Friday, May 3, 2013

Research books I've just discovered!

I've been to a book sale again. There are two substantial sales in my city each year, one in the fall and one in the spring. They support arts, education and charity, so I feel fully justified in buying from them, even though we have no space left in our house for more books!

One of my first finds was "From Instruction to Delight: An Anthology of Children's Literature to 1850". I am looking forward to exploring it, as early children's literature is for me a fascinating study. I will be interested to see what the book says about the Regency era.

The majority of books that I buy at these sales are out of print, so I feel no guilt about 'cheating' the author of his/her royalties. But occasionally I break that rule. I came across "The Gentry: Stories of the English" by Adam Nicolson, which I had not seen before. It was published in 2011, a hardcover book, and cost me only $2.00. It looks like an exceptionally interesting book, and perhaps I can report further on it when I've read it. I'd like to do something for Mr. Nicolson, having paid him no royalties! Even the picture I can provide of the cover is from; perhaps someone among you will buy it there, and assuage my guilt :)

I had three exceptional finds of very old books. I love the really old ones, dilapidated though they may be. They are redolent of history, of lives lived, and of the people who held them and thought about their contents.

"The Life of George Stephenson, Railway Engineer" by Samuel Smiles, published in Boston from the Fourth London Edition in 1859 was a choice pick at $5.00. Stephenson's work basically changed the world, and as I flip through it Regency names pop out--Humphry Davy and James Watt among them.

"The Mother's Friend" edited by one Ann Jane was published in London as volume VIII in a yearly series. It bears no publication date but mentions the Battle of Alma, one of the main battles of the Crimean War. So I think a publication date of 1854-55 would be reasonable. It is a pious little book, for dutiful women, and I hope it brought them comfort during undoubtedly hard times.

My prize is "View of Ancient and Modern Egypt" by the Rev. Michael Russell. It was published in 1831 only twenty-some years after Napoleon's visit, and speaks of the new archaeology undertaken. Complete with its original fold out map this is a little gem.

I find it interesting how small these old books are--only four inches wide, and with a miniscule font that must have challenged poor lighting and rudimentary spectacles.

For the rest: I got two volumes of the Oxford History of English Literature--English Literature 1789-1815 and 1815-1832, which promise to be very useful. I picked up "The Art and Architecture of London" from 1988 for $2.00. It is organized by district which I thought might be very useful, and it is heavily illustrated. I got the classic "Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi" in a nice edition for the same price; it looks to have masses of information on English theatre during the Regency.

And finally, a nicely illustrated book published in 1950 titled "The History and Architecture of Brighton". I am a fan of anything about Brighton, so I snapped this up for $2.50.

I brought home some fiction as well, one or two books on gardening, and some maps and guide books for places I haven't visited. All in all it was an excellent sale. Now I just have to find places on the groaning shelves for my new treasures!

'Til next time,



Alison said...

I adore book sales - am going to a big one next week. Am slightly jealous of your finds though!

Lesley-Anne McLeod said...

I'd love to hear about what you find at your sale. The prices are so cheap at these sales, it feels like robbery! And makes it doubly tempting...