Bibliophilia: Tennyson

Most of the antique books I have acquired over the years are still with me because they were books I had read, or was going to read. This one is a little different. The cover caught my eye, you see.

Leather-bound books are one thing. This one is a bit flashier, I think! Snake, or crocodile?

This edition of Tennyson’s poetry is bound beautifully. Or it was… the spine is long gone. You can see where someone tried to keep it together with transparent tape, which is now brittle and yellowing. It has destroyed the book, but I look at it a little different. Someone loved it enough to try and keep it together when it was falling to pieces.

A glimpse of book construction.

I don’t know the exact age of this edition. The frontsmatter is gone with missing pages. But the flyleaf inscription remains.

A hundred and five years, since this book was presented – a turn of phrase that suggests it was given to a student rather than as a gift.

With Nature’s Craftsmen I commented on the clarity of the printing. This book has been less durable, and in places the ink has traveled.

I prefer his shorter verse.
The typography is largely clear, with a somewhat fussy serif font.

This is a book that has been loved to death, but I can’t bring myself to part with it because of the cover. It’s padded, with soft fibrous material (you can see a bit of it from the spine having gone) and it must have been very comfortable to hold. It’s not a big book. What a pretty gift to a star pupil all that time ago! Wars were only lurking on the horizon on that date. What became of them, I wonder?

5 thoughts on “Bibliophilia: Tennyson

  1. I looked up the rest of “The Sailor Boy.”
    This part struck a note.
    “Fool,” he answer’d, “death is sure
    To those that stay and those that roam,
    But I will nevermore endure
    To sit with empty hands at home.”

    The Navy wasn’t perfect, but once you spend time on the great oceans of the planet, your horizons are different.

    For a book, being loved to death is a good way to go.

  2. It seemed to me that your use of bibliophile was wrong, since what you are valuing, at least in part, is that the book was a special treasure for someone. (For children, the word I know for this is a “lovey”, but I suspect it is slang and it doesn’t translate well to the sense of how older people feel.)

    In investigating, however, I discovered that the meaning of bibliophile seems to have mutated a bit since I learned it, and seems to have taken on a somewhat negative connotation also. Most curious.

    On the other hand, my small journey led me to bibliophilic, bibliomania, and bibliophage, so I feel enriched.

  3. I see with a Google search that custom bookbinders exist out there, and will repair treasured books – – have you considered this option? Here is the very first one I saw in results: C&H Custom Bookbinding.

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