Saturday, November 20, 2010

October & November Acquisitions!

The Library is growing! Above shows the entire library, which will soon need new shelving. There have been many new acquisitions in the past two months, which means new members. Also, I must mention that we just passed our one-year anniversary!

There are new books for each collection, spanning many eras and subjects.

Italo Calvino Collection:
Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past: The Captive and Cities of the Plain

Jorge Luis Borges and Robert Smithson Collections both contain:
J.W. Dunne's An Experiment with Time
H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man & The War of the Worlds

Robert Smithson Collection also acquired:
Roland Barthes' Writing Degree Zero
Flannery O'Connor's Everything That Rises Must Converge
Denis Diderot's The Nun
Geza Roheim's Magic and Schizophrenia

(another convergence of covers)

Even the Maria Mitchell Collection was added to with a beautiful version of Lord George Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Read to see why this Romantic poet was considered a "rock star" of his day! One can catch a glimpse of the dashing Byron on the title page engraving:

Please contact the Personal Libraries Library at personallibraries{at}gmail{dot}com to check out books, membership requests or any other questions!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

August & September Acquisitions

The newest acquisitions to the Personal Libraries Library span the collections. They include from the Robert Smithson Collection:

Candide by Voltaire
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

From the Jorge Luis Borges Collection:

Hedda Gabler by Henrick Ibsen
The Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

And from the Italo Calvino Collection:

Les Choses: A Story of the Sixties by Georges Perec (pictured above)
Morphology of the Folktale by Vladimir Propp

Please contact the Librarian at personallibraries{at}gmail{dot}com to check out any of the books!

Lastly, a confluence of covers:

Friday, July 30, 2010

July Acquisitions! Piles of books from the Borges, Calvino & Smithson Collections!

A brief vacation for the Personal Libraries Library Librarian led to a brief vacation for the Library itself. Belgium was very inspiring & many books were purchased, unfortunately none for the PLL Collection. I did look for French versions of Flaubert, Perec and Queneau, but to no avail. Yet, books were piling up on the PLL doorstep awaiting my return and accession into the Collections. They include:

The Portable Blake with prose, poetry & drawings of William Blake (Robert Smithson Library),
The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (Italo Calvino Library),
At Swim-Two Birds by Flann O'Brien (Borges Library),
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (Borges, Calvino & Smithson Libraries),
Amerika by Franz Kafka (Jorge Luis Borges Library),

and to accompany Madame Bovary, Philip Spencer's Flaubert: A Biography (with an amazing cover.) Another intriguing acquisition is Douglas Hofstadter's Pulitzer Prize winning Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.

A brief excerpt from a section called "Tangles Involving Science and the Occult:"

Speaking of psychics and ESP, another sphere of life where strange loops abound is fringe science. What fringe science does is to call into question many of the standard procedures or beliefs of orthodox science, and thereby challenge the objectivity of science. New ways of interpreting evidence that rival the established ones are presented. But how do you evaluate a way of interpreting evidence? Isn't this precisely the problem of objectivity all over again, just on a higher plane? Of course, Lewis Carroll's infinite-regress paradox appears in a new guise. (p. 693)

And the beautiful Berkeley Highland edition of H.G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon (Smithson Library) is joined by his The Time Machine (Smithson & Borges Libraries.) A stunning duo.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Acquisitions to the Borges, Calvino & Smithson Libraries!

It seems that every day finds a book, or more, on the Library's doorstep. Pictured above are just a few of the newest acquisitions to the Borges, Calvino and Smithson Collections. Included in the new acquisitions are:

Robert Smithson Personal Library:
Thoreau as World Traveler by John Aldrich Christie, Crystals: Their Role in Nature by Charles Bunn, Roland Barthes' Elements of Semiology and The Origin of the Zodiac by Rupert Gleadow.

Italo Calvino Personal Library:
Specimen Days and Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, That Awful Mess on Via Merulana by Carlo Emilio Gadda and James Joyce's Ulysses.

Jorge Luis Borges Personal Library:
Snorri Sturlisson's Egils Saga, Heroes & Hero Worship by Thomas Carlyle, A Change of Light and Other Stories by Julio Cortazar, Andre Gide's The Counterfeiters and Marco Polo's Travels.

This beautiful edition of Whitman's Leaves of Grass is found in both the Calvino & Borges Libraries. It is a "Book of the Month" Book illustrated with expressive lithographs. Also found in the book was the following printed matter- all letterpress printed- which has found its way to the Personal Libraries Library Archive.

