1inpackl'ng .

:Nfy Library
.A 1.tllk: abot.lt Book. CoUecfin9


i !, 1 am unpacking nw library. Yes, 1 am. The books Ire not yet on thor; shelves, not yet touched by the mild boredom of order. 1 cannot much. up and down their ranks to p:l1>S them in review before I friendlv audience. You need not fear anv of char, 111stead, I must ask you ro join me in the disorder 'of crates thar have hem wrenched open, the air saturated with rhe dust of wood. the floor covered with tum paper, to join me :among piles of volumes th:lt are st::~ing daylight ::l.gain after rwo yean of darkness, so that you In:Iy be ready to share with me a bit of the mood-ir is certainly not an dcgiac mood but, rather, one of anticiparion-cwhich these buuks arouse in a genuine collector. For such a man is speaking to you, and on closer scrutiny fie prove!> to he speaking only about himself. ,"Vould it nOE be presumptuous of me if, in order tu appear convincingly objective and down-toearth, I enumerated fur yun the main secrions or prize pieces: of a library, if 1 presented yuu with their history or even their usefulncs.,o; o a writer? 1, for one, have In mind :something less 011t scure, something more palpahle than char. what I am really concerned with is giving you some insigh( into the rdatiumhip of





it may he surrnised how rhe grelH phy:.itcs his possessions. Spinoza's Etbit:s.·eI)7(hing remembered and thollghr.cation and the form~t of hOO!'5. wd!: to a . from wuching things to giving them names.r{:g~J:"d this as :I.ings as. These are the verv areas in which anv order is a balancing act IJf extreme precariomness:_ "ThE!"only u. So much for the magic. the frame. collecting is only one prOl!~~ of renewal. a gme:r:d Statement nbout books. after :111. "is rhe knowledge of the date of publ.rhi[~ry./jofl. to .i. becomes the pedestal.my other procedure is merelv a Jam ~galll:lit the sprmg tick of mCll~.. [ might rue Habenr sua [ata libdli. r him. d loves rbcrn as. collector of older hooks. Thus there is . How do books cross the threshold of a collection and become the property of 3 collectors The history of their acquisition is the subject of the following remarks. But e~ery[hiag Slid from 6t jl I (io . something about which we _~h:'!..11 have more to . One has only watch a collector handle the objects in his gla"ijS case.' said Anatole France. A c this point manv of you will remember with pleasure the Jarge library which Jof:a~ Paul's puur little schoolmaster Wurz gradually acquired by writing.. pll5:Ses over rhern. his exi . or of those who in OrLkT to acq\lil:'e them became criminals. rnaY .srcnce i~ tied (0 manv other th.these words rnav have: been intended as. relationship to objects which d-L1e:511m emphasize their functional... the fate.-_'"his or .:c knowledge there Is. Y ou. If I Ju this by elaborating on the various W<lj'S ()~ . tin: lock uf his pwpcny_ The period.~ of collecrinc .r. rhen.in the life of 3 collector a dialectical tension hetween (he poles of disorder and order." An~ indeed. old-age image. he contcmpl. rhc former ownership-Tor II True collector the whole ha(:kground of an in .islSf the world of objects=turn inro interpreters of o fate.S U1lP~cki71g My ['ihf"i!1'Y W a LU()k collector to his possessions.a lso. however.. in this sense.~ay 1~1:er. .1\'at\lully. Every passion borders on the l'h~util" bLlt the cullcctor's passion borders on the chaos of rnemones. the: thrill of acquisition.'e:ry mysterious relationship to ownership. ladies an d ge nrlerncn. the 5tOlge. A~ he holds rheui in his hands. of their-» n fate. himself. So b~oks like The f)win(? CO'1l/. he seems to he sedng thro~!gh them into their Ji~tant pas[ as though inspired. I am no.vhich habir has accommodared itself to such an extent (h:H ir can appear :1~ order> You have all heard Qf people whom the loss of their hooks has turned into invalids. their usefulness=bur studies . that sutfuse the past before lny t)'es ure conspicuously prt'=~mt ...nship."d side of the collector-chis call it. but because they arc dissatisfied with the books which rhev could buy bur cl u nor like. rhe crafrsm . interprets this Latin s(l. To renew the old world=that is the culleC't{}r'~ deepest desire when he is driven ro acquire new things. utilitarian value-zhar is. inro (ollcctLng rather than a collection. with his U'Io¥TI. In. e". And. this circumscribed area.