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The Spookiest Ghosts of World Literature

By Carrie Scott. Oct 31, 2013. 11:54 AM.

Topics: Horror, Literature, Book News

Halloween often ranks as people's favorite holiday--after all, who can resist costumes and candy corns? Many of us love the holiday for much spookier reasons; we love those ghosts, goblins, and ghouls. Ghosts have haunted the pages of many a book, including those of some of the best works of world literature. We’ll list ten, beginning with the creepiest, ghouls in BOOOOks!  See?  You've already had your first scare and we haven't even started the ghostly countdown.  Hold on tight--you're about to take a trip through a haunted house full of ghastly literary characters.

     
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John Keats: A Promising Career Cut Short

By Anne Cullison. Oct 31, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Poetry

Today we celebrate the life of the English poet John Keats. Keats was born on October 31, 1795 in London, England and died a very short 25 years later in Rome, Italy of tuberculosis. With such a short life, most would assume that he could not have produced much, if anything, of worth. Yet Keats is perhaps one of the most well known of the English Romantic Poets. Through his poetry he sought the perfection of poetry filled with vivid imagery that expressed philosophy through classic, often Greek, legend.

     
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The Scandal Haunting 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'

By Andrea Koczela. Oct 30, 2013. 11:30 AM.

Topics: Horror, Legendary Authors, Literature

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is one of literature’s most renowned mysteries; Sherlock Holmes is on the case after a ghostly hound stalks, and perhaps kills, Sir Charles Baskerville. Written in 1901, it is now part of school curriculums and popularized in film and television. Yet despite cultural familiarity with the novel, the allegations of adultery, plagiarism, and murder that haunt its creation remain largely unknown.

     
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Ezra Pound: A Poet of the Lost Generation

By Kristin Wood. Oct 30, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Poetry

When Modernist ideals and styles began to flourish among English and American poets during the 1910s and 1920s, Ezra Pound was at the forefront of the movement. As an American expatriate to Europe, he has been credited with creating a bridge between the two continents that helped global poetic trends to shift and merge together. Critics also claim that Pound created the definitive examples of what a Modernist poem should look like.

     
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Six Famous Authors Who Were Also Ghostwriters

Halloween is the time for ghouls, goblins, witches, and...ghosts. In the art world, ghosts aren't merely the phantoms, banshees, and spooks of horror stories; there are also ghosts of the pen. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart would ghostwrite music for wealthy patrons, and plenty of famous authors have written works on behalf of others as well. 

     
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The Ghosts of Literary Collaboration

By Andrea Koczela. Oct 27, 2013. 11:01 PM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Poetry

Few writers exist in isolation. Instead, most benefit from some type of support, whether from an editor, mentor, or friend. As a work grows, each individual who touches it leaves an indelible mark. The line between author and collaborator begins clearly enough, but authorship can grow murky the longer the collaboration takes place. In Lyrical Ballads, Nostromo, and The Waste Land, multiple writers shaped the final product. Yet the work of those not included in the byline has largely faded to obscurity. Today we explore a few famous cases of (potential) ghostwriting from the world of literature.

     
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The Enduring Intrigue of Association Copies

By Kristin Masters. Oct 26, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

"We all have such personal associations with the books--inscribed or uninscribed--that we possess, and in this sense all copies of books are association copies." 

-Thomas Tansell, Other People's Books


Tansell's words ring true with many a bibliophile. But some association copies are more valuable than others, especially in the rare book world. Association copies, books that were owned by authors themselves, someone close to authors, or by an otherwise notable individual, fascinate us because they tell stories beyond the ones printed on their pages. 

     
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Celebrating Anne Tyler

By Anne Cullison. Oct 25, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature

Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Anne Tyler, author of The Accidental Tourist, was born in Minneapolis Minnesota on October 25th, 1941.  She grew up in rural North Carolina in a Quaker commune.  Tyler did not attend a traditional school until she was 11 years old, instead going to the tiny schoolhouse that the mountain children attended in the mornings and in the afternoons going to homes within the commune to learn from those within the community.

     
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Who Was the Real Frankenstein?

By Anne Cullison. Oct 24, 2013. 9:30 AM.

