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Archive | Books blogging


1616 saw the death of WS and M de C

On 23 April the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers will, for the second time, promote a worldwide series of “pop-up book fairs“. In 2015 this initiative, based around UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day, raised over 10,000€ to support child literacy in South Sudan (and helped generate publicity for old books, too); this year, they […]

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Spot the difference (again…)

Roman love poetry this week. These two quarto volumes bound in vellum are both examples of the 1708 Broukhusius edition of Albius Tibullus published in Amsterdam by Johann Heinrich Wettstein – one of the better separate editions (Tibullus was often lumped together with Catullus and Propertius).   The collation is exactly the same: same format, […]

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A bibliophile’s Theocritus

Greek bucolic poetry this week, and an absolute joy it is, too. The works of Theocritus in quarto, published in Paris in 1561 by Guillaume Morel, who had succeeded Turnebus as King’s Printer in Greek in 1555. The woodcut Basilisk device (a play on the Greek “Basileus”) is on the title-page. Our copy is red-ruled – always an indication that […]

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Festivals, Signings & Cake

So, the eagerly awaited (by its authors, certainly) A History of the 20th Century in 100 Maps by Bryars & Harper has now hit the shops, published by the British Library here in the UK and by the University of Chicago Press in the US. Here’s what 100 copies looks like: You can imagine how […]

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Altlases of Empire

I seem to have a good selection of atlases of the British Empire at the moment:   Thematic atlases became especially popular in the later nineteenth-century, pioneered by firms such as W. & A.K. Johnston and Bartholomew. Here’s an example of an 1877 empire atlas by the latter:   Internally it’s fairly functional, and like […]

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What’s that got to do with the price of fish? Ole Theodor Olsen’s Piscatorial Atlas

Just for once, the answer to the question is ‘everything’. The late nineteenth century was the heyday of the thematic atlas, but I have rarely seen one quite so specialist or as magnificent as Olsen’s 1883 Piscatorial Atlas. A series of 50 lavishly chromolithographed charts record the distribution – spawning grounds and abundance – of the major […]

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