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Women Writing War Literature

By Audrey Golden. Oct 26, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, World War II

Which novels and works of poetry might fall into the broad category of war literature? Should we look only to fiction that depicts combat and its aftermath? Or is this category of literature sufficiently wide-ranging that it can also comprise texts written during and about wartime more generally? Regardless of how you answer these questions, you might realize that the novels and short-story collections commonly classified as literature about war have one thing in common: they’re often written by male writers. Yet not all works of this genre—not by a long shot—are written by male writers. Why has this been a category so dominated by men when many women are in fact writing novels, short stories, poetry collections, and dramatic works that could and should be discussed as important texts of war literature?


Primacy and Rare Book Collecting: The Value of Being First

As the old saying goes: ‘It pays to be first.’

In the world of rare book collecting, this is also a well-known fact. First editions. First printing. First drafts of manuscripts. These are usually the kinds of 'firsts' book collectors are on the look-out for when evaluating a book’s worth and value, and it’s these elements that factor largely into how much rare books fetch at auction and how sought-after they become.

However, the concept of primacy, or being recognized as the first incarnation of something within the literary canon, goes well beyond the simple notion of first editions or first printings. First mentions of a character, a setting, a theory, an idea, or even the first location where a book was printed all factor into the primacy of a book and are important elements book collectors and evaluators must weigh when determining a book’s worth and value.


Index of Influence: Archiving Pablo Neruda’s Poetry and Politics

By Audrey Golden. Oct 24, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry

This December will mark the 45th anniversary of Pablo Neruda’s acceptance of the Nobel Prize in Literature. To honor the poet’s global reach through his leftist politics, an exhibition of Neruda works and objects from 40 different countries will be on display in the Sinclair Galleries at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At a moment in which individual involvement in global politics appears both necessary and impossible, Neruda’s works remind us of the power of language to resist tyranny and oppression, and to imagine a world in which human equality and dignity thrive. The exhibit is entitled, Index of Influence: Archiving Pablo Neruda’s Poetry and Politics.


The Varied Works of Doris Lessing

By Adrienne Rivera. Oct 22, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

Doris Lessing is widely considered to be one of Britain's most notable writers. She penned over fifty books of varying genres, including novels, short story collections, books of poetry, a comic, plays, and even a short series of books on cats. Throughout her impressive and long career, Lessing earned the W.H. Gibson Literary Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the David Cohen Prize, the S.T. Dupont Golden PEN Award, among others. In 2007 she became the eleventh woman and the oldest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. She declined damehood in 1992 but accepted appointment as a Companion of Honor in 1999.


VLOG: Six Videos on the Art of Woodcut Printing

By Matt Reimann. Oct 21, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Making

Let’s face it: no matter how much we love reading, everyone likes to look at a good picture. Printers and publishers have long known this, and have struggled for suitable ways to include images alongside set type. The key was to make the illustration copyable, and for that function, bookmakers depended on engravings. And for centuries, woodcuts were king. Today, we’re bombarded with printed images on magazines, billboards, and elsewhere, but unfortunately, none bear the aura of intimate craftsmanship like engravings do.


Buying Rare and Antiquarian Books in Mexico City

By Audrey Golden. Oct 20, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Literary travel, Spanish Literature

Before traveling to Mexico City, we thought Buenos Aires had more used and antiquarian bookstores than anywhere else in the world. While that might still feel true while walking the streets of the Argentinian capital city—it seems like there’s a used bookstore on just about every corner—we were nearly just as giddy to discover the sheer number of shops in this capital city.

Similar to in Buenos Aires, there’s a map of bookstores selling old and rare books that covers four major regions of the city (“Mapa de librerías de Viejo de la Ciudad de México”). It’s published by the Social Sciences and Humanities division of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. Like any rare or antiquarian book collectors, discovering such a map was enough to make our day (and indeed, the remainder of our time in Mexico City). With a total of 62 bookstores to visit—and that’s just the list of shops mentioned on the map—we recommend planning at least a few days for book shopping in this Latin American city warmly referred to by its residents simply as CDMX.


Visiting the Nadine Gordimer Papers at the Lilly Library

Are you interested in doing more than just reading the works of Nadine Gordimer? If you’re ever visiting Bloomington, Indiana, you might consider scheduling a visit at the Lilly Library to explore the materials contained in The Nadine Gordimer Papers. As most lovers of Gordimer’s fiction and South African literature in general know, the Nobel Prize-winning author was born in Springs, South Africa to Jewish immigrant parents in 1923. She wrote fiction for much of her life, with her first short story published in the Children’s Sunday Express when she was 15 years old. The New Yorker published one of her short stories for the first time in 1951, introducing world readers to Gordimer’s work. Now, researchers at the Lilly Library at Indiana University can have access to Gordimer’s correspondence, lectures, speeches, notes, and drafts from 1934 to 2001.


An Introduction to The Golden Cockerel Press

By Leah Dobrinska. Oct 18, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press

Our love affair with fine press is no secret. And we’re in good company. Countless collectors and bibliophiles have discovered the art of fine press printing and savor the chance to compile libraries filled with these creative masterpieces. (If you’re new to fine press and would like to know more, start here!) The history of fine press is an interesting one, and we often focus on currently functioning fine presses. For example, we recently spotlighted a modern fine press printer, Two Ponds Press, which touts works like The Brownsville Boys and a Margaret Wise Brown original. Today, we’d like to look to a fine press publisher who thrived during the early part of the 20th century: The Golden Cockerel Press. Read on for interesting information about the history of this great press, some notable publications, and some necessary collector’s points.


The Playful Madness of Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum

By Matt Reimann. Oct 15, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Umberto Eco

On February 19 of this year, world literature lost one of its most wise and respected members: Umberto Eco. A recent passing, one wonders if his reputation will go the way of many “greats” with penchants for humor and madness. Canonical reverence, as it does with Moby Dick, Ulysses, and others, often obscures the joyous play and zaniness of the object it praises. Eco, a literary trickster if there ever was one, would be disheartened to see his memory so distorted.


The Ten Best Moments From Winnie-The-Pooh

By Connie Diamond. Oct 14, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books

There is, written in the annals of fictional history, an account of a “bear with very little brain.” He resides in The Hundred Acre Wood. This wood can be difficult to find, but once you discover it, it is clearly mapped. One can mark the very spots where some of the sweetest moments between a honey of a bear and his rag-tag team of friends take place. This is one reader's list of the top ten moments from Winnie-the-Pooh.



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How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

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