Topics: Horror, Legendary Authors, Book News

It's commonly known that “Frankenstein” was the creation of nineteen-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Goodwin (later, Shelley) in a contest to create the scariest ghost story as a guest at the Lord Byron’s Italian villa.  However, there may be significantly more to the story. There were four separate European scientists who may perhaps have played muse to Mary: Luigi Galvani, Giovanni Aldini, Andew Ure, and perhaps most influentially, Johann Konrad Dippel.

     
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A Brief History of Horror Literature

By Kristin Masters. Oct 24, 2013. 1:10 AM.

Topics: Horror, Legendary Authors, Book Collecting, Book History

Even the earliest recorded tales have elements of horror, fear, and despair, and the archetypes of horror have likely lasted much longer. The vampire archetype, for example, can be traced all the way back to the ancient civilization of Sumer; the vampire-like being Emikku would inhabit the bodies of people who had died violently or who were buried improperly. 

     
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Michael Crichton: A Story of Success, Science, and Imagination

By Kristin Wood. Oct 23, 2013. 9:30 AM.

Topics: Science Fiction

From modern-day dinosaurs to soapy hospital dramas, Michael Crichton is probably the creative mind behind at least one of your favorite guilty pleasures in novels, movies, or television shows. In 1994, he became the first writer to have his work land at number one in film, television, and book sales all at the same time. His most well-known creations – Jurassic Park and "ER" – reflect the frequent genres and themes he chose: action, science fiction, medicine, and biotechnology.

     
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and the winner is ... JAMES BOND!

By Joachim Koch. Oct 22, 2013. 2:00 PM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

The ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography, given every fourth year to the most outstanding scholarly book about books and worth $10,000, is one of the most prestigious prizes in the field of bibliography.

     
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The Real Dr. Jekyll, Deacon Brodie

By Lauren Corba. Oct 21, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

October is the month of goblins, ghosts, and ghouls. While these imaginary creatures are surely scary, another sort of monster has fascinated and frightened us since 1886. That year, Robert Louis Stevenson published Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeThe tale has gripped generations of readers because it reminds us that we all have monsters lurking within.

     
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Remembering Legendary Biographer James Boswell

By Dawn Morgan. Oct 19, 2013. 5:49 PM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Biographies

Despite James Boswell’s great efforts, he is really only known for two things: his outstanding biography of Samuel Johnson, and that he contracted various venereal diseases at least 17 times.

     
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Meet the Real Count Dracula

By Kristin Wood. Oct 18, 2013. 2:28 PM.

Topics: Horror, Fine Press

Few characters have captured our imagination like Bram Stoker's Dracula - the fearsome figure who makes frequent appearances around Halloween. However, Stoker's depiction of Dracula wasn't quite accurate, and neither are many interpretations of the character that we find today. 

     
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William Boyd Reinterprets James Bond's Legacy

By Kristin Masters. Oct 17, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond, Modern First Editions

Washington Post reviewer declared William Boyd's Solo the "boldest departure of the James Bond series." When Boyd took up the mantle of the James Bond legacy, he used the privilege to reinterpret the character of 007. 

     
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Celebrating Nobel Laureate Günter Grass

By Anne Cullison. Oct 16, 2013. 2:57 PM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

Today we celebrate the birth of a novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor, and Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass.  He was born on October 16, 1927, in the Free City of Danzig, now Gdansk, Poland. Grass used his “frolicsome black fables [to] portray the forgotten face of history,” as noted by the Swedish Academy when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.  

     
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Italo Calvino, Resistance Soldier and Author

By Andrea Koczela. Oct 15, 2013. 8:30 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book News

Born in Cuba on October 15, 1923, Italo Calvino became one of Italy’s most famous writers.  He was one of a family of scientists; his parents, Mario and Eva, were botanists and his brother, Floriano, became a geologist. When Calvino returned to Italy as a young boy, he faced considerable familial pressure to pursue a life of science.