James Joyce's Ulysses is also in both the Calvino and Borges Collections. Both wrote extensively about this novel, at one point Borges wrote, "Perhaps, for the future, the only achievement of "modern" literature will be the unfathomable Ulysses, which in some way justifies, includes, and goes beyond the other texts." (Selected Non-Fictions, 312.) Possibly Borges found this book disconcerting.

Lastly, is this sweet edition of Thomas Carlyle's On Heroes, Hero Worship and the Heroic in History. Carlyle is particularly interesting to the PLL, as he opened the amazing London Library in London in the 1840s. The London Library remains the "largest independent membership library in the world." (Patience & Fortitude, Nicholas Basbanes, 207.) Finding Carlyle as a kindred spirit whose labors made the PLL possible, his mini-tome is quite special.

May Reading Room Update

The May Reading Room Hours were a success! New members joined, books were checked out and many members stopped by to see the collections. As a by-product of being located next to the King Neighborhood Farmers Market- the Library even had some non-members wander in.

The Reading Room will not be open during June & July so that the PLL Librarian can travel to Belgium and the Netherlands; where many trips to libraries there will occur! Please look forward to attending the Reading Room Hours in August.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The New Collections! Italo Calvino & Jorge Luis Borges

The PLL is happy to announce two new collections: Italo Calvino and Jorge Luis Borges! The first book of both libraries is Gustave Flaubert's Bouvard and Pecuchet (also found in the Robert Smithson Personal Library.) Both Calvino and Borges wrote about the novel about two scriveners searching for universal knowledge; an unattainable quest. Below are two pages from the novel and are part of the PLL First Book Postcard Series.

There are already overlapping books in Italo Calvino's and Robert Smithson's Personal Libraries, including Musil's The Man Without Qualities, James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake & Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. And, of course, the tangled knot continues with Jorge Luis Borges' Ficciones.

Also newly accessioned to the Calvino library is Life, A User's Manual by Georges Perec (a close friend of Calvino's), Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.

Members are invited to check out books from the Calvino & Borges Personal Libraries!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Italo Calvino Personal Library Collection

Ariosto, Ludovico, Orlando Furioso - IC 3.17 2010
Borges, Jorge Luis & Adolfo Bioy Casares, Extraordinary Tales - IC 3.30 2012
Borges, Jorge Luis, Ficciones - IC 3.2 2010
de Quincey, Thomas, Joan of Arc and The English Mail-Coach - IC 3.29 2011
Flaubert, Gustave, Bouvard and Pecuchet - IC 3.1 2010
Flaubert, Gustave, Madame Bovary - IC 3.15 2010
Gadda, Carlo Emilio, That Awful Mess on Via Merulana - IC 3.11 2010
Irving, Washington, Rip Van Winkle and Other Stories - IC 3.21 2010
Joyce, James, Finnegan's Wake - IC 3.3 2010
Joyce, James, Ulysses - IC 3.12 2010
Kundera, Milan, The Unbearable Lightness of Being - IC 3.7 2010
Leopardi, Giacomo, Pensieri - IC 3.33 2013
Lucretius, The Way Things Are (De Rerum Natura) - IC 3.32 2012
Mann, Thomas, The Magic Mountain - IC 3.16 2010
Musil, Robert, The Man Without Qualities - IC 3.4 2010
Perec, Georges, Les Choses: A Story of the Sixties - IC 3.19 2010
Perec, Georges, Life, A User's Manual - IC 3.5 2010
Poe, Edgar Allan, Selected Prose, Poetry and Eureka - IC 3.24 2011
Proust, Marcel, Remembrance of Things Past: The Captive & Cities of the Plain - IC 3.20 2010
Shakespeare, William, A Midsummer Night's Dream - IC 3.25 2011
Shakespeare, William, As You Like It - IC 3.27 2011
Sterne, Laurence, Tristam Shandy - IC 3.28 2011
Stevens, Wallace, Poems - IC 3.26 2011
Swift, Jonathan, Gulliver's Travels - IC 3.8 2010
Valery, Paul, Monsieur Teste - IC 3.22 2011
Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass - IC 3.13 2010
Whitman, Walt, Specimen Days - IC 3.10 2010

