The Harvard Classics


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 of this volume of outdated classics translations has chosen to transcribe a few Bible verses onto the title page warning against the damnation the Greek philosophical tradition brings in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.
[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

Gordon Jones
Submitted by: James Matiko

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam


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


“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

Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard


Author: Eleanor Farjeon
Title: Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard
Publisher: W. Collins SonsIMG_0760
Year of publication: 1924
Ownership: Spotted in bookstore
General comments: I found this in Ulysses Rare Books, located on Duke Street in Dublin, while roaming around the city on Bloomsday 2016. Martin Pippin is one of my favourite books and I was so excited to find this gorgeous (and unaffordable) hardback in the Children’s Literature section complete with an endpapers inscription that I took a couple of quick snapshots on my phone. Unfortunately the store manager then asked me to stop, so I had to look up the publication details online later. The picture of the cover is sourced from ebay, which also informs me that the binding is suede and that the endpapers in this edition were illustrated by C. E. Brock. The inscription is from Hamlet, III.ii.157-60, spoken by the Player Queen. Martin Pippin is a fable about love, so these lines seem curiously appropriate to me (and make me want to reread the book).
Transcription of inscription: martin pippin cover
[in pencil]

Now what my love is, proof hath made you know,
And as my love is siz’d, my fear is so:
Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;
Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.

Submitted by: Shalmi Barman

Rudyard Kipling’s Verse


Author: Rudyard Kipling
Title: The Definitive Edition of Rudyard Kipling’s Verse
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Year of publication: 1966 reprint
Place of publication: London
Ownership: Secondhand      kiplingfront
General comments: My husband, John Prescott, was a secondhand book seller and the house is full of books – both his own accumulations and books that were intended for the shop. I am now going through it all and selecting which books I want to keep and which should find a home where they will be read and loved.
This Kipling I shall probably keep because of its inscription. There was also a name (there is a vague B remaining), which has been rubbed out vigorously.
Transcription of inscription:
East is East and West is West
and never the twain shall meet

they didn’t: here’s the proof
B[rubbed out]

Submitted by: ariadne van de ven

De Gaulle: His Life and Work


Author: Nikolai Molchanov
Title: De Gaulle: His Life and Work
Publisher: Progress Publishers Moscow
Year of publication: 1985
Place of publication: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Translator: Sergei Syrovatkin
Place of purchase (by previous owner): Meerut
Ownership: Thirdhand or above/gift
General comments: A book passed on to me by a family friend. Beside the inscription
DSC_5023 on the cover, on the far right corner of the front flyleaf is a stamp of People’s Publishing House, New Delhi; it says ‘PAID’. Behind the Contents page a quote by Charles de Gaulle is scribbled. It reads: “In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.”
Transcription of inscription:
Asim Kumar Banerjee
Nauchandi Mela
12th April, 1996
Submitted by: Aritry Das