Friday, October 21, 2011
Leigh Hunt on Book Catalogues
A Catalogue is not a mere catalogue or list of saleables, as the uninitiated may fancy. Even a common auctioneer's catalogue of goods and chattels suggests a thousand reflections to a peruser of any knowledge. Judge then what the case must be with a catalogue of books; the very titles of which run the rounds of the whole world, visible and invisible; geographies—biographies—histories—loves—hates—joys—sorrows—cookeries—sciences—fashion,—and eternity! We speak on this subject from the most literal experience; for often and often have we cut open a new catalogue of old books, with all the fervour and ivory folder of a first love; often read one at tea; nay, at dinner; and have put crosses against dozens of volumes in the list, out of the pure imagination of buying them, the possibility being out of the question!I can't find the original on the World Wide Web. I think it comes from one of Hunt's "Retrospective Review" essays published in The Monthly Repository, circa 1837.