Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 55

Thread: Most precious piece in library

  1. #1
    pessimist more or less Veva's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where madness is just the lack of pragmatism
    Posts
    232
    Blog Entries
    14

    Most precious piece in library

    Hi,
    I was just wondering what is the most precious book in your private library. For me it is English translation of Brothers Karamazov from 1970..
    Stop asking where is God and keep asking where the hell is human!

  2. #2
    ignoramus et ignorabimus Mr Endon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    305
    I'd have to say Beckett's Letters (1929-1940). Just released (2009), but what a treasure! Probably the most expensive book in my library, too.

  3. #3
    closed
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    at home
    Posts
    75
    I have a rather large church bible that was published in 1812. It was given to someone during a garage clearance to go to the tip but they kept it for me!!

    The pages are not in fantastic condition but i love the fact that it was rescued and probably has an interesting past x

  4. #4
    Oh er, between Oscar Wilde's complete letters (now out of print, which is why I had to pay £55 for an ex-library copy, good condition though), Shakespeare's complete works, for sheer kick of knowing that I have so much power in one book - worn out copy though, pages falling out in places, Milton's Paradise Lost, which follows me around like a puppy, child's picture book copy of Happy Prince and Other Tales which I picked up on a trip to Ireland, Major Works of Philip Sidney because it is what I'm going to read in the summer, Collected poems of Wordsworth, old Penguin copy always hides under the bed, and probably my old Penguin copy of Dorian Gray because that's the same book I had when I first read it and even though it is scraggy, it's still cool.

  5. #5
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The USA... or thereabouts
    Posts
    6,076
    Blog Entries
    78
    Hmmm... intriguing question. In spite of the scale of my library (some 3000 books) I have never really gone in for rare books. Certainly I have any number of books which are long out of print and would be difficult to replace, and I have a good number of books (especially art books) that are worth $75, $100, or more. But most "precious". As a sworn Borgesian I could not be without Borges' Dream Tigers which is not easy to find... while Labyrinths must be credited with first introducing me to the world of Borges... and eventually the whole of Post-Modern literature. On the other hand Baudelaire's Fleurs du Mal (translated by Richard Howard) and the thick catalog Max Beckmann:Retrospective were almost like Bibles for me for years: the one truly led me to a love of poetry and the other opened my eyes to modern art. I still pick them up on a regular basis today.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
    My Blog: Of Delicious Recoil
    http://stlukesguild.tumblr.com/

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    214
    Original four volume English edition of Sholokhov's And Quiet Flows the Don, published in the 1930s. It isn't really valuable in terms of money, they just mean a lot to me, aesthetically: the dimensions of the books, type size and font, cover art... and of course the writing

  7. #7
    Alea iacta est. mortalterror's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    LA
    Posts
    1,913
    Blog Entries
    39
    I'm a bit like StLukes in that my most precious volumes are not numbered among my most expensive collections. If pressed, I would have to admit that an out of print translation of Racine's plays is perhaps my most prized possession. Though the price tag was only about two bucks, I spent a few years prowling through used book stores looking for it. He's so rarely read in the United States that his plays have taken on a personal almost exclusive tinge for me, as though they were a form of private intellectual property... a secret garden if you will.

    After that, I'm most proud of my Eight Dramas of Calderon in the Fitzgerald translation, and my favorite translation of Dante's Inferno. Beyond that, I've bought multiple copies of Aristophanes comedies, The Day of the Locust, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Catch-22, and Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London.
    "So-Crates: The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing." "That's us, dude!"- Bill and Ted
    "This ain't over."- Charles Bronson
    Feed the Hungry!

  8. #8
    Registered User Desolation's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    726
    I don't have any rare books, but, my most cherished book is the tattered, dog-eared, torn, and coffee-stained copy of 'On the Road' that I plucked from my dad's library. That book changed my literary life. My copy of 'Leaves of Grass' by Walt Whitman also holds plenty of sentimental value.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    3
    This will serve as introduction to this forum. I think at the moment my most prized book is a 1st UK ed. of Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (Jonathan Cape, 1973).

  10. #10
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The USA... or thereabouts
    Posts
    6,076
    Blog Entries
    78
    Mortal... who's the translator or the publisher of your Calderon? The same for your Racine. Both are certainly almost invisible in the English speaking world.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
    My Blog: Of Delicious Recoil
    http://stlukesguild.tumblr.com/

  11. #11
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    6,358
    My Italian copy of Leopardi's Canti, or perhaps my 5 Tomb edition of the Pentatuch (in Hebrew) with extensive scholarship and commentary (each book is about 700 or so pages long, and it is the ultimate reference book). Though, in terms of reading, I generally head back to my copy of Eliot's Four Quartets (individually published, I have a collected poems too), which I have read at least 300 times this past year.

  12. #12
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    6,358
    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    Mortal... who's the translator or the publisher of your Calderon? The same for your Racine. Both are certainly almost invisible in the English speaking world.
    There is a translation of three of Racine's plays done by George Dillon which is still widely available.

  13. #13
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The USA... or thereabouts
    Posts
    6,076
    Blog Entries
    78
    JBI... I actually have a two volume Complete Plays of Racine translated by Samuel Solomon and published by Modern Library as well as the Robert Lowell "translations" and those of Richard Wilbur. Just wondering what version Mortal was reading considering the value he placed upon the works.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
    My Blog: Of Delicious Recoil
    http://stlukesguild.tumblr.com/

  14. #14
    Alea iacta est. mortalterror's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    LA
    Posts
    1,913
    Blog Entries
    39
    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    Mortal... who's the translator or the publisher of your Calderon? The same for your Racine. Both are certainly almost invisible in the English speaking world.
    This was my introduction to Racine. http://www.amazon.com/Iphigenia-Phae...4013412&sr=1-1 I was captivated from the first page. The turmoil of Agamemnon's soul, the complexity of character, the brilliance of the verse. It had me rooted to the spot. I devoured this book. It is, of course, the lovely Penguin books translation of Iphigenia, Phaedra, and Athaliah by John Cairncross. This volume is readily available in most book shops.

