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Alex Marcondes
Spinning hot wax, rolling cassettes and writing about books. Captivated by the early history of printed literature and its effects on the philosophical mindsets of those reached.

Recent Posts:

The History Behind William Styron's Fictional Nat Turner

By Alex Marcondes. Mar 16, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: History

William Styron's account of The Confessions of Nat Turner differs significantly from the original Confessions of Nat Turner garnered by Turner's lawyer while he awaited his trial and impending execution. Because of this, the fact of whether it is historical-fiction or historical-fiction, is not an irrelevant minutia. Cries of controversy—that Styron is a racist or that he minimizes the genuineness of the Nat Turner Rebellion—depend wholly on how the reader approaches the text through the lens of it's emphasis. 


A Brief History of the Printing Press, Part II: Toward a Modern Press

By Alex Marcondes. Sep 30, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, History

In part one of our history of the printing press, we reviewed the early days of the printing press, from Gutenberg’s original press to Clymer’s wildly successful Columbian press. Today, we will take a look at the last widely distributed hand press and the move onto the cylindrical press. These presses set the stage, and naturally lead us to the fully automated offset printing presses that power the massive publishing houses of today.


Five Interesting Facts About F. Scott Fitzgerald

By Alex Marcondes. Sep 24, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

Chief expositor of the "Jazz Age," F. Scott Fitzgerald's name has become synonymous with the 1910s, '20s, and '30s. No other literary figure proffers the pictures of that generation like Fitzgerald does through his four novels and numerous short stories. Born in 1896, the experience of his characters in the first few decades of the twentieth century is largely contemporaneous with his own. Even outside of This Side of Paradise, explicitly described by the author as semi-autobiographical, rarely can we find a story of Fitzgerald's not permeated with similar autobiography: in fact, we often times see very obvious correlations between Fitzgerald's character's lives and his own. Here are five interesting facts about F. Scott Fitzgerald.


H. L. Mencken: Chief Polemicist and Literary Critic

By Alex Marcondes. Sep 12, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors

"Mencken is himself 'a lyncher' since he once proposed to take William Jennings Bryan 'to the top of the Washington Monument...disembowel him and hurl his remains into the Potomac.'"
-The New York Sunday Times

From the start of H. L. Mencken's popular career, beginning with his summary of Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy, Mencken's ideological roots were obvious to any discerning reader. His ideals required only a basic knowledge of the company he kept and the authors he idolized. While his style is permeated with raw wit and uninhibited ridicule of those he felt were beneath him, Mencken was a force, in more ways than one. He was formative in an early understanding of vernacular American English, a foremost literary critic in his time, and a champion of women's rights (even while being entirely unsympathetic to suffragists in his news coverage). He also popularized a social-Darwinian reading of Nietzsche that lasted through much of the twentieth century.


Narratives of Great Explorers and Their Cathartic Value

By Alex Marcondes. Aug 30, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: History

As history documents, Ernest Shackleton and his fellow crew members embarked on the Imperial Trans-Atlantic Expedition to walk across the Antarctic continent in 1914. Trapped in ice floes, they were forced to abandon ship several months into their journey and retreat. We struggle, at times, to understand why we're captivated by such endeavors. They failed, after all, and walking across the continent doesn't seem to be an especially worthwhile project. However, there is a measure of catharsis available to all who hear these stories. Just as Aristotle describes the cathartic nature of the theatre, the legends of these explorers bleed us of our insecurities, inadequacies, and hopelessness in the face of seemingly insurmountable anxieties.


A History of Drama as Literature

By Alex Marcondes. Aug 11, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Drama

There is an often unthought-of tension between the stage’s representation of drama and the play in its written form. Neoclassical considerations of the stage as immoral, temporary, and material were in stark contrast to its view of printed literature as immortal, spiritual, and morally grounded. These complications have a long history, beginning with Platonic forms, leading all the way to the boom of print culture in renaissance England. Here, we explore a brief history of drama as literature.


Interesting Editions of Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler

By Alex Marcondes. Aug 9, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Fishing

For many, the allure of fishing is its contemplative nature. No other sport allows the mind to wander for so long, nor do they offer environments conducive to this. This was certainly not lost on Izaak Walton. His The Compleat Angler is a definitive exploration of both the technique and emotion surrounding the sport. For collectors of fishing literature, The Compleat Angler is essential, and its numerous and interesting editions merit our attention.


A Brief History of the Printing Press, Part I: Gutenberg to Clymer

By Alex Marcondes. Aug 4, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book History

High school history told us of the invention of the printing press: when Johannes Gutenberg, in the Holy Roman Empire, launched the world into a new age, defined by the mass producibility of literature. What is not often considered, though, is the initial genius the invention was and the ingenuity required to improve on his design.


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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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