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By-ways in Book-land Short Essays on Literary Subjects   By: (1828-1891)

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First Page:

BY WAYS IN BOOK LAND.

BY WAYS IN BOOK LAND

Short Essays on Literary Subjects

BY WM. DAVENPORT ADAMS AUTHOR OF 'DICTIONARY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE,' ETC.

' Excursusque breves tentat. ' 'GEORGICS,' iv. 194.

LONDON ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW 1888

TO MY FATHER, W. H. DAVENPORT ADAMS, THIS LITTLE VOLUME Is Affectionately Inscribed.

In the following pages, the writer for the most part deals with small subjects in an unelaborate manner. He leaves the highways of literature, and strays into the fields and lanes, picking here a flower and there a leaf, and not going far at any time. There is no endeavour to explore with system, or to extend any excursion beyond a modest ramble. The author wanders at haphazard into paths which have attracted him, and along which, he hopes, the reader may be willing to bear him company.

CONTENTS.

PAGE

PAPER KNIFE PLEASURES 1

RUSKIN AS POET 10

ELECTIONS IN LITERATURE 19

FAMILIAR VERSE 28

SHAKESPEARE'S ENGLAND 36

HEREDITY IN SONG 44

STINGS FOR THE STINGY 51

DIALOGUES OF THE DEAD 59

SERMONS IN FLOWERS 66

'DON QUIXOTE' IN ENGLAND 74

BEDSIDE BOOKS 83

THEIR MUCH SPEAKING 91

PEERS AND POETRY 99

THE PRAISE OF THAMES 107

ENGLISH EPIGRAPHS 114

THE 'SEASON' IN SONG 123

THE 'RECESS' IN RHYME 131

JAQUES IN LOVE 139

MOCKING AT MATRIMONY 148

PARSON POETS 156

THE OUTSIDES OF BOOKS 164

THE NOT IMPOSSIBLE SHE 172

NONSENSE VERSES 180

SINGLE SPEECH HAMILTONS 188

DRAMATIC NOMENCLATURE 196

PUNS AND PATRONYMICS 203

'YOURS TRULY' 209

POSTSCRIPTS 217

BY WAYS IN BOOK LAND

PAPER KNIFE PLEASURES.

One is for ever hearing enough and to spare about old books and those who love them. There is a whole literature of the subject. The men themselves, from Charles Lamb downwards, have over and over again described their ecstasies with what joy they have pounced upon some rare edition, and with what reverence they have ever afterwards regarded it. It is some time since Mr. Buchanan drew his quasi pathetic picture of the book hunter, bargaining for his prize,

'With the odd sixpence in his hand, And greed in his gray eyes;'

having, moreover, in his mind's eye as he walked

'Vistas of dusty libraries Prolonged eternally.'

Mr. Andrew Lang, too, has sung to us of the man who 'book hunts while the loungers fly,' who 'book hunts though December freeze,' for whom

'Each tract that flutters in the breeze Is charged with hopes and fears,'

while

'In mouldy novels fancy sees Aldines, Bodonis, Elzevirs.'

There are periodicals which cater solely for old book adorers; and while on the one hand your enthusiast will publish his 'Pleasures' and 'Diversions,' on the other a contemporary will devote a volume to the subjects which attract and interest 'the Book Fancier.'

Meanwhile, is there nothing to be said of, or by, the admirer of new books the man or woman who rejoices in the pleasant act of turning over new leaves? At a time when volumes are issuing by the dozen from the publishers' counters, shall not something be chronicled of the happiness which lies in the contemplation, the perusal, of the literary product which comes hot from the press? For, to begin with, the new books have at least this great advantage over the old that they are clean. It is not everybody who can wax dithyrambic over the 'dusty' and the 'mouldy.' It is possible for a volume to be too 'second hand... Continue reading book >>




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