AE Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2006 Issue

A Joint Catalogue from Europe Features Colors, Variety

Joe1

A joint catalogue from Frits Knuf Antiquarian Books and Antiquariatt Papyrus.


By Michael Stillman

For the second month in a row, we have received a cooperative catalogue from multiple European booksellers. We don't know whether this is some sort of trend, but the idea of splitting costs in half, while circulating to double mailing lists, doesn't sound like a bad idea. It will be interesting to see whether more of these appear. This month, the joint catalogue was published by French bookselling firm Frits Knuf Antiquarian Books and Antiquariaat Papyrus of the Netherlands.

This is not a catalogue which can be easily categorized as it covers a variety of fields. Indeed, most of the listings in what is headed Joint Catalogue 1 are under the category of "varia." We will have to let that do as a description. However, there is a special section devoted to "books about colours." This group is more specific. Here are a few of the offerings from these two booksellers.

One of the more intriguing, and certainly ironic, types of books are those that tell you what books you may not read. There is something wonderfully contradictory about this concept. As if Mexican's didn't have enough other problems to deal with in 1807, Nos los Inquisidores Apostolicos contra la Heretica pravedad... informed them that there were 52 books they could not read because of heresy. A work by Diderot was forbidden because it contained false propositions, heresy, atheism, and blasphemy, and was scandalous, obscene and hateful towards religion, monarchs, and civil magistrates. It also contained subversive and revolutionary ideas, which must have been particularly unwelcome by authorities at the dawn of the Mexican Revolution. Another work was condemned because it insulted the popes and monarchs, made fun of miracles, and caricatured religious practices and ceremonies. Yet another was denounced for being a fraudulent translation of an acceptable work. One can see in these censures fear of challenge to authority more than fear of people misunderstanding religious doctrines. Item 10. Priced at €2,350 (Euros, or approximate equivalent of US $2,980).

Here is another list of books you may not read: Index Librorum Prohibitorum, published in Rome in 1761. This was the latest in a line of such indexes first published by the Catholic Church in 1557, in response to the Reformation and the relatively new technology of printing, which made the written word widely accessible. The indexed books were condemned for such transgressions as heresy, superstition, unapproved liturgy and dogma, immorality and obscenity. While these lists were successful to some extant in repressing views, they were also frequently counterproductive as they encouraged more liberal thinkers to seek out these books to see for themselves. Item 53 €950 (US $1,205).

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