Barthes, Roland, Camera Lucida - IC 3.6 2010
Piattelli-Palmarini, Massimo, Language and Learning: The Debate between Jean Piaget and Noam Chomsky - IC 3.23 2011
Propp, Vladimir, Morphology of the Folktale - IC 3.18 2010
Valery, Paul, Variety, Second Series, including "The Position of Baudelaire" - IC 3.31 2012
Zellini, Paolo, A Brief History of Infinity - IC 3.34 2014******

Galilei, Galileo, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems - IC 3.9 2010
Hofstadter, Douglas, Godel, Escher, Bach - IC 3.14 2010

* indicates last book accessioned to the library

Jorge Luis Borges Personal Library Collection

Bennett, Arnold, Buried Alive: A Tale of These Days - JLB 4.35 2012
Blake, William, The Complete Poetry - JLB 4.24 2011
Burton, Sir Richard, The Book of the Thousand and One Nights - JLB 4.28 2011
Cortazar, Julio, A Change of Light and Other Stories - JLB 4.6 2010
Defoe, Daniel, Moll Flanders - JLB 4.25 2011
Flaubert, Gustave, Bouvard and Pecuchet - JLB 4.1 2010
Flaubert, Gustave, Madame Bovary - JLB 4.11 2010
Flaubert, Gustave, The Temptation of St. Anthony - JLB 4.22 2011
Garnett, David, A Man in the Zoo - JLB 4.27 2011
Gide, Andre, The Counterfeiters - JLB 4.7 2010
Graves, Robert, The Greek Myths, Vol I - JLB 4.39 2014
Graves, Robert, The Greek Myths, Vol II - JLB 4.40 2014*****
Ibsen, Henrik, Hedda Gabler - JLB 4.16 2010
Ibsen, Henrik, Peer Gynt - JLB 4.37 2012
Kafka, Franz, Amerika - JLB 4.10 2010
Joyce, James, Ulysses - JLB 4.3 2010
Melville, Herman, Four Short Novels: Benito Cereno, Billy Budd, Bartleby the Scrivener, The Encantadas - JLB 4.29 2011
Meyrink, Gustav, The Golem - JLB 4.34 2012
O'Brien, Flann, At Swim-Two Birds - JLB 4.14 2010
O'Neill, Eugene, Strange Interlude - JLB 4.23 2011
Phillpotts, Eden, The Red Redmaynes - JLB 4.33 2012
Poe, Edgar Allan, The Complete Tales & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe - JLB 4.38 2012
Stevenson, Robert Louis, New Arabian Nights - JLB 4.36 2012
Sturlisson, Snorri, Egils Saga - JLB 4.2 2010
Swift, Jonathan, Gulliver's Travels - JLB 4.9 2010
Walpole, Hugh, Above the Dark Circus - JLB 4.31 2011
Wells, H.G., The Invisible Man & The War of the Worlds - JLB 4.17 2010
Wells, H.G., The Time Machine - JLB 4.13 2010
Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass - JLB 4.5 2010
Wilde, Oscar, The Works of Oscar Wilde - JLB 4.19 2010

Carlyle, Thomas, On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History - JLB 4.4 2010
Gibbon, Edward, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Volume 2) - JLB 4.15 2010
Polo, Marco, The Travels of Marco Polo - JLB 4.8 2010
Veblen, Thorstein, The Theory of the Leisure Class - JLB 4.20 2010

Dunne, J.W., An Experiment with Time - JLB 4.18 2010
Kasner, Edward & James Newman, Mathematics and the Imagination - JLB 4.32 2011

Kierkegaard, Soren, Fear and Trembling - JLB 4.30 2011

Aldous Huxley, Intro, The Bhagavad-Gita - JLB 4.12 2010
James, William, The Varieties of Religious Experience - JLB 4.21 2011

Cocteau, Jean, Professional Secrets: An Autobiography of Jean Cocteau - JLB 4.26 2011

Italo Calvino Personal Library Wish List

This ongoing list has been gleaned from Calvino's books Six Memos for the Next Millenium and The Uses of Literature. The vestiges of Six Memos can be seen in a sorting of books into Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility & Multiplicity (these make up five of the six "memos," the sixth (Consistency) was never completed.) Other forms of categorization are to follow.

