The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

Reviews of some older books, mostly rare

These are books that I have employed in my work, and think about and
through; I've found them at various times in my life. In no particular

The Ocean World: Being a Description of The Sea and some of its
Inhabitants. from the French of Louis Figuier, New Edition revised by
E. Percevel Wright, Cassell, Petter, Galpin, +/- 1872. There are hundreds
of illustrations, almost all of invertebrates. Both illustrations and text
are poeticized, organic, swimming across the page. I consult this often.

The Lewis Carroll Picture Book, Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, T. Fisher
Unwin, 1899. Collected materials by his nephew, with Carroll's
illustrations and odd poems and collegiate texts among other things. An
addendum to the constant Alice-theorizing available a century later.

The Legends of the Rhine, H. A. Guerber, A. S. Barnes, 1895. Well, this is
simply fascinating in relation to Wagner, etc.

Baedeker's Berlin and its Environs, 1923. I consult this often in my other
readings; this is an intense image of Berlin Weimar culture.

The Athenian Oracle, edited by John Underhill, Walter Scott, 1897.
Selections from the late 17th-century magazine, with all its strangeness.

The Genuine Epistles of the Apostolical Fathers, also titled Wake's
Genuine Epistles, London, Richard Sare, 1710. This is a very early
edition; the print and language are fascinating, not to mention the texts,
many of which are now on my PDA.

The Blind Girl and Other Poems, Frances Jane Crosby, Wiley & Putnam, 1844
I've written about this elsewhere; Crosby went on to write hymns. She was
blind herself. Her poem on Niagara is wonderful.

Poems and Ballads, A New Edition, Swinburne, 1878. Precisely because
Swinburne disturbs me.

Swinburne, Selected Poems, illustrations by Harry Clarke, The Bodley Head,
1924. Clarke's illustrations, simultaneously severe and milky, mirror the

Oeuvres de F. Rabelais, par L. Jacob, Charpentier, 1841. In the original
French with new and previously unpublished materials.

Poems by Felicia Hemans, edited by Rufus W. Griswold, Sorin and Ball, 1845
All I can see is these are soft, well-done, and continue to hold my

American Universal Geography, Jedidiah Morse, Isiah Thomas and Ebenezer
Andrews, June, 1796. A very early geography, largely of the United States.
The maps are torn/or missing, but the text, for me, is critical in
understanding the development of the frontier.

Drei und Dreissig Predigen von dem furnemstem Spaltungen in der
Christlichen Religion, Jacobum Andree, Tubingen, 1576. An early Lutheran
theologian concerned with uniting the Church. The Fraktur type is
beautiful and the binding is original. More a wonder of early books; I
don't have the wherewithal to read it.

A Manual of Medical Jurisprudence, Alfred Swaine Taylor, Henry Lea, 1866.
I read often into this early classic of forensic medicine; the pages on
rape are literally covered in human blood.

Illustrium Imagines, Andrea Fulvio, Rome, 1517. This book is discussed at
length in The Renaissance Computer; my edition has the original vellum
cover. There are over a hundred illustrations of Greek and Roman coins; it
was the first illustrated book on numismatics.

On the Laws of Japanese Painting, Henry P. Bowie, Paul Elder, 1911. This
book has been reprinted by Dover, but the illustrations are much finer in
the original. Think of Laws of Dots, Laws of Lines of the Garment, Laws of
Ledges, Laws of the Four Paragons...


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