- My father was a voracious reader throughout his life. He amassed a large and eclectic library. He was not, though, a collector for the sake of collecting. Books were for reading for pleasure, for knowledge; or for their practical use in translating, writing articles, teaching and so on. Since my parents died, nearly all of these books have been disposed of. Here I highlight a few that have a special point of interest.
- Inscribed in a rear endpaper, this is the signature, presumably, of Israel Witriol, my father’s father. I cannot decipher the word on the second line, but his wife was Yetta Balin and his sister married Frank Wagreich.
This is the frontispiece of the book itself
Apart from a letter to Yetta, this is the only extant example of his handwriting – he died at 48 when my dad was 12.
My father added this sentimental note to a book
I wonder why this, dafke, was one of the handful of books they had? Chapter VIII is even more apposite today – see also this piece
As for the book itself, in his unpublished ‘Autobiography of a Failure’ he said
Maggs is one of London’s most venerable, yet relatively unstuffy, antiquarian booksellers. Their website, like their Berkeley Square shop, is well worth visiting. In this catalogue
I happened to see one of my dad’s two major translated works!