Decameron by Boccaccio
Don Quixote by Cervantes
Inferno by Dante Alighieri
Voyage Dans la Lune by Cyrano de Bergerac
Baron von Munchausen, illustrations by Gustave Dore
Epicurius by Galileo Galilei
Thousand and One Nights, translated by Antoine Galland
Beast in the Jungle by Henry James
The Knight of the Bucket by Franz Kafka
Saturn and Melancholy by Raymond Klibansky, Erwin Panofsky & Fritz Saxl
History of Astronomy by Giacomo Leopardi
Ars Magna by Raymond Lully
Little Testament by Montale, translated by Jonathan Galassi
Metamorphoses by Ovid
Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare

Un Vieille Maitresse by Barbey d'Aurevilly (Pleiade Edition)
The Vision of Sudden Death by Thomas De Quincey
The Tester by Galileo Galilei
Essays and Dialogues by Giacomo Leopardi
Plume by Henri Michaux
German Medieval Traditions by Gaston Paris
Lettere Famigliari by Petrarch
Prose Poems by Francis Ponge
Histoire de Notre Image by Andre Virel (published 1965)

Codex Atlanticus by Leonardo
Song of the Great Wild Rooster by Giacomo Leopardi
L’anguilla by Eugenio Montale
The Purpose of Things by Francis Ponge

The Unknown Masterpiece & The Human Comedy by Balzac
Purgatory by Dante Alighieri
Spiritual Exercises by Ignatius of Loyola
The Empire of the Imaginary by Jean Starobinski (in La Relation Critique, 1970)

The Legibility of the World by Hans Blumenberg (published 1981)
Acquainted with Grief by Carlo Emilio Gadda
Kosmos by Humboldt
Absolute Love by Alfred Jarry (1899)
Deliberate Disharmony by Gian Carlo Roscioni
ADDENDUM: following are authors that Calvino mentions in Six Memos, without specifying a text. The PLL is researching the exact texts that Calvino read and had in his Personal Library.

Raymond Queneau, Giodarno Bruno, Wittgenstein, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Fernando Pessoa, Mallarme, Hoffmansthal, Baudelaire, Gottfried Benn, Massimo Bontempelli,
Ramon Gomez de la Serna, William Carlos Williams, Michel Leiris, Paul Valery, T. S. Eliot, Mikhail Bakhtin, Plato, Rabelais, Dostoevsky, Spinoza, Leibniz, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Henry James, Leskov, Stevenson, Kipling, Wells, Hawthorne, Poe, Dickens, Turgenev, Potocki, Gogol, Nerval, Gautier, Hoffman, Chamisso, Arnim, Eichendorff

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jorge Luis Borges Personal Library Wish List

The following list has been compiled from multiple sources, most importantly Jorge Luis Borges: Selected Non-Fictions, edited by Eliot Weinberger (Penguin Books: 1999). In this important tome can be found numerous essays and lectures by Borges- it is through culling these texts that the library has begun to compile a Jorge Luis Borges Personal Library Collection. This collection endeavors to recreate the books that Borges read and wrote about, books that at one time were a part of his personal library. The initial source for his books in the PLL collection comes from his list "A Personal Library," the prologue of which states:

Over time, one's memory forms a disparate library, made of books or pages whose reading was a pleasure and which one would like to share. (Selected Non-Fictions, 513)

Following is his list of 100 texts for "A Personal Library;" also present are texts gleaned from other essays including "Joyce's Ulysses," "A Defense of Bouvard & Pecuchet," and "German Literature in the Age of Bach."

Fantastic Stories by Juan Jose Arreola
Vathek by William Beckford
The Desert of the Tartars by Dino Buzzati
The Blue Cross and Other Stories by G.K. Chesterton
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
The End of the Tether by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Hour of All by Fransisco de Quevedo
Marcus Brutus by Fransisco de Quevedo
The Last Days of Emmanuel Kant and Other Stories by Thomas De Quincey
Demons by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Mandarin by J.M. Eca de Queiroz
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Poetical Works by Ezequiel Martinez Estrada
Lady into Fox by David Garnett
The Sailor’s Return by David Garnett
The Bead Game by Herman Hesse
The Figure in the Carpet by Henry James
The Lesson of the Master by Henry James 
The Private Life by Henry James
Short Stories by Franz Kafka 
Tales by Rudyard Kipling 
The Idols by Manuel Mujica Lainez
The Three Imposters by Arthur Machen 
The Intelligence of Flowers by Maurice Maeterlink
A Barbarian in Asia by Henri Michaux
Tales of Ise by Ariwara no Narihara
The Great God Brown by Eugene O'Neill 
Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O'Neill 
The Blind Pilot by Giovanni Papini
The Tragic Everyday by Giovanni Papini
Words and Blood by Giovanni Papini
The Book of Good Love by Juan Ruiz
Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo 
Imaginary Lives by Marcel Schwab
Caesar and Cleopatra by George Bernard Shaw
Candide by George Bernard Shaw
Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw
Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Aeneid by Virgil
Stories by Voltaire
Essays and Dialogues by Oscar Wilde