     
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G-N-I-R-E-B-M-E-M-E-R ee cummings

By Andrea Koczela. Oct 14, 2013. 8:30 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Poetry

Few modern poets have been so beloved as Edward Estlin Cummings (ee cummings), whose linguistic innovation and disregard for grammatical conventions redefined our understanding of language. Yet Cummings was much more than a poet, writing novels, essays, and plays.      
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History of Children's Literature: Politics and Pinocchio

By Jennifer Michelle. Oct 13, 2013. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Umberto Eco, Children's Books

If necessity is the mother of invention and diligence the mother of good luck, then the father of Pinocchio was a benefactor of both. Carlo Collodi was a fiery Florentine political activist who wrote The Story of a Puppet begrudgingly as a magazine series. In its original form, La Storia di un Burattino (1881) is a fast-paced, real-world, often cruel tale of the peril and spite of young Pinocchio. Collodi is said to have disliked children and had none of his own; the Pinocchio he originally wrote and the Disney film we are most familiar with are strikingly different.

     
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Legendary Nobel Laureates: Harold Pinter

By Lauren Corba. Oct 10, 2013. 8:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners

Harold Pinter was one of Britain's most accomplished and influential dramatists of the twentieth century. The Nobel laureate not only wrote numerous plays, but also directed or acted on stage, radio, television, and film. 

     
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Celebrating Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (30 Dec 1865 - 18 Jan 1936) died in England at the age of 70, the most famous and highly paid writer of his time. Born to Victorian parents who named him after Staffordshire's Rudyard Lake, Kipling split his boyhood between the markets of Bombay India and an abusive English foster home. His life of travel and tragedy led to two near nervous breakdowns, but made his creative work accessible to both the aristocracy and the everyman.

     
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Why Jean Paul Sartre Rejected the Nobel Prize

By Carrie Scott. Oct 8, 2013. 10:49 PM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

The Nobel Prize in literature has had an interesting and often controversial history since first awarding the prize in 1901.  The year 1964 is perhaps one of the more intriguing stories of the Swedish Academy’s tradition.

     
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Sully Prudhomme: First Nobel Laureate in Literature

By Jennifer Michelle. Oct 6, 2013. 10:33 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners, Book News

Excitement has been building about this year's Nobel Prize in Literature! The winner is traditionally announced the second week of October. The Nobel Prize is certainly the most prestigious award in literature, and it's been conferred on the world's best authors since 1901.

     
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Graham Greene, A Doubter of His Time

By Andrea Koczela. Oct 5, 2013. 9:30 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

This week we celebrated the birthday of Henry Graham Greene. The playwright, explorer, poet, and spy was above all one of the most widely read novelists of the 20th century.  He wrote 24 novels, nearly all of which were adapted to film. His works include The Heart of the Matter, The Power and the Glory, Brighton Rock, and The End of the Affair. Despite several nominations, Greene never won the Nobel Prize

     
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Anne Rice, Grand Dame of Gothic Fiction

Born October 4, 1941, Anne Rice shows no signs of slowing down. Perhaps best known for The Vampire Chronicles series, Rice has written gothic fiction, Christian novels, and even erotica.

     
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A Tribute to Tom Clancy

By Kristin Masters. Oct 3, 2013. 5:40 PM.

Topics: Book News

On October 1, American author Tom Clancy passed away in Baltimore, Maryland. Renowned for his ability to create stories from the raw material of real-life conflict, Clancy was one of the few authors who built a multi-media empire. Clancy's books found their way into film, television, and even video games. 

     
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Collecting Americana: The Three Layers of Your Collection

The field of Americana is incredibly wide, spanning not only multiple centuries, but also the entire Western Hemisphere. For the rare book collector who wishes to specialize in Americana, this means that the first step is choosing an area of specialization (discussed in Part One). Then you can start building your collection around that focus. A meaningful, valuable collection of Americana often has multiple layers: primary sources, secondary sources, and bibliographical materials.

     
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Collecting Americana: Find Your Focus

By Kristin Masters. Oct 1, 2013. 9:35 AM.

Topics: American History, Rare Books, Book Collecting

The term "Americana" can seem a nebulous one, especially to new rare book collectors. It encompasses much more than simply American history; experts often define Americana as any written items produced in the Western hemisphere from the time that Columbus and his contemporaries arrived in the Americas. So if the term "Americana" applies to books, manuscripts, and ephemera produced over the course of nearly six centuries, over multiple continents, where the heck should a collector begin?!?

     
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About this blog

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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