Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tale From A Very Different Time

Saw this on my Forgotten English Word-a-Day Calendar for today and thought you all might find it amusing:

Bibliothecary: Keeper of a library. -- Elisha Coles's English Dictionary, 1713

Thoreau's Big Library

On this date in 1853, six years after leaving the solace of Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau wrote in his journal: "My publisher has been writing from time to time to ask what disposition should be made of the copies of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers still on hand, and at last suggesting that he had use for the room they occupied in his cellar. So I had them all sent to me here, and they have arrived to-day by express, filling the man's wagon--706 copies out of an edition of 1000 . . . I have now a library of nearly nine hundred volumes, over seven hundred of which I wrote myself." Looking on the bright side, the reclusive philosopher added: "Sitting beside the inert mass of my works, I take up my pen to-night to record what thought or experience I have had, with as much satisfaction as ever. Indeed, I believe that this result is more inspiring and better for me than if a thousand had bought my wares. It affects my privacy less and leaves me freer."

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