2012年5月31日 星期四

Dickensian London walk 倫敦書展投降 An antiquarian obsession

Bibliophiles in London

An antiquarian obsession

May 25th 2012, 10:21 by A.C. | LONDON
BOOK collectors are a curious lot. They are often pale and prone to reverential flipping of old pages, yet greedy, covetous, sharp-elbowed when required. Nicholas Basbanes’s “gentle madness” has seized mankind since before the codex. At Berlin’s book fair, it is said, fleet youths are hired to dart ahead to secure the most important prizes. In London, where the bibliophiles are now descending, the connoisseurs are more orderly, and start to queue two hours before. The London International Antiquarian Book Fair, a three-day event which runs until tomorrow, provides many sightings of the genus bibliomaneerroneously thought by new technologists to be extinct. It is a spirited rebuttal to the idea that the printed book is dead.
The fair is one of the world’s largest and oldest, celebrating its 55th year. In the lofty Victorian hall of Olympia, visitors can ogle ancient and modern books, and maps and curios from around the world. Rare book dealers from 17 countries have turned up, along with the expert valuators of the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. Visitors can bring up to five books and learn whether the volume dug out of their ancestor’s attic is a gemlike a recent first edition of Beatrix Potter discovered in an outhouseor worm-eaten junk.
Rarely can one touch or gawp at exceedingly rare treasures like a second folio of Shakespeare; Dickens’s own marked-up copy of “Mrs Gamp”, which he read from on his last American tour; or 15th-century books from the presses of Anton Koberer and Aldus Manutius, which sell for tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds. At the other end of the spectrum, vintage children’s books, autographs and postcards can be picked up at numerous stands for £50 or less.
Most interesting, perhaps, is the air of optimismthere is not the slightest whiff of gloom at the state of the book world. The internet, paradoxically, has made books “à la mode”, says Claude Blaizot of the Librarie August Blaizot in Paris, purveyor of first editions of "Tintin" and fantastically bound livres d’artiste. “It has brought people to books, and shown them booksellers they never would have known existed before,” he says. Clive Farahar, the Antiques Roadshow’s book specialist, agrees that technology has opened up the book trade, and made the world of books much more accessible to all. “It’s not just the dim little shop on the high street anymore,” he said. “We can learn so much now we never would have known before.”
It is the peculiar enthusiasms of book collectors to which we owe many great library collections. Now, as the internet allows major libraries to digitise their holdings, duplicates and other surplus volumes are being released back into the market. The result is more remarkable volumes for non-specialists to admire and, yes, touch. “People love the feel of a book, and the therapy of turning the pages,” Mr Farahar says. At the fair, they can also learn how to bind books and watch demonstrations of letterpress printing, calligraphy and wood engraving. Speakers from London’s leading booksellers, including Bernard Quaritich and Maggs Bros, will lecture on the book collector’s passion, in the vein of what writer Jeanette Winterson called: “An obsession, an occupation, a disease, an addiction, a fascination, an absurdity, a fate.”
The London Antiquarian Book Fair runs from May 24th to 26th at the National Hall, Olympia, London


Dickensian London walk

Dickensian London walk

The Dickens walk explores a vintage hidden London largely unchanged and well known to the author.  Rich with readings and an unfolding biography we take in ancient and evocative parts of the city, pause at Dickens’s favourite pub and bid farewell outside St Paul’s Cathedral.


Please arrive at the entrance to the Museum by 5pm each Wednesday to meet your guide, as the walks cannot be pre-booked.  Payment is made directly to the guide before the walk departs.
Please note: All places on the walk will be allocated to those who arrive first.  It may be necessary to limit the number of people who can take part on the walk if it is over-subscribed.  This will be at the discretion of the guide.

The British Council is working with over 50 countries worldwide to coordinate an exciting range of educational and cultural events celebrating the bicentenary of the UK's most prolific and influential novelists: Charles Dickens.
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更新時間 2012年4月13日, 格林尼治標準時間13:53






「作家的處境在中國和在英國是不同的…… 英國文化協會和中國政府之間對於被邀請參加書展作家的最後名單沒有分歧,這些作家在中國居住;但另外一些作家離開了中國。英國文化協會對這兩類作家都很尊敬,並和他們合作。」
英國筆會負責交流活動的Sarah Hesketh女士在接受BBC的採訪時也表示,倫敦書展是商業活動,英國文化協會在艱難的條件下已經做了不錯的工作。她還認為,有一點文化交流總比沒有任何交流好。