ILAB Library - All You Need To Know About Rare Books and the Antiquarian Book Trade
Published since 25 Mar 2013
Sometimes, as a bookseller, you come across something which you really can’t quite believe exists, and something that you will probably never see again. This collecting tip by Simon Beattie is better than any steak and kidney pie.
Published since 12 Feb 2013
‘Until the 1950’s, Jack London was by far the most popular American author in Soviet Russia. Over thirteen million copies of his works have been printed since the Revolution. Even today [i.e. 1962] he continues as a popular classic, and it is probable that over the Soviet period as a whole he has been read more widely than any other non-Russian author.
Published since 23 Jan 2013
The novel that never was: Meyern’s book is a Bundesroman, a popular genre of novel in late eighteenth-century German literature which featured secret societies. As for The Ruins on the Mountain-Lake, it never existed at all, except in Meyern’s mind.
Published since 07 Nov 2012
Simon Beattie recommends a copy of the first separate edition in any language of Oscar Wilde’s unfinished play, A Florentine Tragedy, translated into Russian from a copy of Wilde’s manuscript and published in Moscow by Skorpion in 1907.
Published since 29 Jun 2012
Today is the 300th birthday of the great philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, so I thought I’d post this book from 1792, ‘On Rousseau’s connections with women’, by Carl Gotthold Lenz (1763–1809), described by one bibliography as ‘a rarity of the very first order’ (which it is).
Published since 23 Apr 2012
Sheikh Mansur was a Chechen resistance fighter who waged a six-year campaign against Catherine the Great’s forces before his capture in 1791, calling upon fellow Muslims to join him in jihad. ‘He was the first to preach and lead … the Holy War against the infidel Russians in the Caucasus … Dropped, as it were, from the clouds full grown, a warrior, preacher and prophet and, in spite of [his] many failures … he drew after him now one, now another, of the the fierce tribes of the mountain and the forest … He it was who first taught them that in religious reform lay the one chance of preserving their cherished liberty and independence’ (Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, p. 47).
Published since 29 Feb 2012
This is an underground Russian samizdat translation of Nik Cohn’s classic history of pop music - first published in 1969 as Pop from the Beginning (in America as Rock from the Beginning), and then under the title Awopbopaloobop alopbamboom - produced on a typewriter with manuscript additions for any English words and names and then mimeographed. Although the title here reads ‘London 1969’, the source text must have been the American edition given the title and as the sequence of chapters and their headings also follow that version.
Published since 15 Dec 2011
1927 saw two Russian translations of The Color of a Great City (1923), Dreiser’s classic memoir of early twentieth-century New York: this one (Gosizdat’s), by Pyotr Okhrimenko, and one for “Mysl’” (Kraski N’iu-Iorka) by V. P. Steletsky. What was particularly nice about this copy was that it still had its original dust-jacket.
Published since 19 Oct 2011
The Books You Never Knew You Wanted - Simon Beattie has revived his blog which talks about some of the more curious and interesting books he came across. The latest post is about a French saboteur's manual, disguised as a dictionary. It's a French camouflaged-book, a "Tarnschrift".