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Stop! My Book! Bookplate of Rudolph Benkard, by W.S., 1895

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The Reader, by Alexander Ver Heull (c. 1880)

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  • The Art of Fascinating, by Lola Montez
    Lola Montez was one of the leading courtesans of the 1840's. Her lovers included the King of Bavaria, who was absolutely besotted with her, made her a countess, and in the end abdicated rather than give her up. However, she soon left him and continued her career as a dancer in  England, and later the USA. In her later years she published The Art of Beauty, a manual of dress, hairdressing, cosmetics etc. This included as an appendix Hints to Gentleman on The Art of Fascinating, based presumably on her own experiences of men, and including hilariously satirical recommendations such as 
    • "If you invite a lady to go to the theatre, neglect not to leave her, and go out to drink with your male friends between each act, as this will show her that you have confidence that she can protect herself." 
    •  "If you are invited to dine, go at least an hour, or an hour and a half before the time, for then the lady will be sure never to forget you, as the attentive and polite gentleman who allowed her neither time to dress, nor to superintend her dinner."
  • That Rascal Gustave, by Paul de Kock
    . . . Get another of Paul de Kock's. Nice name he has.
    . . . I wonder what kind is that book he brought me Sweets of Sin by a gentleman of fashion some other Mr de Kock I suppose the people gave him that nickname going about with his tube from one woman to another . . .
    -- James Joyce, Ulysses

    Paul de Kock (1793-1871) was a prolific writer of spicy novels, popular both in his native France and in English translation.  That Rascal Gustave (
    Gustave le mauvais sujet)  is one of his earlier works and an excellent example of his titillating manner.
  • The Courtier's Library, by John Donne
    Around 1610, Donne wrote this little squib in Latin. It starts with an introduction explaining how a courtier may pass as learned and cultured without going to the bother of acquiring any learning or culture. The secret, he says, is to have read books no-one else has;  he then gives a list of imaginary books whose titles, authors and subjects are a satirical comment on various people and schools of thought then fashionable.  It circulated in handwritten copies and gave great entertainment to his friends and acquaintances, but was not printed until 1650, twenty years after his death.  Our edition is a translation by E.M. Simpson with detailed notes explaining the jokes and references. 
  • The Battle of the Frogs and Mice..
    The Batrachomyomachia or The Battle of the Frogs and Mice is an ancient Greek parody of the Homeric epics. The armies of the frogs and mice go to war over a misunderstanding, mighty deeds are performed by warriors on both sides, the gods become involved and great slaugher ensues before the resolution.  There have been several translations from Chapman onwards; our version is in Draytonian stanzas by Jane Barlow in 1894, with splendid decorations by Francis D. Bedford.


  Bookplate of Andrew Carnegie, c. 1900

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