic.

- From the Chicago Tribune, news that much of the collection of the late John Sisto was illegally removed from Italy and will be returned. Sisto immigrated to the US from Italy in the late 1950s, and claimed that he had received the books and antiquities from his father. Some 3,000 rare books, papal documents and artwork were discovered in Sisto's house after his death in 2007. [via RBN]

- Digital Defoe has debuted; launched by the Defoe Society, this is a free, peer-reviewed e-journal focusing on all things Defoe. Read the introduction here.

- The sixteenth issue of Parenthesis, the journal of the Fine Press Book Association, has been published. It includes articles on the centenary of British artist Reynolds Stone, the book designs of Herman Zapf, and other pieces.

- Vince Hancock, who manages the Chronicles of William Hone site, notes that Hone is now on Twitter, too. Promising!

- Thomas Levenson, author of Newton and the Counterfeiter, was on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" on Friday to talk about his book and Newton's career as head of the Mint.

- Back in May 2007 I posted about the Tyldesley Diary, damaged while in the care of the British Library. Peter Tyldesley has now provided an update to this case, which only gets weirder.

- Paul Collins recalls the great Monkeyfishing hoax of 2001, backdating it with an 1897 feature piece in Recreation Magazine, "Bait-casting for fox terriers." And he speculates about a recent Amazon patent application (he just might be right).

- From BibliOdyssey, bookplates from the Pratt Institute's Ex-Libris Flickr stream, which is delightful!

- Liz Jensen comments in the Independent on Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast Trilogy. She begins the essay "At the age of 15, I had an epiphany. I was halfway through the first book of the Gormenghast trilogy when it hit me, like a benign thunderbolt: writers can do anything they like."

- The AP reports that the South Carolina Department of Archives and History is putting Confederate currency on eBay, "providing the state archives with an influx of cash amid tight budgets." The forty boxes of CSA banknotes were supposed to have been destroyed during Reconstruction, but apparently these were just stashed in a storage room and forgotten. Now retired history professor Jack Meyer sifts through the boxes, pulling out the best and most interesting specimens for retention by the archives and picking other pieces to put up for sale.


- John Buchan reviews Iain Pears' Stone's Fall in the NYTimes.

- In the Boston Globe, Shelley Murphy reviews Myles O'Connor's new memoir of thievery, The Art of the Heist.