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The Oddment Emporium

A Cornucopia of Eclectic Delights

Posts tagged Book:

Le Livre Sans Titre

Le Livre Sans Titre, which translates as The Book Without a Title, is an 1830 French illustrated book warning against the harmful effects of masturbation. The book charts the steady degradation of its protagonist from a gentleman, ‘young, handsome; his mother’s fond hope’, to when, at the age of seventeen, he ‘expires, and in horrible torment,’ all thanks to ‘self-harm’ or masturbation.

The text in images two through to ten tells the story as so:

He was young, handsome; his mother’s fond hope… He corrupted himself! [and] soon he bore the grief of his error, old before his time… his back hunches… See his eyes once so pure, so brilliant; they are extinguished! A fiery band envelops them. Hideous dreams disturb his slumber…he cannot sleep… His hair, once so lovely, falls as if from old age;his scalp grows bald before his age… His chest collapses… he vomits blood… Pustules cover his entire body… He is terrible to behold! His entire body stiffens!… his limbs stop moving… At the age of 17, he expires, and in horrible torment.

Some pages from the book are missing from the post due to Tumblr’s image limit but the book can be seen in its entirety at the source link below.

[Source: Izismile]

The Accidents of Youth

consisting of short histories, calculated to improve the moral conduct of children, and warn them of the many dangers to which they are exposed.

The Accidents of Youth is an 1819 book published with the intention of alerting youths to the dangers that surround them. According the the author’s preface, addressed to the book’s youthful intended audience:

the inexperience and thoughtlessness natural [in children] exposes [them] to many dangers [thus] this book contains several instructive little histories, in which you will behold the misfortunes that arise from disobedience … you see you might often lame of kill yourself, if your good mamma or pappa did not guard most of your actions.

The author goes on to implore children not to forget that they can “play very well without climbing up to the window, on the furniture, or other improper places”, and asks, “Why should you play with the knife or the fire? and why put things into your mouth, with the risk of poisoning yourselves?”

Image One, as it says, demonstrates “The sad effects of climbing trees”, whilst Image Two illustrates a tale about a boy who played with a stray cat until the latter scratched the former “in the left eye, and burst it”. Image Three depicts a scene from the lamentable tale of a boy who threw stones at birds until the day one “struck [his mother] on the temple, which caused her imminent death”. Finally, the boy in Image Four is poor Anthony who fell and “hurt himself so frequently, that he thought nothing of it”, that is, until one day, he climbed upon the furniture and “fell backwards so forcibly, that he fractured his head, and died within a few hours”. 

There are many more examples in the book, which you can read in its entirety at The Public Domain Review.

Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
One year after graduating and moving back home to my parents’ house I have finally unpacked all my belongings, and in doing so I have uncovered this forgotten gem of a book, which I think is a little oddment in itself and I’d recommend to anyone with an interest in literature, history, mythology, folklore or anything of that sort!
It was first published in the late 19th century, aimed at people without a university education who wanted to understand literary allusions and the origins of phrases, however, it also included an array of other more curious features that have been amended and added to over the past century.
There’s a whole section dedicated to the first lines in classical literature, for example, as well as explanations about all manner of fictional characters, historical figures and events; pages dedicated Zodiac signs and how to read palms, as well as an extensive list of the ‘Cries of Animals’. If you want to know the name of ‘Achilles’ wife,’ there’s an entry for that! Need a list of historical witches or court jesters? There are entries for those! Curious about ‘The Fat Boy of Peckham’? Fear not, there’s an entry for that too!  Anyway, any dictionary that includes definitions of ‘Acid Bath Murders,’ ‘Quidditch,’ and ‘A Tub of Naked Children’ is doing it right as far as I’m concerned! 
Concerning the first edition of the book, it has been said that “Some entries seem so trivial as to be hardly worth including”, and I think that’s still true of the later edition I have, but that’s exactly what makes it marvelous! 

Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

One year after graduating and moving back home to my parents’ house I have finally unpacked all my belongings, and in doing so I have uncovered this forgotten gem of a book, which I think is a little oddment in itself and I’d recommend to anyone with an interest in literature, history, mythology, folklore or anything of that sort!

It was first published in the late 19th century, aimed at people without a university education who wanted to understand literary allusions and the origins of phrases, however, it also included an array of other more curious features that have been amended and added to over the past century.

