The Harvard Classics

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Author: Various (Plato, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius)
Title: The Harvard Classics: Registered Edition
Publisher: Grolier Enterprises Corp.
Year of publication: 1980
Place of publication: Danbury, Connecticut, USA
Editor: Charles W. Eliot
Translators: Benjamin Jowett, Hastings Crossley, George Long
Place of purchase: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Purchase cost: CAD 10
Ownership: Thirdhand or above
General comments: Lest the reader be seduced by the wily ways of Socrates and his ilk, a previous owner (or just a crusading bookshelf browser?) of this volume of outdated classics translations has chosen to transcribe a few Bible verses onto the title page warning against the damnation the Greek philosophical tradition brings in its wake. This book was purchased on the campus of the University of Alberta in the autumn of 2014 at a used bookstore which no longer exists. It contains translations of three Platonic dialogues (the Apology, Crito, and Phaedo), the Golden Sayings of Epictetus, and the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. As indicated by the embossment in the bottom righthand corner of the page, this book was once owned by one Gordon L. Jones of Guelph, Ontario, a small city (~ 130,000 pop.) to the west of Toronto and home to the University of Guelph. How the book ended up in Edmonton, some 3,000 km away, is anyone’s guess.
Transcription:
[title page]
“Those who cling to worthless idols
forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”
Jonah 2:8

“See to it that no one takes you captive through
hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends
on human tradition and the basic principles
of this world rather than on Christ.”
Colossians 2:8

[embossment]
Gordon Jones
Submitted by: James Matiko

Tennyson/ Poems of 1842

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Author: Alfred Tennyson
Title: Poems of 1842
Publisher: Collin Publishers IMG_2160
Year of publication: London and Glasgow
Place of publication: 1968
Editor: Christopher Ricks
Place of purchase: College Street
Purchase cost: Rs. 200
Ownership: Secondhand
Transcription: 
[front cover]
Bhola Banerjee
23/8/68

[flyleaf]
Rs 25/-

Bhola Banerjee
Reader in English
Gauhati University
~Gauhati: 1968~
————————————
Submitted by: Isha Lahiri

Partisans

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Author: Alistair Maclean
Title: Partisans
Publisher: Fontana/Collins
Year of publication: 1988
Place of purchase: College Street, Kolkata
Purchase cost: Rupees 20
Ownership: Secondhand
General comments: On a day in autumn in 2013, while rummaging through the book stalls at Peary Charan Sarkar Street (College Street by lane), I was overjoyed to buy a handful of Alistair Maclean books each at 20 INR. In one of them I was delighted to find this.
Transcription of inscription:
Surajit Biswas.
Class-IX
1989.

Be never too young, never too old
always strong enough
to live and love and inquire
ever loving,
always kind.
May life share its many blessings
with you,
and may its burdens be ever light
The wind at your back,
the sun in your soul,
and our love in your heart
now and forever.
For you and your Daddy,
my heart ever yours,
my love and my life
yours forever.
Submitted by: Agniva Roychowdhury

The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor

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Author: Gabriel García Márquez IMG_20170422_203201
Title: The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor
Publisher: Penguin
Year of publication: 1996
Place of publication: New Delhi
Translator: Randolph Hogan
Ownership: Secondhand
General comments: Found in the mixed collection of Toopsi Ray and her daughter, Meghna. Toopsi says she bought this book secondhand to give to Kim, her husband at the time. The copy as she found it already had the first inscription. When her intended recipient didn’t seem to enjoy the book, Toopsi says she simply inscribed it to herself and took possession.
Transcription of inscriptions:
[primary inscription]
Happy Birthday
Shillong

[secondary inscription, lighter impression]
TOOPSIE
2007
Submitted by: Toopsi Ray, via Shalmi Barman

Tales of Mystery and Imagination

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Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Title: Tales of Mystery and Imagination img_20170129_154541
Publisher: Everyman’s Library
Year of publication: 1971
Place of publication: London
Editor: Introduction by Pádraic Colum
Place of purchase: Kolkata
Ownership: Secondhand
General comments: This book was bought by Devalina di at the Kolkata Book Fair 2017. She told me that it was very unlikely she would read it, given the punishingly small print, but Poe is always a good purchase and even more so when the cover art and inscriptions are as interesting as these.
Transcription of inscription:
[flyleaf]
(illustration of four hearts) 10
EVERY B

[title page] img_20170129_154635
1975.
To Ruma from herself.

[Introduction, p. v]
A memorable day The 17th, and a happy day to.
Submitted by: Devalina Mookerjee, via Shalmi Barman

Growth and Structure of the English Language

20161201_200242-minAuthor: Otto Jespersen
Title: Growth and Structure of the English Language 20161201_200355-min
Publisher: Basil Blackwell
Year of publication: 1962
Place of publication: Oxford
Ownership: Borrowed from library
General comments: This book was found by Sujaan in the Ruby Chatterji collection of the Department of English, Jadavpur University.
Transcription of inscription:
Gopal Krishna Gandhi
r.d[?] New Delhi (from Oxford)
January 10, 1966.
Submitted by: Sujaan Mukherjee

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

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There are certain differences between the text of the Rubaiyat quoted here and the quatrain mentioned in contemporary texts.

