Friday, December 16, 2011

Ghosts of Christmas Past: A New (Old) Book for My Shelf and an 1869 Inscription!

I just added an 1869 edition of The Gates Ajar (NovelGuide summary here) by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps to my personal library and it's just so cool on so many levels! How do I count the ways? Well,

1) Old books are cool by definition! Because they are, well...old...and they are books!

2) It's an influential book of the Civil War era and a part of the "canon" of the 19th-century Spiritualist movement, both of which are interests of mine.

3) It was published by the publishing house of Fields & Osgood, the firm featured in one of my favorite books, The Last Dickens (see my recent interview with author Matthew Pearl here)

4) And finally, unbeknownst to me until I received it, it has a wonderful Christmas 1869 inscription! Apparently it was a gift from a pupil "Johnny" to his teacher, "Miss Beach." Tantalizing! I love it!

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