On the Nature of Animals by Claudius Elianus
The Problem of Time by J. Alexander Gunn

The Apocryphal Gospels
The Book of the Dead, E.A. Wallis Budge (Routledge, 1960)
An Explanation of the Book of Job by Fray Luis de Leon
The Song of Songs by Fray Luis de Leon
The Study of Human Nature by William James
The Jesuit Empire by Leopoldo Lugones

The Blood of the Poor by Leon Bloy
In the Darkness by Leon Bloy
Salvation for the Jews by Leon Bloy
Prologue to the Work of Silverio Lanza by R. Gomez de la Serna
Literary Criticism by Paul Groussac
The Nine Books of History by Herodotus
An Essay on Orlando Furioso by Atilio Momigliano

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972" & "The New Novel from Queneau to Pinget"

Two new and exciting books have been accessioned into the Robert Smithson Personal Library this week: Lucy Lippard's Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972 and Vivian Mercier's The New Novel from Queneau to Pinget.

Lippard's riveting book actually has a much longer title:

Six Years: The dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972: a cross-reference book of information on some esthetic boundaries: consisting of a bibliography into which are inserted a fragmented text, art works, documents, interviews, and symposia, arranged chronologically and focused on so-called conceptual or information or idea art with mentions of such vaguely designated areas as minimal, anti-form, systems, earth, or process art, occurring now in the Americas, Europe, England, Australia, and Asia (with occasional political overtones), edited and annotated by Lucy R. Lippard.

Not to be outdone, the sub-title (of sorts) of Mercier's book is as follows:

A brilliant critical examination of the works of the leading creators of le nouveau roman: Raymond Queneau, Nathalie Sarraute, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Michel Butor, Claude Simon, Claude Mauriac, and Robert Pinget

Thursday, April 22, 2010

From Leopardi to Mallarme

New books to the Robert Smithson Personal Library Collection include Leopardi: Poems and Prose, Robert Musil's The Man Without Qualities, Mallarme, and T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land: Facsimile and Transcript.

Please contact the Library if you want to join or check out a book at personallibraries{at}gmail{dot}com.

Friday, April 2, 2010

"Endgame", "The I Ching" & Other New Acquisitions for Smithson Collection

New members and a trip to a Ventura, California used bookstore has led to the acquisition of new books from the Robert Smithson Personal Library. They include Jorge Luis Borges' Other Inquisitions 1937-1952, Samuel Beckett's Endgame (including Act Without Words: A Mime For One Player, which reads like a Yoko Ono Instruction Piece) and The I Ching, translated by Wilhelm & Baynes with a foreword by C. G. Jung.

Also acquired is the interesting Man's Discovery of His Past: Literary Landmarks in Archaeology, edited by Robert F. Heizer (seen above) and Alice Ford's Audubon's Butterflies, Moths, and Other Studies.

Ford's book on Audubon is a beautifully letterpressed book that gives a history of Audubon and his field sketches. It also contains many plates of Audubon's images, including many insects and beetles that are an important part of his work; yet are generally overlooked.

Lastly, a small volume of The Megalith Builders of Europe by Glyn Daniel rounds out the newest bunch of books accessioned by the PLL. Daniel's book discusses the Pre-Historic megalithic tombs and temples of Europe, detailing their builders, structure, use and prevalence. One can see how these graves and hunebeds of piled stone would interest Smithson, as well as their entropic changes throughout time.

Please contact the Library at personallibraries{at}gmail{dot}com to join & check out books!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Reading Room & New Acquisitions: March 2010

The PLL has acquired four new books for the Robert Smithson Personal Library Collection. Pictured above, they include: Mircea Eliade's Cosmos and History, Harry Levin's James Joyce, Making Friends with the Stars by Arthur J. Zadde and Frank Edwards' Flying Saucers- Serious Business. And so you know just how serious the business is, exclamations abound on the cover:

The Personal Libraries Library Reading Room was open for the first time today (March 7), an exciting moment here at the Library.

