When I was in sixth grade (in Russia), all the boys in our class decided to buy all the girls gifts for the International Women's Day (March 8th, not so international, it turns out).Somehow I convinced them to buy a bunch of Reinecke Fuchs with these very illustrations.It was a smashing success.
I love those illustrations. But that story makes me so mad... I have issues with people defacing books.
thanks for this post! what a way to live - crazy dudes making books look crazy.
Andrei, that is a great story.Molly, this is a sidenote, but thinking about defaced books: I cannot read a book that has been underlined, even if it's my own underlining! For this reason all the books I read when I was 19 & 20 -- and apparently a compulsive underliner -- are in deep storage. I'll have to re-buy them if I ever want to read them again. (Luckily most of them are lit. theory and I have no plans to ever read them again.)
Will, as always, you have the best blog there is. Sophie's sites are special too. The Missed Connections remind me of Maira Kalman. I hope she'll consider doing a drawing for this Walser one I found:http://htmlgiant.com/blind-items/micromissed-connection/
I wouldn't go so far as saying I encourage or even condone defacing books, but I do enjoy reading books in quite a physical manner, personally. You can usually tell if I've had my hands on a book, and the more I enjoy it, the more it looks as if it has been through the wringer. I think books are better with signs of life on them. Of course, in this case, the 'damage' is of a very different kind, but to me the book has been transformed into something even more precious by its journey through this story: a story told upon a story.
Kirsten, you should follow Steve Roden's blog Airform Archives. He once told me something very similar about the way he experiences books, and he loves telling these kinds of stories. Also see Dreamers Rise and Luc Sante.These three writers have definitely influenced the way I interact with books.
Some of the human characters look very much like R. Crumb art... with finer line-work of course. Beautiful.
The books that Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell defaced in the early 1960s in Islington Public Library - for which they were sent to prison (which is a bit like all those people deported to Australia for stealing a hairpin, or whatever) - are now that library service's most proud possessions.
@ Neil. True, and then creative defacement's got history - most notably in that extraordinary work of Ernst's - Une Semaine de Bonte, cutting up and giving the strangest new dream life to who knows how many forgotten books (so neglected that no-one since has ever been able to trace more than a couple of source images). I was thinking, if Sophie Blackall really wants a copy of Reynard there is a way. All she'd need would be a Shakespeare folio, a large bag, and a ticket to Williamstown Library. Once there, she could ask to see the copy - already defaced to her requirements - of the Reynard and wait for the librarian's attention to wander. The dimensions of the Folio are such that no one would notice what followed until she was well away.
I don't mind crinkly old books, but to saw through one and steal another...it makes my brain itch just to think about it.....argh...thank you for this interesting piece of "history".