·erythITlg conscions. .IC:~ till iring books. Writh ers are really people who write books not because tJ-u:y are poor.. E. collection. the base. than the acquircr of luxury editions.ngc of childlike modes of acquisition.Illmnin.toward any collector :1. ThLS is the childlikc clement which in a collector mingles wirh the element of old age. writing them oneself is r~g~rJ(:d as (he most praiseworthy method. :tIl the works whose titles interesre ] him in bookfair catalogues. whimsical definition of a writer. orics which ~W'g-t::. the most important fare of a cop)' is irs encuunrer with him.ying differently.\1ore than char: the chance. OTher proce:sse~ are the painting of objects. Fer what is this collection bur a disorder to .iQgn(.. cxaggnating when I say (hat to a true collector the acquisition of un old book is its rebirth.(:dy.. the application of dccals=rlie whole r<l.. The most profound cnchanrmenr for the collecmr J~ the h. Of ali the ways: of acquiring books. this is something emirely <l. {he: cutting om of figures. the scene. Fur children call accomplish the renewal of existence in a hundred llrli:lihng way~.. mi adds up to :. and The Origin of Specl{?$ have their fates. e could not afford to I)IJ\. nor onlv books hur abo copies of books have o their fates.:king of individual items within it magic circle in which they arc fixed as the final thrill. and rhur is Viihy :I.in the accustomed confusion of th:se bO(lKS..L m'lgic encyclopedia whose quintessence is the fate of his object. is closer to the wdhprjnc:.. Among children. A collector. them. if there is a counterpart to the confusion of a lib ra I).lmi~ts-an~l collectors are the phy~LO~TIlom. rhe rl:g-ion. It is {he order of its caralcguc.

the one most apprupl'itlre to . and the like: all these details must tell impenetrable and at the same time uniquely itself. from the publl~hers ar that time. the most remote stationcrv store . rn..f ear which he turns to [Ill reminders from the e~:€ryd. rhe oldcsr thill:g in the \. when v no book . v it seemed in S .:. 'Veil. Suddenly the ~111ph. place names.:~hop china everv d:l\'~" . Dares. J IJbmilMdom Unp..l y by a srudent getting a rext book. namclv.phere.malwilj which could still he obtained. namely Lines Miircbenbucn-.. for instance. A( the eleventh hour I senr my first ...~.. Collectors arc people with a tactical instinct. This . Crimma was.....a book collector has vny little in common with that doric in . but also happy finds.. 3. li' bran. as its milirnn: t~gc.. a man JS IlLOl'~ ~ikcly tu return ~ hLHI("fw~d nook upon occasnm than ro read It."'5 from C::J talogues must have Ihir in addition to the qualities I have mentioned.. At !eJ~t rhis 15 h. The purchasing done by. djrlg. that I once ordered a hook with colored illustra(ions fur mv old collection of children's books only because it contained fairv tales by Albert Ludwig G. I have P~( rhe right to such ~1Il attirurlc W the test. Yo()U may sav. or. For n:-<tL~: tor at h~aSl rhe firsc third of its existence. With irs sixteen illustrations my .lS published a~ Grimrna. or a businessman . utalogues p~ay a far greater put. WI:L"(:" diHic~llt to obtain. orld. .ly-::1ftel" E:Xpluring all these Lyw:t.y~.bo the place (If publication uf a book of fables edited hy the same A lberr Ludwig Crimm.co~~btcd of no more rhan ['. Thuringia. which is always somewhat hy J use vour St:Yn:o.of hooks.I who hu .YO or chrce shelves which increa~cd only bv inches each vear. "And you havr c read ~11I these boob. I dou'r S. If my· bv experient:~ may'scr\.).itzcrlund.. my reaction to the consonance of the names had been cnrrec r. u philistine who urlmircd his library and then ti. a mart of the world buying a presem: for his lady. himself to be an lu vererure COUc~tDl' ot books rHH so much bv rhe [ervor with which he guarJ~ b.:'lsis shifted: b ooks acq\I.