shopping_cart
Ohio University Press · Swallow Press · www.ohioswallow.com

Booking Pleasures

By Jack Matthews

“The covetous foraging for old and rare books,” is how Matthews defines “booking.” It is an act which leads naturally to the pleasures of adding them to one’s personal library, then reading them as instruments of light and measure in a murky and chaotic world. The understanding that books are intrinsic to civilized living is wisdom as old as civilization itself; it is affirmed here, in their various ways, by the people who inspire and inhabit these pages: the quasi-literate clerk of the steamboat Science on the Ohio River in 1835; a young fiction writer who got drunk one night and stole the bust of Edgar Allen Poe from the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia; and a guru of the computer age, who writes: “Books have always been important to me and to the people around me.”

Matthews explores the collecting of old dictionaries, whose definitions can be read as a sort of poetry; an 1840’s rhyming book once used as a mnemonic tool for small children; and the wildly scrawled annotations of an exuberant painter in a battered copy of Thomas Hart Benton’s An Artist in America.

In other essays, Matthews compares booking with Charles Darwin’s passion for collecting beetles; follows Nero Wolfe of the Rex Stout novels, who grew tentatively into a vivid and fascinating detective; and celebrates the zealous idealism of 1890s fraternity boys as reflected by some of their century-old publications.

In sharing Matthews’s adventures as an implacable bookman, readers will find, not an escape from life, but new entrance ways through old books.

Jack Matthews is Distinguished Professor of English at Ohio University and recipient of numerous writing awards. In addition to his novels, poems, and short story collections, he has published Memoirs of a Bookman (Ohio University Press, 1989), Collecting Rare Books for Fun and Profit (Ohio University Press, 1977, 1981), and Rare Book Lore: Selections from the Letters of Ernest J. Wessen (Ohio University Press, 1992).   More info →

Order a print copy

Hardcover · $31.96 ·
Add to Cart

Retail price: $39.95 · Save 20% ($31.96)

Buy from a local bookstore

IndieBound

US and Canada only

Cover of Booking Pleasures

Share    Facebook icon  Email icon

Requests

Desk Copy Examination Copy Review Copy

Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center

Related Subjects

Click or tap on a subject heading to sign up to be notified when new related books come out.

Formats

Hardcover
978-0-8214-1129-2
Retail price: $39.95, S.
Release date: November 1995
191 pages
Rights:  World

Related Titles

Cover of 'Dickens and Thackeray'

Dickens and Thackeray
Punishment and Forgiveness
By John Robert Reed

Attitudes toward punishment and forgiveness in English society of the nineteenth century came, for the most part, out of Christianity. In actual experience the ideal was not often met, but in the literature of the time the model was important. For novelists attempting to tell exciting and dramatic stories, violent and criminal activities played an important role, and, according to convention, had to be corrected through poetic justice or human punishment.

Literary Criticism, UK · Literature

Cover of 'The Voice of Toil'

The Voice of Toil
Nineteenth-Century British Writings about Work
Edited by David J. Bradshaw and Suzanne Ozment

The Voice of Toil collects poems, stories, essays, and a play that reflect ways in which work, one of the most recurrent and controversial subjects of nineteenth–century discourse, was addressed. The resulting anthology offers a provocative text for students of nineteenth-century British literature and history.

Literary Criticism, UK · Literature · Victorian Studies

Cover of 'Belonging'

Belonging
Poems
By Dick Davis

There are worlds within our own in which even the smallest victories are hard won, the tender moment is almost unbearable, and the understated rings like a bell. Belonging, a new collection by British poet Dick Davis, is an extended visit to these worlds.Deepened

Poetry · Literature

Sign up to be notified when new Literature titles come out.

We will only use your email address to notify you of new titles in the subject area(s) you follow. We will never share your information with third parties.