Er…have you noticed that I tend to write about books en masse?  I haven’t been blogging about a book, but whole bunches of books, especially since I figured out how to use the table tool,   Let’s face it, I have craploads of books laying about the place.  And I get fixated on series of one sort or another.  I’ve been through an Agatha Christie phase; bought a bunch of those.  The opera comic books.  The romance collections. My Blooms.  You get the idea.  There’s very few areas of life in which I excel, but I have to say reading and collecting books are a couple of them.  I’m no Nietzsche — I have a life outside the covers — but what could I do?  I didn’t chose to be bookish — it chose me.  And I was savvy enough to cultivate it. 

These are some of my antique books — old-fashioned book-readers’ books: compact, hard covers perfect for carrying about in a purse or coat pocket.  I love the portability of these books. I love the earthy scent of musty closets that clings stubbornly to the pages.  Books that are designed to be companions.  Most of them I found at Half-Price Books in San Antonio or at library sales or charity sales.  Within 2 years of living in San Antonio, I knew every bookstore and sale in town.  Aye, it were good days, them; broke, but good.

[I’m not going to link them because they are so old and readily available from just about anywhere.]

1.     Selected Plays of Shakespeare, vol. 2; American Bk Co., 1937.  It has everything I love in a Shakespeare book: woodcut illustrations, a glossary, "Dramatis Personae", the letters a and e squashed together (that and umlauts send me into a swoon!), and handwritten notes from previous owner. The end papers have a map of Shakespeare’s England.  In an upper corner, a previous owner wrote in blue fountain pen notes about "Romeo and Juliet": 120 – to earth doth; 119 – parting; 121 – fickle love; 132 – love moderately; 175 – no law for poor.

2.  The Arden Shakespeare: Troilus and Cressida. DCHeath & Co. 1932.  San Antonio Library 822.33.  It still has the checkout card and pocket inside the cover.  It has pencil markings from a student — checks marks, underlining, and a note on p. 25: They see a machine but do not realize or understand he {killech has canceimed is} (sic). At the back, there’s appendices: Summaries and Notes, Glossary, and Bibliography. 


3.  The Yale Shakespeare: King John.  Yale University Press.  1927.  Inside the front cover is an old bookplate with the name of an owner: I. Cordray.   Sweet.  The series page has what I think is the logo of Yale University — an open book with Hebrew words.  Under it is a banner with "Lux et Veritas", Latin for light and truth.  So I’m guessing that the Hebrew words express the same thing.  The page before the DP is a facsimile of the original 1623 folio.  That is so cool!  That design and wording is the basis of the Blackadder Season 2 titles.  The titles are based on Jane Austen, but the artwork and credits are based on the DP and this —>. In fact, the font I used is called Blackadder. Edition contains mostly scholars’ notes and awkward glossary.

4.  The First Part of King Henry the Fourth.  George Lyman Kittredge, ed.  The Aetheneum Press.  1940.  Kittredge is/was  a world-renowned Shakespeare scholar.  There is the ubiquitous scholar’s introduction to this pet project and a thorough set of research notes at the end.  A "Glossorial Index" (why not just say Glossary?)   This one also has markings from student use.  The student wrote 2 exclamation points by this bit by Falstaff:

I must give over this life, and I will give it over! 

But the Lord, an I do not, I am a villain! 

I’ll be damn’d for never a king’s son in Christendom.

So Falstaff is in a bit of a strop — again.  You know what he’s like when he drinks.

5.  The Arden Shakespeare: Macbeth.  DCHeath & Co. 1915.  This one is an archeological treasure.  Markings everywhere. The pocket from the old San Antonio library still on it as well as a stamp from Morningside Meadows Library.  Besides the libraries, it’s had at least 6 owners.  3 erased, 1 blacked out, 1 in pencil, and 1 written in fountain pen.  Not in any particular order: Mr. H. Traupmann of W. Gramercy Pl., Mr. H. Heaslet of Palo Blanco St. (Adv. 208?), Mr. Ed M. (Adv. 208?), Ms. A. Burke of Beck Ave. (Adv. 311?), and Mr. R. Milam.   The title page has notes listed:


  1. M’s ambition
  2. Weakness of king
  3. Condition of country
  4. M’s victory
  5. Prophecy
  6. Partial fulfillment of prophecy
  7. King names his son Prince of C (sic)
  8. King visits Macbeth
  9. Lady M’s influence


Here endeth Part the First

To be continued hence and forthwith

With due diligence… 



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