A Mighty Slab of our CulturePosted on 22/01/2023 at 15:01
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already interested in the rare book trade and its practitioners. And so I have no hesitation in recommending a recent book by Marius Kociejowski, poet, travel writer and A Factotum in the Book Trade, to quote the title of his volume of memoirs. Marius believes that bookshops are magic places, but fears that their future is at stake ‘and with it goes a mighty slab of our culture’.
A distinctive figure in the London book trade since 1978, Marius began his career with Bertram Rota, and later worked for Peter Jolliffe (Ulysses Bookshop) in Museum Street, and Peter Ellis in Cecil Court. There are memorable pen portraits of Marius’s colleagues and customers – past and present – including Edith Finer, whose shop in Cecil Court was later occupied by Peter Ellis. Marius’s description of Lady Finer’s business includes this quotation from my interview with her in 1992, ‘There’s a difference between books as a way to make money, and books as books. It makes me sad when I hear of people going into the business as a business. I love my books and I want to sell them as books.’ The full text of Edith Finer’s interview is available here: http://www.sheila-markham.com/interviews/edith-finer.html
A Factotum in the Book Trade is published by Biblioasis, Windsor, Ontario, 2022, £13.99, ISBN 978-1-77196-456-2. It’s easily available online, but please buy it from a bookshop.
London Rare Books School 2022Posted on 27/06/2022 at 11:06
Leo Cadogan and Angus O'Neill are the tutors for the course on the Modern Rare Book Trade which starts today at the Institute of English Studies, University of London. It was a great pleasure to find my two volumes of conversations with the antiquarian book trade on the reading list for the course. I hope to have a third volume published in time for next year's LRBS.