Thursday, September 21, 2006

I hardly ever read novels (I know, I was an English major, what's up with that?)

I wrote about Jonathan Swift in July from Dublin after visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral where he was Dean. Also, he attended Trinity College where we stayed. I was taken with him and his revolutionary ways.

But I never read a word he wrote in all my years as an English major, or in high school, or as a child.

So this evening I scanned the bookshelf for a novel I haven't read and came across this combined edition of Gulliver's Travels and Baron Munchausen. Having just posted a photo of myself under a mushroom, I thought it must be time to go to Lilliput. I have no idea where this copy came from. My dad? A rummage sale? This edition has no date in it, but I think it's from the 1880's or 1890's.

In 1726 Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels, a satire on the relations between Great Britain and Ireland. Authorshop of Baron Munchausen is not certain, which you can read about if you click on Baron Manchausen in the previous paragraph, but it's sometimes called "Gulliver Revived." I don't know the story, but it was made into a film in 1988.

One reason I love old books is the beautiful embossed relief binding. Don't you think we've lost something, looking at the stack of books below? I'm sure the old methods of bookbinding must be too costly to be practical these days.

If you want to read about the "history of the book" (not this specific book, but books in general), which I think is fascinating, go here for the wiki piece.


Ginnie said...

Very interesting thoughts, Ruth, about your own reading journey and the "ethos" of old books. Hmm. Wonder what Dad would say about all of this!

Ruth said...

Ginnie, I'm thinking he loved how books looked, smelled and felt as much as the word content. Maybe even more so.

Ginnie said...

Actually, I can identify with that, especially old books with leather binding :)

Rauf said...

Ruth, When I read that in my school days, I never knew it was any kind of satire. I believed it to be true. I still carry the same belief.

ruth said...

Rauf, I did not know it was considered satire until recently. Apparently it was his way of holding the British govt. up to scrutiny and scorn, hidden in the four adventures.