Thursday, March 24, 2011

I have never begun a novel with more misgiving


New Arrival



The Razor’s Edge

The Blakiston Company
Philadelphia

1944

[click to enlarge]

With thanks to Gerry Boyd, who is traveling light these days.


8 comments:

Gerry Boyd said...

It's all about 'loafing'. You'll love it!

William Michaelian said...

I really like the edition. Comfortably worn, and those ragged page edges get me every time.

Two Tigers said...

William, I enlarged your wonderful photo, and thank you for the sharpness of detail, because it allowed me to read the whole page, right up to the hyphen dividing the word influence, and me from the rest of this great piece of writing! Fortunately, I have an edition of my own on the shelf, and as I went to seek it out, would you believe, discovered it was also Blakiston, but mine says 1945. How odd that here I can look at the same page there, albeit in a little worse shape than yours. Also, mine features some inscriptions in fountain pen on the inside back cover, courtesy of the previous owner:

"Bright garments (sometimes) frequently cover deep wounds."

"temper the wind to the fleece of the lamb." "tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.

His belief became "acquiescence rather than ardor".

I transcribe exactly. I have no idea whose hand, or if the quotes are from Maugham or elsewhere.

This is why I love old books and those who love them. Thank you for the reminder. And the connection.

William Michaelian said...

Delightful. I would never pass up a book with such fine messages. And these connections run every which way: between us and the author; between giver and receiver, between readers, dreamers, and all of us who imagine. I took this picture and posted it within just a few minutes of the book’s arrival in today’s mail. And inhaled. Sacred print. A hint of tobacco.

Stickup Artist said...

I love that book. You could cheat and watch the old but really well done black and white movie :-)

William Michaelian said...

Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney? Never heard of them....

-K- said...

I have to admit that I am still confused by the first sentence. Is the narrator a novelist who is writing about the misgiving he has about writing the very novel I am reading? And if he is, how is he having misgivings when he is just writing the first sentence of the first chapter? I've never associated Maugham with that kind of hall-of-mirrors technique.

William Michaelian said...

“And I just had to look, having read the book.” Except that I haven’t.

Maybe it’s just a clever sentence — a sentence he liked so much he couldn’t part with it and so he decided to append a book.