 

Author: Omar Khayyam
Title: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Publisher: Collins Clear Type Press
Place of publication: Great Britain
Translator: Edward Fitzgerald
Place of purchase: Sunday Market, Ahmedabad
Purchase cost: Rupees 50
Ownership: Secondhand
General comments: Here’s images of a lovely edition of the Rubaiyat I came across at a flea market in Ahmedabad . The date of publishing is unknown, but given by the inscription, it could be anytime around Independence.
The verse  printed below is in Farsi, and was read out to me by the bookseller. 🙂
Transcription, transliteration, and translation of inscription:
[endpaper recto]
B. Salima
26.7.48

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“A potter thumping his wet clay, and with its all obliterated tongue it murmured, ‘Gently brother, gently pray.'”

ناکرده گنه در این جهان کیست بگو
آن کس که گنه نکرد چون زیست بگو
من بد کنم و تو بد مکافات دهی
پس فرق میان من و تو چیست بگو

(‘Na kardah gunah dar aen jahan kest bago
An kis keh gunah na karden zest bago
Man bad-kanam o tu bad-makafat dahi
Pes farq meyaan man o tu chest bago’

‘Who is the man who here below has not committed
sin; can you say? Had he not committed it, could he
have lived, can you tell? If, because I do evil, you
punish me for evil, what then is the difference between
you and me, can you say?’
– cited, transcribed, and transliterated by our friend Arshdeep; quatrain 356 of the Rubaiyat, Edward Fitzgerald’s translation)

[endpaper verso]
(‘When you prostrated yourself on the ground, a sound rose from the ground
You have ruined me, your prostration is duplicitous.’
– translated by our friends Tania and Zeinab, transliteration and citation would be appreciated)

[brown tape on binding of title page]
‘Mohammed Salim’ repeated four times – perhaps evidence of another owner of the book.
Submitted by: Niharika Joshi

Jibananda Das-er Sreshtha Kabita [Jibanananda Das’s Finest Poems]

20160813_16122720160813_161155Author: Jibanananda Das
Title: Jibananda Das-er Sreshtha Kabita [Jibanananda Das’s Finest Poems]
Year of publication: 1984
Place of publication: Kolkata
Ownership: Not in ownership; seen in Golpark
General comments: Spotted at a Golpark secondhand book shop.
Transcription of inscription:
শ্রী প্রভাতকুমার বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়
[Sri Prabhat Kumar Bandyopadhyay]
02.02.98
Submitted by: Sujaan Mukherjee

Tenida Samagra [The Collected Teni-da]

20160813_161311Author: Narayan Gangopadhyay
Title: Tenida Samagra [The Collected Teni-da]
Editor: Pranab Kumar Mukhopadhyay
Publisher: Ananda
Place of publication: Kolkata
Ownership: Not in ownership; seen in Golpark
General comments: Spotted this emphatic statement of possession at a Golpark secondhand book shop. Three names written with mixed scripts (bangla and Roman) are written: Imon, Arka, Arnab. But it appears the claim has been made by Imon who has traced a dotted line from the statement, ‘The one and only owner of this book is’, down to his own name. Most appropriate for a Teni-da book, no?
Transcription of inscription:
এই বইটির একমাত্র অধিকারী…
ই M অন
অ R ক
A র N ব
Submitted by: Sujaan Mukherjee

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

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Author: Douglas R. HofstadterIMG_0515
Title: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Publisher: Basic Books
Year of publication: 1999 (twentieth anniversary edition)
Place of publication: New York
Place of purchase: Chennai
Ownership: Firsthand
General comments: Avinash tells me he bought this book in Chennai, when he had gone there to study mathematics after school. When he promptly returned to Calcutta to study English he brought the book with him and it got soaked during one rainy day on the Jadavpur University campus. By this time he was very fond of the book, water-warped pages and all, and inscribed the following in it before lending it to Sohini Banerjee, a classmate.
As an aside, I, your humble archiver, might note that Avinash gifted me a copy of this book years later on a particular birthday, with warm recommendations and an interesting inscription therein too.
Transcription of inscription:
THIS DILAPIDATED DELIGHT IS THE PROPERTY OF AVINASH ANTONY. THE PAGES HAVE BEEN DOG-EARED AND DIRTIED WITH A LOT OF CARE AND AFFECTION. PLEASE DON’T HURT THIS BOOK, THERE’S A LOT THAT SHE CAN TEACH YOU.
MAKE SURE THAT HER PAGES DON’T GET LOOSE. AND IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND – TRY AND TRY AGAIN.
Submitted by: Avinash Antony, via Shalmi Barman