Aqui fica a notícia de mais um excelente catálogo desta prestigiada livraria-antiquária norte-americana.
Não consigui resistir a transcrever aqui a nota introdutória do mesmo, pois contem muitos elementos de reflexão para todos nós.
“I cannot live without books.”
"How does one begin to collect? It often starts with a single book. A favorite novel. A book signed or inscribed by someone you admire. Some monumental, world-changing landmark that you never imagined you could own as a first edition. Or something you’ve never seen before that’s just a bit too intriguing to pass up.
From there it grows. You rarely stop with one. One of our collectors remembers placing his first purchase from us on his shelf. It looked good, so he bought another. Pretty soon, he had a collection. Or an obsession, as he happily puts it.
One needs focus. Energy. Purpose. It is said that in order to build the great library of Alexandria, the pharaohs searched visiting ships for manuscripts, which were then seized and deposited in the library. Extreme measures, perhaps, but in the pursuit of a remarkable goal—for the first time in the history of the world, men attempted to gather all the world’s knowledge in one place. The library was destroyed, but the ambition lives on.
Thomas Jefferson amassed not one but three distinct collections of books in his lifetime. The second, which is the most famous, is the one that he sold to the government after the British burned the national libraryin the war of 1812. It became the core of the Library of Congress. But the first is equally intriguing—the one that he collected as a young man that was burned in a fire at the family home in 1770. A great loss — the actual volumes that were read and studied by a young Thomas Jefferson, the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence. Despite losing one library to fire and selling the next (out of patriotism, and, alas, financial necessity as well) Jefferson continued to collect books well into his old age and built yet a third substantial library in his later years.
Every collector finds a focus. It can be as broad as all of the great and influential books, or it can be quite narrow. One of our collectors moved to Wyoming after living in cities for many years and, seeking to learn more about his new home, became fascinated by the early tales of western exploration that were usually accompanied by fragile, well-worn maps. With each new book we’d present, he would carefully spread out each map and trace with his finger the route of the expedition and how far it journeyed into the long-unexplored and mysterious region in which he now lives. With every first edition he purchased, he’d ask that we find him a reading copy. His library today is formidable, and his love and knowledge of the history of the American West is as impressive.
The Grand Canyon
In this catalogue we present a few areas of collecting to illustrate some of the possibilities. One can put together a group of books that documents the exploration of the American West — riveting first-hand accounts by the explorers who truly did not know what lay in wait over the next ridge of mountains. Or collect the iconic, beautifully dust-jacketed modern firsts of the 20th century that present a kaleidoscopic view of our modern times. Or gather the great and monumental landmarks of the history of thought—those books that shaped our theories of philosophy, economics, society, and faith. The possibilities are indeed endless, but here we give you a few to consider.
Every great library since the beginning of the written word has attempted to illuminate. From the grandest — like the Alexandrian library, which attempted to house every work that had yet been written—to the most humble, when we begin to collect, we begin to tell a story. Decide on the story you will choose."
Collecting History of Thought
De facto, reunindo algumas obras de raridade, este catálogo está fundamentalmente elaborado duma forma pedagógica para um principiante em coleccionismo bibliófilo.
Claro que principiante americano e português têm algumas “pequenas discrepâncias”: sobretudo a nossa formação, mais inspirada na cultura bibliófila europeia, versus o poder de compra dos americanos, mas mesmo com estas limitações julgo que poderemos aprender sempre um pouco mais.
A opção pessoal é sempre soberana, mas é evidente que ter algumas ideias mestras para orientação, ou algumas noções de que obras procurar para poder construir um biblioteca bibliófila (que é sempre diferente da do bibliómano) são elementos que não podemos rejeitar, mesmo que os princípios que as orientem possam divergir das nossas concepções.
Claro que o catálogo tem obras que rejeitaria, mas tem outras que eu, como um grande número de outros bibliófilos, não desdenharia de ter na minha biblioteca.
Mas é precisamente esta diversidade que torna tão fascinante este coleccionismo, cada biblioteca tem uma “alma” que reflecte com muito segurança, e sem grande margem de erro, a personalidade do seu construtor.
A Biblioteca dos Sonhos
Aproveito para oferecer esta imagem, que o meu estimado amigo Marco Pedrosa teve a gentileza de partilhar comigo, para poderem apreciar uma das vertentes, para mim das mais fascinantes, da bibliofilia: as encadernações.
Trata-se de «A Biblioteca dos Sonhos» ... penso que é bem merecido este nome!
Espero que achem atractiva a consulta do catálogo e que este vos propicie alguns momentos de reflexão.
Quanto aos livros, talvez não teremos grandes tentações (ainda que tenha exemplares europeus com inegável interesse) mas teremos, de certeza, um guia de como se poderá começar a formar uma biblioteca.