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ILAB Library - All You Need To Know About Rare Books and the Antiquarian Book Trade

  • [+] More Collecting - Postwar Germany in the Works of W.G. Sebald 

    Collecting - Postwar Germany in the Works of W.G. Sebald
    Published since 16 Aug 2016

    Whose role is it to write postwar German fiction? Since World War II ended, numerous writers of great acclaim have come out of West Germany and the GDR, and later from reunified Germany. For instance, you might be familiar with the works of the West German novelists Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass, or with the GDR literature of Christa Wolf. While many writers of the immediate postwar period returned to the rise of Nazi Germany and its aftermath in their works, W.G. Sebald is a bit of an interesting case.

  • [+] More Collecting - Ten Facts About Caldecott Winner, James Thurber 

    Collecting - Ten Facts About Caldecott Winner, James Thurber
    Published since 09 Aug 2016

    James Thurber was a short story writer, cartoonist, and humorist. Much of his work was published in The New Yorker, where he began working as an editor in 1927. His most famous short story is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, recently adapted to film. Combining his talents for writing and illustration, Thurber had a successful career writing children's books, and won the Caldecott Medal for the book Many Moons. Below, read ten facts about Thurber's fascinating life and career.

  • [+] More ‘I never have any luck with my books’ – Collecting the works of Friedo Lampe 

    ‘I never have any luck with my books’ – Collecting the works of Friedo Lampe
    Published since 27 Jul 2016

    Lampe was born on 4 December 1899, in the northern city of Bremen, a place which would exert a particular influence on his writing.  At the age of five, he was diagnosed with bone tuberculosis in his left ankle and was sent to a children’s clinic over 100 miles away, on the East Frisian island of Nordeney; he spent a total of three years there, away from his family, before being pronounced cured, but it left him disabled for the rest of his life.  As a teenager, Lampe was a voracious reader (E.T.A. Hoffmann, Kleist, Büchner, Rilke, Thomas Mann, Kafka, Boccaccio, Cervantes, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe) and an insatiable book buyer: ‘It really is an illness with me.  I just have to buy every book, even if I don’t have the money.’

  • [+] More Collecting - The Life of the Great Creator of Sherlock Holmes 

    Collecting - The Life of the Great Creator of Sherlock Holmes
    Published since 26 Jul 2016

    On the 7th of July, 1930, Arthur Conan Doyle died at age 71 from a heart attack. On this the 86th anniversary of his death, we’d like to look at this famous author, spiritualist & physician and his lifetime contribution to so many different fields! Conan Doyle (as he is often called, though Conan Doyle is a combination of his middle and last names, as Conan is not a surname, as people often think!) was not born under auspicious circumstances. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, was an alcoholic and when Arthur was only 5 years old he and his siblings were dispersed to live with family and friends across Edinburgh. A few years later the family moved back together and for numerous years lived in near-poverty. Luckily, Doyle had wealthy family to support him and to send him to Jesuit boarding school in England for seven years beginning when he was nine years old. Despite a difficult home life and upbringing, Doyle apparently struggled leaving home for school – as he was incredibly close with his mother (and would remain so throughout his life) and cherished the stories she would tell him during his childhood. It is even said that his favorite part of school was writing letters home to his mother, and telling stories to his schoolmates that she had once told him!

  • [+] More Collecting - The Russian taste for Edgar Allan Poe 

    Collecting - The Russian taste for Edgar Allan Poe
    Published since 14 Jun 2016

    ‘”Edgar Poe - the underground stream in Russia.”  So the Russian Symbolist poet Aleksandr Blok noted in his journal for November 6, 1911, a topic for a future critical study.  The article was never written, but the prospect has remained an enticing one.  For Poe’s fame, however clouded by conflicting interpretation, is of long standing in Russia’ (Joan Delaney Grossman, Edgar Allan Poe in Russia: a study in legend and literary influence, p. 7).

  • [+] More Collecting – Arthur Conan Doyle: Social Justice Warrior 

    Collecting – Arthur Conan Doyle: Social Justice Warrior
    Published since 07 Mar 2016

    Arthur Conan Doyle was hardly a meek man, nor one prone to seeking diplomatic solutions when dramatic alternatives were available. When he attempted to enlist in the military forces he wrote that “I am fifty-five but I am very strong and hardy, and can make my voice audible at great distances, which is useful at drill.” This audible voice proved to be very significant for two individuals in particular; George Edalji and Oscar Slater. My interest in these two men was sparked by our recent celebration of “Arthur Conan Doyle Week” at the end of May in honour of his birthday. Fortunately or otherwise, the Olympia bookfair has prevented me from typing up some of the more fascinating aspects of Doyle’s life that I discovered during that week.

  • [+] More Legendary Author Harper Lee Dies at Age 89 

    Legendary Author Harper Lee Dies at Age 89
    Published since 22 Feb 2016

    Legendary author Harper Lee passed away on 19 February 2016 at the age of 89. She leaves behind a legacy that has reverberated through the international literary community since the publication of her landmark novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, in 1960. The novel was an instant sensation worldwide and earned Lee a number of prestigious accolades, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961.

  • [+] More Collecting - Eugene Ionesco 

    Collecting - Eugene Ionesco
    Published since 29 Jan 2016

    The Romanian-French playwright Eugene Ionesco was one of the leading absurdist writers of the 20th century. Among his best known plays are The Bald Soprano (1950), The Lesson (1951), The Chairs (1952), Jack or The Submission (1955), The Killer (1958), Rhinoceros (1959), Exit the King (1962), A Stroll in the Air (1963), and Macbett (1972).

  • [+] More Collecting - Creative Expression, Controversy, and Classic French Literature 

    Collecting - Creative Expression, Controversy, and Classic French Literature
    Published since 22 Jan 2016

    Many of the minds and pens of those who have shaped society, discourse, and art hail from France, the birthplace of diplomacy. However, as Molière, born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, and many of his kind discovered, those who take readers outside the status quo with their expression may find themselves paying pipers of all kinds. We celebrate Molière this week, the week of his birth, and observe his contribution and the company he kept in the spirit and tradition of French creativity.

  • [+] More Collecting - Kipling in Russia 

    Collecting - Kipling in Russia
    Published since 20 Jan 2016

    So much has been written about Kipling, and his books, but there is very little published about his popularity in Russia, which began in the 1890s and continued well into the Soviet era. As far as I can work out, his first appearance in Russian is a translation, by M. Korsh, of The Naulahka, issued at the end of the October 1892 number of Vsemirnaia biblioteka (‘The World Library’, a monthly which published serial translations of foreign literature, presumably for readers to then break up and bind as individual novels).  It’s only 35 pages, and although the final page reads ‘to be continued’, no more of the novel was in fact published at the time.  A full Russian translation, published by Pyotr Soikin, appeared in 1896.  The Naulahka, a Story of West and East was serialised in the Century Magazinefrom November 1891 to July 1892.  It was written together with Wolcott Balestier (the only time Kipling ever collaborated), but the young American died of typhoid fever in December 1891 and Kipling was left to revise the book edition alone (1892).