Tuesday 4 November 2008


Those of us who are inclined towards bibliophilia will probably be fascinated by this list of rare and expensive books currently for sale on Abebooks. The prices are astronomical - $ 1.800.000 for a book! - so there's no Cosmographia for me.

Those who are inclined towards fictional vampires will be drawn in by this edition of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre with its reference to 'the foul German spectre - the Vampyre', see e.g. James B. Twitchell's The Living Dead: A Study of the Vampire in Romantic Literature (Duke University Press, 1981), itself a nice book for bibliophiles because of the dust jacket with the two holes punched out to look like the mark of a vampire's bite on the neck of the woman in one Fuseli's Nightmare paintings.

One may wonder what the price would be of an original copy of von Schertz's Magia Posthuma. I know of at most three (3) copies of this book, so it would probably fetch a high price if set for sale on auction, but who knows.

Fortunately, an increasing number of those early books are now available digitally. That's not quite satisfactory for those who like to have a physical copy of the original book, but we are at least allowed the possibility of reading the text. Anyway, the owner of that edition of Jane Eyre which costs $ 122.107,03 probably wouldn't dare to sit comfortably on the settee reading it. He or she would probably rather buy a cheap paperback edition in order not to damage the expensive investment.

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