() yQlL Imy. The acquisition of books is hy no means a rnarter of money or expert knowledge alone.1 b(ln!.. AIl)'onc rum . And the nonrc ...~nmc-e gn\. J remember... at any rate... bindings. we should finallv reach the wide high" . was able to ~e~urc ay such irreplaceable items as Der blilWl Reiter and Bachofcn's . I have made my most memorable purchases on uip~ as a transient. the smallest antique shop can be a fortress. work which has remained unknown to his bibliographers and which deserves a more derailed reference rhan this first one I am introducinq here.rimm and W.e as evidence. [ might never have acquired .. The: hook borrower uf real srsturc WhO~ll we em"L:'.. m31Qr hook orders Irorn rhere and in this ". \Vdl~:.chJr~ctcmuc of ojH~ct[tn? Thi~ is news [Q me. It is nor news at all...:opy of [his book of i]tJles was the only extant example of the earlv work of [he great Germal1 hook illustrator Lyser.... their e:>:pe:nc-ncc teaches them that when t:ht:y caprure ~ stnnge city. This is indeed a wide highway.-ay of Luok -:JC"qULS!tlOn.lge here prove:.msheJ \ v ith the ~t'Lml~l'd liU{!~1jl1n. Not even both factors rogerher sufflee {Of (he establishment of a J"c11 library.rrific~rion that I ~s had not read it. Time.l. Property and possession belong to [he tactical !.t key position.lYS remains ~ surprise and the order always a hit of a gamble..LT~d rca] value.clti.. Sutlice i~ro 'llHm: the answer which AntH(JIc . How many cities have revealed themselves to me in the marches I undertook in the pursuit uf books! My no means all of the most important purchases arc made on the pr-emises of a dealer. who lived in Hamburg around the middle of the last ccnrnrv.:I collector would be the borrowing of a book wirh its attendcnt non-returning. should he .{ My Ub~<1Tl the ansle of u real collector is whimsical... And even though the purchaser may be thoroughly acquainted with the book ordered from a catalogue.wed l(l enr~r ir without the n'. Of rhe cuswm~ry modes ~uf :'H. ··Jncidcntallv.1 rressures and ~ the de<l.1Qn T. :\·hm~~eur Fram::t:?" "Not one-tenth of them.. lihr~lry extcnsive enough W 1)1..tv world of legality a:o> his failure to read these h(HIk.Ilr. but ru')t <I comforruble (lone.. you will object. :.. There are grievous disappoinrmenrs. the purch u~jng of hooks.1l. t(.\'lg~ ~I.1:5 orrowc.in~-c:nJing to while away his next train journey. the individual copy ::IIW. formats. ill this case tOO I discovered the work of Lyscr..:worthy of the name if there had nor been an inflation.LlppO~l" DI.quisirion. previous owners. Experts will hesr me out "\yhcn l say that it is.

somewhat highcr "mount..nough head to avoid being C. Emil Hirsch remained unconcerned. vhich the first owner bought rhe hook over ninety yean ago for one-eightieth of roday's price. in addirion tu keeping a CO(l) 1'. eternity seeming (0 separate each from the next-sand proceeded ro add the :J." it S:ij-'s. rhat particular volume had inspired in me the ardent desire to hold on to it fnrever. gentleman in the frunt row who seemed onlv to ha vc wsired for mv bid to counter with his own. To .xmem~ aus dcm Nacblass eines jrw~efj l'hy.raising his bid-eucre tn assert himself than to acquire the book On the other hand. the [arncus Mun!