Salmagundi Library Newsletter | Winter | 2023 | Book discoveries

written by Jay Barksdale

Dear Club members,
This is the fourth newsletter of the Salmagundi Library, and Jay Barksdale has kindly selected some books in  bookcase Z at the back of the library which he thought might be of interest to the membership.

I hope you will enjoy these book discoveries.

Alexander Katlan
Salmagundi Library Committee Chairman


Z2 may seem a shelf singularly devoid of books belonging in an art library. Then again, the founding members probably thought in a more inclusive manner. Of the twenty-eight books, half are a varied lot poetry and for 2023, unusual choices. True, there is Shelley (Z2-39), Oliver Wendell Holmes (-20), Kipling’s The Five Nations (19), and the Iliad (21) translated into blank verse by Derby, Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley, Earl of, 1799-1869 (whew!).

Here familiarity may end and obscurity begin : Ballads and poems relating to the Burgoyne campaign (01), The dove ; or, passages of cosmography; a poem (02), Love songs of France (14) and folk-lore of Roumanian peasants (09). From the genial Thomas Haynes Bayly, 19th century English poet, we enjoy two volumes of songs and ballads (15) and by Salmagundian Augustus George Heaton, d. 1930, artist, author and numismatist, a long dramatic poem The heart of David the psalmist-king (52). Poetry by two other Salmagundians are Maize and milkweed : fifty-two stalks (13) by Dan Cady, and Plum blossom scrolls : haiku (52), by Frank Ankenbrand, Jr.

Book, A.J. Hipkins, Musical instruments
Plate VII, Oliphant
Ivory horn, resting atop a belt
Book, Turner & Ruskin, Frederick Wedmore
Passage, Turner and Italy
Print, Ship out at sea with the sun over the horizon

Among the other books are lit crit of Washington Irving, Poe’s Helen (Sarah Helen Whitman, of some fame herself), Everyman and the Biblia pauperum both with woodcut illustrations. There are two true reference books: The Annals of English Literature from which we learn Moll Flanders enjoys its 300th anniversary this year, and The dictionary of American English usage. This, from 1957, is droll and fascinating, with articles on the long word, genteelism, the difference between essential, necessary, requisite, etc. Didacticism begins with a quote from Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister : ‘No mortal but is narrow enough to delight in educating others into counterparts of himself’. If you want to combat flabbiness in your own writing, come up to the Library to spend some time with Z2-06.

To see a catalog record or the online version, when available, of one of these books, the easiest way is to type Z2-01, Z2-09, etc. in the search box when on the Library page. If you wish to look at the entire shelf of books in all its dusty physicality, it will be on the central table in the Library until January 22; no gloves required.

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