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20 July 2006


Phil Floyd

Excellent post. I especially loved your description of the "utter sole of the library." What treasures of the mind lay hidden in such places?

Edge of the Earth Rd.
Lexington, OK


Phil--while all libraries are treasures and offer vast pleasures, it's those with old books, scuffed and slightly unhinged, that provide the wildest adventures. Thanks for your comment.

Debbie Lee

Larry, Wonderful fusion of ideas, stories, and images. Collecting favorite stories and storing them in memory is definitely better than bones, but being wooed in a graveyard must be even better. I'd never read these lines about Shelley's bursting soul: "Ideas, millions of ideas, are crowding into it." Amazing.


Debbie--I'm always surprised by P. B. Shelley, although one can understand his exuberance. It has an oddness, however, and I think that's because densely populated, contemporary society, especially our academic world, selects against that exuberant intensity out of a fear of its unchannelled potential.


I'm curious about the book being "uncut". Does that mean the pages were together and they needed to be freed from each other? Strange then, that they would be like that after being checked out several times. It reminds me about a story of Stephen Hawkings' book A Brief History of Time. The book is apparently the most owned but unread book of all time. The story was about a Toronto bookstore owner who tucked a coupon for a free book into every copy of A Brief History of Time he sold. None were ever redeemed.


Clare--In decades past, books were sold with adjacent pages held together by a marginal fold. The margins were then cut after the book was published. Most, but not all, of the pages of the library's "Letters About Shelley" had been cut, and I would guess that the book had been well used by scholars over the years. I suppose that a book of letters allows one to read more nonlinearly than one consisting of a more linear narrative--which permitted some pages to miss cutting over the years. Perhaps the Stephen Hawking books also promote nonlinear reading.

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