There’s a whole section dedicated to the first lines in classical literature, for example, as well as explanations about all manner of fictional characters, historical figures and events; pages dedicated Zodiac signs and how to read palms, as well as an extensive list of the ‘Cries of Animals’. If you want to know the name of ‘Achilles’ wife,’ there’s an entry for that! Need a list of historical witches or court jesters? There are entries for those! Curious about ‘The Fat Boy of Peckham’? Fear not, there’s an entry for that too!  Anyway, any dictionary that includes definitions of ‘Acid Bath Murders,’ ‘Quidditch,’ and ‘A Tub of Naked Children’ is doing it right as far as I’m concerned! 

Concerning the first edition of the book, it has been said thatSome entries seem so trivial as to be hardly worth including”, and I think that’s still true of the later edition I have, but that’s exactly what makes it marvelous! 

Fore-Edge Painting

Fore-edge paintingis the technique of painting the edges of the leaves of a book. From 1650 onward
binders practiced a new decorative method of fore-edge painting: floral scrolls or scenes were painted upon the fanned-out fore-edge of the leaves and concealed by a normal gilt edge when the book was closed; 
they became visible only when it was opened. This decorative device was continued 
in the 18th century, but by the late 19th century had begun to wane in popularity. 

Thomas H. Horne, in his 1814 “Introduction to the Study of Bibliography,” gives credit to the Edwards of Halifax bindery for creating a “method of gilding … and decorating the edges of the leaves with exquisite paintings.” The Edwards firm was founded by William Edwards (1723-1808) and Horne says that he has seen “landscapes thus executed with a degree of beauty and fidelity that are truly astonishing, and when held up to the light in an oblique direction, the scenery appears as delicate as in the finest productions of the pencil.”

There were also the more elaborate double fore edge paintings, in which the fore edge hides not one but two paintings, one appearing when the leaves are fanned to the left, the other when they are fanned to the right. The split fore-edge painting reveals both scenes at once when the volume is laid open at the middle, as in the central image above.

Stately homes and ruins – whether classical or medieval – were popular subjects [then] Later in the 19th century, fore-edge artists turned to more natural, everyday scenes, such as views of docks or harbor fronts, busy with activity and enlivened by the presence of workers. Less common were scenes like the winter scene, bare branches being much more tedious to paint than green, leafy clouds of trees. The imaginative design[s], rich detail, and expert execution indicate artist[s] of the highest skill. [Source]

(Source: dictionary.reference.com)

Tolkien’s The Father Christmas Letters

The Father Christmas Letters is a collection of letters written and illustrated by J. R. R. Tolkien between 1920 and 1942 for his children, from “Father Christmas”. The stories are told in the format of a series of letters, told either from the point of view of Father Christmas or his elvish secretary.

They document the misadventures of Father Christmas and his helpers, including the North Polar Bear and his two sidekick cubs, Paksu and Valkotukka. The stories include descriptions of the massive fireworks that create the northern lights and how Polar Bear manages to get into trouble on more than one occasion.

The 1939 letter has Father Christmas making reference to the Second World War, while some of the later letters featured Father Christmas’ battles against Goblins which were subsequently interpreted as being a reflection of Tolkien’s views on the German Menace.

Advent Calendar of Oddments 2012: December 9th

(Source: Wikipedia)

"Whatsoever is perfect in its kind, in literature, is imperishable: nobody can imitate it successfully, nobody can hope to produce its fellow; it is perfect, it must and will stand alone: its immortality is secure. … One cannot open this book anywhere and not find richness." - Mark Twain

English As She Is Spoke

English as She Is Spoke is the common name of a 19th-century book written by Pedro Carolino and falsely additionally credited to José da Fonseca, which was intended as a Portuguese-English conversational guide or phrase book, but is regarded as a classic source of unintentional humour, as the given English translations are generally completely incoherent. Carolino added Fonseca’s name to the book without the latter knowing about it, presumably to lend credibility to it as Fonseca had previously written a successful Portuguese-French phrase book.

The humour appears to be a result of dictionary-aided literal translation, which causes many idiomatic expressions to be translated wildly inappropriately. For example, the Portuguese phrase chover a cântaros is translated as raining in jars, whereas an idiomatic English translation would be raining buckets.