(::h co]lector Baron von Sin~o~in. hut even the label of the shop in . It was the rare FrJ. with no om: really paying attention. Ai. Place de Ia Bourse.m de {:hawin was preceded by a complete set of its illustrations printed separately on lndia paper.wanted to sa.'":)y ill the competitill'o. A fine -age in which it W:lS still possible to buy such a de luxe edition ar :l stutioncrv dealer's! The steel !. A man who wishes to participate at <In auction must pay equal attention t-o the book and to his comperirors. able tQ reoCognLzc whether a bonk is for him or nor.. VOIl see. and ail those pre:y:nt were quire excited. It is a frequent occurrence ch-at someone gets. with an el.. much less a wishful look....l book collector. Flanneau.mom L'1lp. grf::~tly interested in this set. The edition in question appeared in [~38 in Paris. author-editor tells {he swry of his life in the guist of an ohituarv for Ius supposedly deceased unnamed frien u-. the true freedom of all books is somewhere on his ~hervc!'. in the sequence of the auction this (_.gravings of this bonk were designed by rh~ foremost French grrtphic arrisr and executed by the foremost engravt:n." of (he auction came.. Hilt I was going to tell yuu how l acquir-ed this book I had gom: ro Emil Hirsch's for an advance inspection arid had handled forty or fifty volumes. isolated facts.I)pr of Lll Fc. he proceeded to the next item. After this had been repeated several times. but as 9..thing-dm as dry.1. [~ happened last year at a Berlin suction.. (. one: of the finest memories of :t collector is the moment when he rescued a b-ook to which he might never have given a thought. but he had rival bidders. but each time I noticed :I... !~ can . Without arousing (he bidders' attention. To the reader of <I ca'. hut 1 have ~I.lc~iD!l_This happened in 191 S at the Rurnann auction pur up by Emil Hirsch. "Papeterie I. in short.IU~min. l'hc collection o( books thar was offered was a miscellany in quality and subject marrcr.1.llogue the book itself must speak. diagu!l~lly across from me sat the man who was the [ocus of all eyes at the: first bid. und with my heart pounding and with the full realization that 1 was unable to compete with any· of those hig collectors 1 bid :1. in which the ~ys.n. never hccn reprmred. Nn one seemed to have e):p~cted such ~ high figurc. because he found it louely and abandoned on the market place and h{)ught i~ to give it' its freedom(be "'<ly the prince bought a beautiful slave girl ill The Ari1bi.uctioneer\: charge. and whether he. om: of the greate~t (1( book experts and most disringuishcd of dealers...a_cki:ng My Ub~3rJ som1'.. stuck with a hlgh purchase price because he kepe . He was. ru I pick up my cop)" 1 set': nor only its number in the Rumann collection.. For :I stud em like me the sum was stili considerable.red to wp any offer. ·e time or was guilled oy some other consideration..m Nigbts. Balzac's Pesu de chagrin stands out from long rows of French volumes in mv librarv as a memento of my moot exciting experience at an :l1.·idently prep. An auction requires yct: another set of qualities in II collector. 1 hid for a number of them.TClCd ~\I. from the quali[)" and intensity of rhis harmony he must he. J gav~ up an hope of ~cquiring the book which I was most interested in rhat J~V". chance would have it. and I prefer to speak about anorher incident which 1 should like to the negative of an aucrion.. To this day. e. whum he is vith I.. The: J:f1. considered its preface. harmonious whole. and only a number of rare works on occultism and natural philosophy were worthy of note. or pm!>ibly its previous ownership if the provenance of the copy has been established. there was a spirircd ccntest which resulted in the highc!!01: bid of the entire auction-Tar in excess of three thousand marks. The following morning at the pawoshop is no longer part (If this story.ikc:rs [Posthumous Fragments of a Young Physicist I which Juh ann Wilhelm Ritter published in two volumes at Heidelberg in l81O_ This work has. the auctioneer went through the mU:J1 rontinI:-' 'D 0 l hear more ~" and rh rec uang~ of his gao". He called out the price. The bidders sat at a long table.

