Whenever I buy a book, I feel an irresistible urge to write my name on the fly-leaf. Sometimes I need to tell myself that this mark of possession will only be allowed after I’ve read up to a certain point. When I am gifting a book to someone, the pleasure is as much in writing on it as it is in the actual handing-over. It makes the book so much more than just one of the so-many-thousand copies sold.
Much later these scribblings, these inscriptions, remind us of what that particular moment must have been like: what relationship was shared? why was this particular book chosen as a fitting gift? It may be something someone gave you; but it could as well be a gift exchanged between two complete strangers, say a book that you picked up from a second-hand bookshop. (Or a book that you borrowed from some and never returned.)
What we are trying to do at EndPapers is to create a collection–a collection made by and for you (but also a little bit for us)–of such records in books. They may be in any language, in any script. And it need not be restricted to gift-inscriptions. If you find someone’s notes, like Christopher Columbus’s annotations in a copy of Marco Polo’s Travels, that will also do.
We heartily thank Prof. Abhijit Gupta (Department of English, Jadavpur University) for the name and Aritra Chakraborti for allowing us to use his photograph as our header image.
And finally, who we really are:
Hi, I’m Anushka and I completed my M.A. in English at Jadavpur University in 2014. I decided to take a year off to get some work experience and spend some more time in Kolkata, and now hope to start my Ph.D. next year. I was exposed to the culture of secondhand books rather late in life—too late to see College Street in its prime, but fell in love with Golpark’s collection, which has also been the source of some of my favourite gifts.
Shalmi is in her final year of a Masters degree in English Literature from Jadavpur University with no clear idea of what the future holds. Her interests include modernism in literature, Greek classicism, arguing with people about feminism, and collecting more books than she can ever read. She has met some of the most important people in her life through blogs and would be glad if you said hello.
Hello, I am Sujaan and I pursuing my PhD at the Department of English, Jadavpur University. I have been working on urban studies but there are very many things in the world that keep me in a constant state of distraction. Other interests include the physical cultures, feminism, modernist studies and books. I also wish we had decided earlier whether we should write the bios in the first or third person.