Author Archives: Simon Beattie

Self-ruin and Shakespeare, a novel

This is a book I’ve only had once before, and I was pleased to find it again.  It’s the first edition of a novel which appeared the following year in English translation, in both London and Dublin, as The Englishman’s Fortnight … Continue reading

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Transvestite circus performer turned novelist

One of the (almost daily) joys of working with old books is discovering something you never knew before.  With this book, a novel published in Berlin, 1862–3, it was a new author: Emil Mario Vacano.  Often cited in histories of … Continue reading

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A composer and his copyright

Here’s something else for the Edinburgh book fair: an interesting piece of music, published 1834/5, with local connections (and a fine lithographed title-page). Charles H. Purday (1799–1885) was a composer, writer, and lecturer on music, the youngest son of the … Continue reading

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For St Patrick’s Day

I may only have just returned from the New York Book Fair, but next week I’ll be off to Edinburgh.  This year is going to be a busy one.  One book I shall on my stand there is this: Published in … Continue reading

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The first English translation of Russian verse, or a literary forgery?

One rare item I shall have with me next week at the New York book fair is this: It’s a work I’d never heard of before: the first edition (there was also a reissue, with a cancel title-page, in 1816) … Continue reading

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The perils of emigration

Another month, another book fair.  In the past, New York book fair has taken place in April, but this year it’s moved to the beginning of March.  This has meant carefully selecting, even as far back as December last year, which … Continue reading

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O say, can you see…?

The last few weeks have been busy preparing for the California Book Fair.  America has been in the news recently, of course, and so I am interested to see what people make of one item I shall be exhibiting next … Continue reading

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A burlesque Tempest

When I put out a list on the theatre last year, this was one of the most sought-after items: excerpts from Ariel, a burlesque stage production based on The Tempest by the prolific playwright, librettist and editor of Punch, Francis … Continue reading

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Lovely litho

The past couple of weeks I have written about the opportunities offered by lithography to British musicians in the nineteenth century, and the problems they also encountered. One of the obvious benefits of the new medium was illustration, and a … Continue reading

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Disappointed of Merseyside

Here’s rare book: the first (and probably only) edition of A Selection from the Music in use at the Church of St John the Divine Fairfield, privately printed in—presumably—a small number of copies, in 1858.  (This is Fairfield, Merseyside, by … Continue reading

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