Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Shelf In My Bookcase

When I said Farewell to Bibliomania and to the Florida Bibliophile Society last January, I did not say farewell to book collecting. In fact, I completed one of my book collections just before I left Florida.

My bibliophile friends are probably tired of hearing me rave about Alexander Smith's "Dreamthorp: Essays Written In The Country." Of all of Smith's essays, A Shelf In My Bookcase is the essay I liked the best. I liked it so much that I decided to replicate Smith's shelf in my library.

I already had a copy of Boswell's "Life of Johnson," and quickly acquired copies of "Lyra Germainica," Hawthorne's "Twice-Told Tales," and Professor Aytoun's "Ballads of Scotland;" however, "The Poems of Ebenezer Elliott," the Corn-Law Rhymer eluded me for several years. As luck would have it, I sniped an inexpensive copy of Elliott's poems on ebay, which I received only the day before I left for Hawaii.

All of these books, and more, sit on a shelf in my library originally intended to hold book chotskys. This bookshelf, extending from wall to wall above the closet in my library, contains a few small but choice collections of books, "Smith's Shelf...", being one of them.

I have expanded "Smith's Shelf," to include "The Poems of Alexander Smith," two copies of Smith's "Dreamthorp," and a copy of Smith's "A Shelf In My Bookcase," which Luther Brewer's Torch Press published in a limited edition in 1905. I will have more on Luther Brewer and the Torch Press in my next post.

Jerry Morris


Richard said...

I've just finished reading Dreamthorpe and I was very impressed too - I was searching for some information on the author when I came across your blog. What appealed was the intelligence of the observations and the clarity of their expression--unusual in Victorian times. Also his aesthtic of the fragment--normal in personal essays I know, but I couldn't help admiring the line of wandering thoughts at the end of several essays.

Unknown said...

Hello, I realize this blog is almost 7 years old, but it popped up in a search for the Torch Press book "A Shelf in My Bookcase" by Alexander Smith. I am amazed that you have a copy of Smith's book, considering it was one of the first books printed at the Torch Press, and only 15 copies were produced. I recently visited the Cedar Rapids History Center, and in a box of things related to Luther Brewer, I found an envelope with a copy of "A Shelf in My Bookcase" that was signed by Luther Brewer. I thought for sure I wouldn't hear of another copy. I'm interested in Brewer and the Torch Press because my wife and I have purchased the Brewer House in Cedar Rapids and are in the process of moving it and restoring it.