But.lL I contr olled m>. i • .<: wf~o li~'c5 in th:-1l1." For m5-lde 111m there are spirits.. But one thing should he noted: the phenom~n()n of collc{. the former location of onlv four Or f \. Thus it is.You should know that In ~:lylIlgthis I f~lIy reJlize that my dlscu~-Lon o~ the mental ~!i. do not belong in a book esse at a._ Sr. or ~H lessr little genii. as is only rirting_ • :I .isc to let several davs gn by.w111j~wavs be irs rransmissihilitv. it was simple ~nough: since my hid was bound to give the item to the other m·:IO..collector ~s he n. some pen. ' o I· I 6rI 67 ( I i JJ . nmning out: (or (he type that I am discussing here lind haw been represetlr~ng before you a bit ex Officio.1se:.<. For il .ln~ It was midn:ighr before 1 bad worked my way to the last cases. :.. _ ~_ow I OlIIl on the last half-emptied case and it is WJ~'" p'ls. only ~hen _J( !~ dark does the owl of . of Sil:. Danzig.l.tg steadily even today. Fven rh{lugh public collccrions m.cngut\ mlliity buok cellar in ~()rth Berlin.':Lsrence In the mask of Spirzweg's "Hookworm. ~nw I put my haf}d~ on two volum~ bound in faded hoards which.t sense. of night-what memories crowd in \lpOn you' Nothil1g highljgl-L's the~ fascination of unpacking rnore dearly than th_t di fflcul (y of stop pi [lg 1his :lctivi t y _ l had started at noon. before VOLI.clf and remained silenr. ruther. t~le attirude of an heir. and certainly pcriodir:al'l can form the PTLilll. and the book was pur aside. Once vou hav e :lpp roached the mountams of c~s U1 order to mine the books from them and hring them to The hght of day -or.CQ!lec~or's ~(t!tmle: t~~d his PQ~s~siom stems from an owner s feelmg of rCSpO[lS1~lhty toward his pruperty. ~ot t hat rhev come alive in him' j("_i~ 1.'C: ~ f rh e several thousand vO l11rues (h:. no bid. :md no one has lud .uf yuu I~ yQtH CO!1vlctmrl char this passion is behind the times..mctlOrl 15 the collector comprehended. t re bliss of [he collecror.They need not be sti. of rnv student's den in '\'hmich. But to get hack to those alhurns: Acrually. inheri ta nee is _the soundest wav of al:qniring a collection. Only m ex. 1 deerm:J it w. . Moscow.n:nce.about ~not thoughts hut im:ago. Naple«.md department and benefited by the lack of interest when 1 3<::ql1ired it. P ilcd LIp a~)U nd me.U~lp~cldng My Ubo1l'. I must not bid at <l.'Iiu:en copies of unol)t~ilHLle 1)()Ok~. others to hand wnnng facsimiles or typev. after . and finally of my hovhood room.00- ?E- victiun or your distrust. 1 found [he hook in the ~ec(lndh.!t two :thom with slick-in picmres which my mother pll-~t~d rn :3S a lh~~dal1~ which I inherited.sc!.r midnight. . memories of Rosenthal's sumptuous rooms in Munich. Nothing is further from my mind than to shake either your 01. fin me than the ones I am tlliking.There is no hving library that does not h~rbor a nllmher of booklike Crf!ltiolls from fringe areas. and when I appe:Jred on the pT'CnH~~s. I have uectcd" one of his riwdling~: v.~~(e uf cu~leering will l:Onhnn ~any . tt. i\kmurit:s of the ciTies in which I found so ma[lY things: Riga.:.l. Flu. The objects get their due only in the latter.\iunich. illrmrinaJfmt rcallv idenrical-:Js the mOS( impmtam ~ample of personal pru~ of GenTIan Romanricisrn.\1incrn. . ~:3.l. flight.:ly he less objccriomhlc s(}~IJlly and more useful academically than private collections.L honls as [he !lulldlng stones. I do know rhut rime is. of the D:.shed trait of a co!1~ctlun .ing ro disappear inside. which have seen to It rhar for a collectnr=and I mean a real collccror. III your distrust of the_ collector type.r clime about: no inrcrcst. s strictly speaking. mcruories of the rooms where these boob had been housed. What I had hoped l~-.Just as the item came up I h~ld a brain wave.ple.m7. memories. and now he i~ gn. begin its. in the h~ghe:. come attached to leaflets and pro~pect1.'l week. Other thoughts. Paris. Thev arc the seeds of a coUechon of ch!ldrm s books which is growi.ughr to bc--ownership is the most intimate relationship rlur one can have to objects.ilTStnekturrn where the late H 0 c •ans Rh:au~ was dom~cil~ri. and the most Jistingll.Jtic ffL~£es of_a library. f!'n:at~r sense of wellhemg than rhe !mn who has hem uble ro carry Of} his disrepurahle ~.ck-in ~!hllms or family 3lhums.:ttng_ loses its meaning as it loses its personal owner. :. of mv room in Hem. autograph bot1ks or portfolios cont[lif!ing pamphkts or religious rracts . though no longer In my gardefl.~as Hegel PUt it. bliss of the 1H:m ()i leisure: Of 110 one Ius k~~ been expcned. of the solitude of lseltwnld on rhe Lake of rhi~m.

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