The Reading Room Hours allowed for members to browse the books, talk with the Librarian and other members, and discuss the possibilities for the next collection. Reading Room Hours will occur monthly, stay tuned for April's Hours!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Printed Matter from the Personal Libraries Library Press

The Personal Libraries Library Press has completed a large round of printed matter that has been dispersed to its current members. Pictured above is the extent of the goodies, all of which were included in the Catalogue Member packets: the wishlist, Maria Mitchell poster, Mitchell letterpressed print & card.

The Pocket Wishlist includes books in both Maria Mitchell and Robert Smithson's personal libraries that are coveted at the Library. The Wishlist can fit in wallets & pockets, it unfolds to reveal the wanted books. The Library hopes you will refer to it when in your favorite used book store!

A limited-edition set of letterpress prints were made that help elucidate (or vice versa) the Maria Mitchell poster/legend. One print out of the set of 9 was placed in its own folder for Catalogue Members. One of the prints can be seen below:

And finally, the letterpress card displays a section of the poster, describing the links between Frances Power Cobbe, her intriguingly titled book, Maria Mitchell, a bust of Mary Somerville and the Vassar College Historian.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Personal Libraries Library Reference Library

The PLL is pleased to announce the formation of a reference section. Following are books that are great sources about those whose libraries are being collected. These books are available during Reading Room Hours only, and not for check out.

Maria Mitchell and the Sexing of Science by Renee Bergland - Ref MM 1.1

Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings edited by Jack Flam - Ref RS 2.1
Robert Smithson organized by Eugenie Tsai with Cornelia Butler - Ref RS 2.2

ITALO CALVINO (more to be added)
Six Memos for the Next Millennium by Italo Calvino - Ref IC 3.1
The Uses of Literature by Italo Calvino - Ref IC 3.2

JORGE LUIS BORGES (more to be added)
Jorge Luis Borges: Selected Non-Fictions edited by Eliot Weinberger - Ref JLB 4.1

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Books, Books, Books! Science, Science, Science!

The Personal Libraries Library has recently acquired many books from the Robert Smithson Personal Library that are focused on science. One line of inquiry in Smithson's artwork was the transformation, entropy and detritus of geological elements. The images above and below are from Geology: Our Changing Earth through the Ages by Jerome Wyckoff.

"Cross section of a volcanic region shows how igneous activity in the crust produces various landscape forms- volcano, lava flows, dikes and sills, laccoliths, geysers and hot springs, and fumaroles." (Golden Press, 1967: 43)

The Library now has a set of books on rocks, minerals and crystals. They include: Crystals and Crystal Growing by Alan Holden & Phylis Singer, Field Book of Common Rocks and Minerals by Frederic Brewster Loomis, and Crystals, Diamonds, and Transistors by L.W. Marrison.

Two additional new books are Harry Asher's Experiments in Seeing and Flaubert's Bibliomania, a short tale about a man obsessed with books:

He saved all his money, all his goods, all his emotions for books. He had been a monk and for books he had abandoned God. Later he sacrificed for them that which men hold dearest after their God: money. Then he gave to books that which people treasure next to money: his soul. (The Rodale Press, 1954: 15)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Recent Library Acquisitions and Maria Mitchell's Observatory

The past month has been busy here at the Library. Multiple new members (welcome!) have lead to many new books! They include the beauties pictured above and below from the Robert Smithson Personal Library. They span from literary criticism such as Bernard Benstock's Joyce-Again's Wake to the metaphysical study in Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner, as well as Victor Von Hagen's The Aztec: Man and Tribe. Some of these books were also donated by a private donor from her own personal library. The Library thanks you!

Other acquisitions include Richard Burgin's Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges and Flaubert's Dictionary of Accepted Ideas. In Flaubert's amazing, satirical Dictionary, you can find the following (New Directions, 1954: 16):

ASTRONOMY. Delightful science. Of use only to sailors. In speaking of it, make fun of astrology.
ATHEISTS. 'A nation of atheists cannot survive.'
AUTHORS. One should 'know a few,' never mind their names.

Flaubert's seamless segue from Borges to Mitchell leads me to recount my pilgrimage, of sorts, to the Maria Mitchell Observatory at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The first building of Vassar, Mitchell lived and taught in the Observatory for many years. In fact, she slept in a cot in the classroom itself! The Observatory still stands, yet now contains multiple offices and a library resides in the observatory dome. The PLL finds this a particularly poetic library location due to Mitchell being a librarian herself.

New acquisitions to the Mitchell Library include Madame de Stael's Corinne and Margaret Fuller's Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Both are 19th century feminist texts that point to Mitchell's suffragist roots.