Monday, July 18, 2011


A Bookplate

Google Books permits a full view of The Complete Works of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Vol. VII = Exemplary Novels, Vol. I, Edited by Jas. Fitzmaurice Kelly, Translated by N. MacColl (Glasgow: Cowans & Gray, 1902), including a view of the following bookplate:

The book once belonged to Carl Tilden Keller (1872-1955).

Google Books permits only a limited view of James P. Keenan, The Art of the Bookplate (New York: Barnes & Noble, 2003), p. 96, blocking an image of the same bookplate, but allowing the display of the following text describing the bookplate:
Slumped over a table, head in hand as if from exhaustion, this quintessential bibliophile reads by candlelight in a large library brimming with books. Does this amusing caricature represent the owner of the ex libris, intent perhaps on finding some piece of information that has been alluding [sic] him? His attention is focused on one book while piles of other volumes—either already discarded or still awaiting his attention—are strewn all over the floor and on the tabletop. Has he finally found what he has been searching for? Or is he doomed to search forever?
For "alluding" read "eluding". I suggest, as an alternative to Keenan's interpretation, that the reader intent on his book is Don Quixote. Keller collected rare editions of Cervantes' Don Quixote.

Cf. this similar caricature of Don Quixote reading by Stefan Mart:

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