More examples can be seen above and the entire book can be read here. Images nicked from here.

(Source: Wikipedia)

The Infant Jesus in a Baby Walker
The Holy Family at Work … From the Book of Hours of Catherine of Clèves, containing the prayers and litanies of the Mass in Latin, decorated with 157 lavishly colored and gilded illuminations by the Dutch artist, the Clèves Master, c. 1440, in Gothic style.”

The Infant Jesus in a Baby Walker

The Holy Family at Work … From the Book of Hours of Catherine of Clèves, containing the prayers and litanies of the Mass in Latin, decorated with 157 lavishly colored and gilded illuminations by the Dutch artist, the Clèves Master, c. 1440, in Gothic style.”

Freaks, Swindlers, Murderers and Eccentrics

A 200-year-old book illustrating ‘freaks, swindlers, murderers and eccentrics’ of the 19th century, such as an Irish Giant and a Hairy Girl, has been discovered. The book is a complete listing of all the ‘wonders, curiosities and rarities of nature’ known to man in 1808 in this Georgian-type freak show display. Entitled The New Wonderful Museum and Extraordinary Magazine, its pages are filled with images and descriptions of a variety of society’s outcasts. While considered politically incorrect by most today, the book was popular in England because it provided evidence of things thought of as folklore.

[More on Peter the Wild Boy here]

(Source: Daily Mail)

A Gentleman’s Library

One of the biggest private ‘gentleman’s libraries’ has been revealed, containing first editions from some of Britain’s most celebrated authors. The 4,000 book collection is the result of the life-long passion of lawyer, businessman and historian William Forwood, who died last year aged 84.

The sale, titled ‘A Gentleman’s Library’, is being held at the Cotswold auction house where Mr Forwood, who claimed to have read every page, bought some of his volumes. Interest is expected from all over the world in the collection which includes Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot and William Thackeray.

Auctioneer Dominic Winter said: ‘It is rare for a single library this size and of this importance to come up for sale. 'It is an old fashioned library that encompasses all that a well brought-up young man should know about.

(Source: Daily Mail)

Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos
Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos was a book that contained a game in which players had to read the snippet for each letter of the alphabet as fast as they could without making a mistake. Alternatively, several players could read the snippets in a staggered manner. The snippets for each letter contain tongue-twisting mock-Latin names whose content is cumulatively appended at the end of each new letter snippet.
The following is the snippet for the letter O:

ODDS NIPPERKINS! cried Mother Bunch on her broomstick, here’s a to-do! as Nicholas Hotch-potch said, Never were such times, as Muley Hassan, Mufti of Moldavia, put on his Barnacles, to see little Tweedle gobble them up, when Kia Khan Kreuse transmogrofied them into Pippins, because Snip’s wife cried, Illikipilliky! lass a-day! ‘tis too bad to titter at a body, when Hamet el Mammet, the bottlenosed Barber of Balasora, laughed ha! ha! ha! on beholding the elephant spout mud over the ‘Prentice, who pricked his trunk with a needle, as Dicky Snip, the tailor, read the proclamation of Chrononhotonthologos, offering a thousand sequins for taking Bombardinian, Bashaw of three tails, who killed Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos.

Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos

Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos was a book that contained a game in which players had to read the snippet for each letter of the alphabet as fast as they could without making a mistake. Alternatively, several players could read the snippets in a staggered manner. The snippets for each letter contain tongue-twisting mock-Latin names whose content is cumulatively appended at the end of each new letter snippet.

The following is the snippet for the letter O:

ODDS NIPPERKINS! cried Mother Bunch on her broomstick, here’s a to-do! as Nicholas Hotch-potch said, Never were such times, as Muley Hassan, Mufti of Moldavia, put on his Barnacles, to see little Tweedle gobble them up, when Kia Khan Kreuse transmogrofied them into Pippins, because Snip’s wife cried, Illikipilliky! lass a-day! ‘tis too bad to titter at a body, when Hamet el Mammet, the bottlenosed Barber of Balasora, laughed ha! ha! ha! on beholding the elephant spout mud over the ‘Prentice, who pricked his trunk with a needle, as Dicky Snip, the tailor, read the proclamation of Chrononhotonthologos, offering a thousand sequins for taking Bombardinian, Bashaw of three tails, who killed Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos.

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