    If you've read Madame Bovary, then you know that Athalie is mentioned therein to be the greatest French tragedy. I believe Proust drops Racine's name in Within a Budding Grove, although there he seems to prefer Phèdre.

    I bought Three Plays of Racine translated by George Dillon next. He must be commended for the care and beauty which he lavished on his creations. Between the two translators John Cairncross is only slightly to be preferred. That volume comprises Phaedra, Britannicus, and Andromache. You see the overlap with my previous edition? By buying that I was only up two plays. Though at the time it was a worthwhile purchase. I'm still just purchasing Racine piecemeal, like a ransomed child, little parts come one at a time in the mail.

    The volume which I originally spoke of is John Cairncross' complementary volume, now out of print, Andromache and Other Plays. Here he translates Andromache, Britannicus, and Berenice. It was the devil tracking this book down. I could not stomach the thought of settling for the Modern Library's execrable Solomon text. The whole thing was in prose, and blandly done at that. It had none of the punch or fire of the original. The words were dead on the paper. No. That was out of the question; so my search wore on, and you know what? It was worth it. The addition of Berenice was enough by itself to reward my endeavor. I'd tried my hand at a translation of the play once myself, and how that wore on!

    Who can draw women as well as Racine? Who can surpass him for rapturous passion and bittersweet love? Only Petrarch. Andromache was a charm, and I loved the way he finally gave Orestes sidekick Pylades some lines. The man is as silent as a ghost in the old Greek plays.

    Richard Wilbur did some translations but I wasn't all that into him.

    As far as Calderon goes, I believe this is the book I own. http://www.amazon.com/Eight-Dramas-C...&sr=1-1#reader What you won't see from the pictures on Amazon is how perfectly balanced this book is, how it fits snugly in the palm of your hand, how the pages turn with a springy laziness, or the creamy white of the paper under yellow lamplight. It even smells new. It retains this kind of sheen to it after years, which is unusual; because it's not glossy, and on the front is a detail of Velazquez's Surrender of Breda.

    The text itself is by the Victorian poet Edward FitzGerald known for his magnificent Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. I was first introduced to his work in the Harvard Classics collection Continental Drama, where they reproduce his translation of Life is a Dream. However, FitzGerald had originally morphed that title into "Such Stuff as Dreams are Made Of" à la Shakespearean allusion as Moncrieff would do for Proust's book years later. In my paperback copy that change is preserved. It's a charming and harmless anachronism that lends the book a grace which the text as a whole deserves.

    Highlights include The Painter of His Own Dishonor. Italians write of love. The English are dutiful. But no one can surpass a Spaniard in complexity, in truthfulness, insight, and honest pathos when it comes to the subject of honor. When the French try it almost seems a joke, but here it is so earnest. One never doubts the authors sincerity. Gil Perez, The Gallician could be a modern action movie. It's explosive and full of energy, filled with dynamic, courageous individuals reminiscent of Cyrano de Bergerac. It grabs you by the throat at the beginning and doesn't let go. But the real reason to buy this volume is the last play, Life is a Dream. It is a perfect philosophical poem, a gem that sparkles whichever way it's turned. The trapped prince is worthy of Hamlet in his angst, and moral uncertainty. Truly, this is one of the ten best plays of the last thousand years.
    "So-Crates: The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing." "That's us, dude!"- Bill and Ted
    "This ain't over."- Charles Bronson
    Feed the Hungry!

  15. #15
    DON'T PANIC! Tsuyoiko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    In my cerebral cortex
    Posts
    143
    I find it almost impossible to part with any book I've enjoyed; even returning library books is sometimes difficult for me! I have some nice books in my collection: a nineteenth century illustrated Don Quixote, with an inscription dated 1885 in beautiful copperplate writing; several classics from the Folio Society, which my dad adds to at Christmasses and birthdays; a signed copy of Golden Apples of the Sun by Ray Bradbury; and my Christening Bible, which has colour plates protected by tissue paper .

    Although they have no aesthetic or monetary value, there are other books I couldn't part with because of their sentimental value: my full set of Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopaedia, which were my dad's. We would spend hours poring over them when I was a kid, trying to spot the archaisms. I remember reading how one day men might land on the Moon ; my Good News Bible, which I was given at Sunday school. It still has markers in all the pages I wanted to remember as a kid. It was when I read that Bible cover to cover for a Sunday School project that I first started on my way to Atheism; all my academic books from University. I've reread some of the Philosophy ones, but although I haven't touched any of the Mathematics ones for well over ten years, they are my relics of a golden age ; my children's Bible that is the only gift I still have from my great grandmother. The cover shows god as a pair of hands cradling the Earth, and that's the god I believed in as a kid.
    "Books don't offer real escape but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw." David Mitchell

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Non Sequitur
    By Scheherazade in forum General Chat
    Replies: 311
    Last Post: 04-22-2015, 06:41 PM
  2. News
    By Scheherazade in forum Serious Discussions
    Replies: 1250
    Last Post: 03-11-2014, 09:02 AM
  3. To the Librarian Having a Quiet Day- a first draft
    By Callum Oversly in forum Short Story Sharing
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-19-2009, 09:15 PM
  4. Library or Bookstore?
    By Rogers_68 in forum General Literature
    Replies: 48
    Last Post: 06-19-2008, 10:27 PM
  5. A Washington-area library tosses out the classics.
    By Virgil in forum General Literature
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: 07-07-2007, 11:52 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •