On Books and the Housing of Them

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Dodd, Mead, 1891 - Books - 29 pages

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Page 10 - But books are the voices of the dead. They are a main instrument of communion with the vast human procession of the other world. They are the allies of the thought of man. They are in a certain sense at enmity with the world. Their work is, at least, in the two higher compartments of our threefold life. In a room well filled with them, no one has felt or can feel solitary. Second to none, as friends to the individual, they are first and foremost among the cornpages, the bonds and rivets of the race...
Page 40 - ... and gathering rapid accretions, has been found to require in extreme cases, such as those of the British Museum and the Bodleian (on its limited site), a change more revolutionary in its departure from, almost reversal of, the ancient methods, than what has been here described. The best description I can give of its essential aim, so far as I have seen the processes (which were tentative and initial), is this. The masses represented by filled bookcases are set one in front of another ; and, in...
Page 6 - There is a caution which we ought to carry with us more and more as we get in view of the coming period of open book trade, and of demand practically boundless. Noble works ought not to be printed in mean and worthless forms, and cheapness ought to be limited by an instinctive sense and law of fitness. The binding of a book is the dress with which it walks out into the world.
Page 5 - ... their presence. Mr. Gladstone was by no means a rabid bookbuyer. Rare books, first editions, and elaborate bindings had no especial attraction for him, though when they came to him as gifts they were eagerly welcomed. A book should be fitly bound ; it consists, he liked to remind his friends, like men from whom it draws its lineage, of a body and a soul. Noble works should not appear in mean and worthless dress. Paper [he said], type, and ink are the body in which the soul is domiciled.
Page 9 - America are fused into one book market ; when it is recognized that letters, which as to their material and their aim are a high-soaring profession, as to their mere remuneration are a trade ; when artificial fetters are relaxed, and printers, publishers, and authors obtain the reward which well-regulated commerce would afford them, then let floors beware lest they crack, and walls lest they bulge and burst, from the weight of books they will have to carry and to confine.
Page 45 - ... may be made a nearly solid mass of books : a vast economy which, so far as it is applied, would probably quadruple or quintuple the efficiency of our repositories as to contents, and prevent the population of Great Britain from being extruded some centuries hence into the surrounding waters by the exorbitant dimensions of their own libraries.
Page 26 - It has been a fashion to make bookcases highly ornamental. Now books want for and in themselves no ornament at all. They are themselves the ornament. Just as shops need no ornament, and no one will think of or care for any structural ornament, if the goods are tastefully disposed in the shop-window.
Page 34 - I have adopted •later in life, and have here endeavoured to explain, need not exceed one penny per volume. Each bookcase when filled represents, unless in exceptional cases, nearly a solid mass. The intervals are so small that, as a rule, they admit a very small portion of dust. If they are at a tolerable distance from the fireplace, if carpeting be avoided except as to small movable carpets easily removed for beating, and if sweeping be discreetly conducted, dust may, at any rate in the country,...
Page 32 - ... high, so that the upper shelf can be reached by the aid of a wooden stool of two steps not more than twenty inches high, and portable without the least effort in a single hand. I will suppose the wall space available to be eight feet, and the projections, three in number, with end pieces need only jut out three feet five, while narrow strips of bookcase will run up the wall between the projections. Under these conditions, the bookcases thus described will carry above 2,000 octavo volumes. And...
Page 22 - ... lodge objects of such different sizes in one and the same bookcase. And this waste of space will cripple us in the most serious manner, as will be seen with regard to the conditions of economy and of accessibility. The three conditions are in truth all connected together, but especially the two last named. Even in a paper such as this the question of classification cannot; altogether be overlooked ; but it is one more easy to open than to close — one upon which I am not bold enough to hope...

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