“What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” — Anne Lamott
Today in 1616 William Shakespeare died. His works have been enjoyed by generations of readers, which means that generations of printers have been busy editing and reprinting his texts. The images above are special. They are from the 1791 edition of The Bard’s “dramatic works”, as the title page has it, which included his play Richard III. Except, these images don’t show the actual book. You are looking at the proofs corrected by the editor George Steevens himself, which miraculously survived.
The proofs show the editor at work. Using the 1790 text of Malone as a basis, Steevens changed Shakespeare’s words into what he thought was the best text to print. Words were deleted (“guilty” and “done” are crossed out), clarifications were added (a character exited “with the body”, penned next to it), and entire passages appear to have been rewritten (note the pasted pieces of paper with Steevens handwritten text). The proofs seen here show how Shakespeare is prepared for a new generation of readers: his words were perfected to reach a new audience - and new potential buyers.
Pic: Washington, Shakespeare Library, PR2752 1791-1802a v.1 Sh.Col. (This Shakespeare edition of 1791). Here is my source and more information.
What is a measure for success?
Being read. Being read by people who get it. For me, success is that I have a book out and maybe I get an email from a friend of a friend who I don’t really know that speaks to what the book is about. That people get it: That can keep me depression-free for a month. That it means something to someone else, particularly in a positive way. A woman said to me, “Your book made me feel less alone.” That is success.
I remember I would not stand still; I would not stop being perplexed by everything that spontaneously attracted me or caught my attention. I would never cease to look around me and observe myself in relation to nature: either crystal clear skies and sun-melting afternoons, or foggy winter days and weirdly tinted nights. I would never cease to dream and stand by the window, ready to let the diversity of life pass freely through my skin; courageous enough to believe I stood a chance in devouring each shade of sensation. Or perhaps, immensely foolish to plainly — believe at all.
By Virginia Woolf (via c-ovet)
This is my second encounter with Murakami, following my introduction to him through Norwegian Wood. To be completely honest, I am glad this was not the first book I read from him, because i don’t really know if i would be as impressed with him as Norwegian Wood left me. The book is a good easy read. There are a few parallel stories going on after midnight, that are never really brought together as much as one would expect, though by the end there is a connection between them. Murakami is very descriptive in terms of the surroundings, while some things are left abstract. For example his decr…
No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.
We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
Zadie Smith offers an ode to bibliomania, a happy disorder nicely accommodated by this forgiving time of year.
My name is Zadie Smith, and I am a 38-year-old pathological reader. I would like to say in my defense that I don’t really get the appeal of YOLO. I live many times over. Hypothetical, subterranean lives that run beneath the relative tedium of my own and have the power to occasionally penetrate or even derail it. I find it hard to name the one book that was so damn delightful it changed my life. The truth is, they have all changed my life, every single one of them—even the ones I hated. Books are my version of “experiences.” I’m made of them.