Archive for the ‘Bookshelf’ Category

I cannot describe to you my sensations on the near prospect of my undertaking. It is impossible to communicate to you a conception of the trembling sensation, half pleasurable and half fearful, with which I am preparing to depart. I am going to unexplored regions to ‘the land of mist and snow’ […]. You will smile at my allusion; but I will disclose a secret. I have often attributed my attachment to, my passionate enthusiasm for, the dangerous mysteries of ocean, to that production of the most imaginative of modern poets. There is something at work in my soul, which I do not understand.


~ Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, born on this day in 1797



Inside cover art from the 1831 edition of "Frankenstein"

Inside cover art from the 1831 edition of “Frankenstein”

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Praised be the moon of books! that doth above

A world of men, the fallen Past behold,

And fill the spaces else so void and cold

To make a very heaven again thereof;

As when the sun is set behind a grove,

And faintly unto nether ether rolled,

All night his whiter image and his mould

Grows beautiful with looking on her love.


Thou therefore, moon of so divine a ray,

Lend to our steps both fortitude and light!

Feebly along a venerable way

They climb the infinite, or perish quite;

Nothing are days and deeds to such as they,

While in this liberal house thy face is bright.


                            ~ Louise Imogen Guiney


The Reading Room of the British Museum by Riccardo Cambiassi

The Reading Room of the British Museum by Riccardo Cambiassi

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I couldn’t live a week without a private library – indeed, I’d part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor before I’d let go of the 1,500 or so books I possess.

~ Howard Phillips Lovecraft, born on this day in 1890


"The Bookworm" by Carl Spitzweg, circa 1850

“The Bookworm” by Carl Spitzweg, circa 1850

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It evaded her now when she thought of her picture. Phrases came. Visions came. Beautiful pictures. Beautiful phrases. But what she wished to get hold of was that very jar on the nerves, the thing itself before it has been made anything. Get that and start afresh; get that and start afresh; she said desperately, pitching herself firmly again before her easel. It was a miserable machine, an inefficient machine, she thought, the human apparatus for painting or for feeling; it always broke down at the critical moment; heroically, one must force it on.


~ To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf


Miklós Barabás, 1838

Miklós Barabás, 1838

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To Solitude

I am weary of the working,

   Weary of the long day’s heat;

To thy comfortable bosom,

   Wilt thou take me, spirit sweet?


Weary of the long, blind struggle

   For a pathway bright and high,–

Weary of the dimly dying

   Hopes that never quite all die.


Weary searching a bad cipher

   For a good that must be meant;

Discontent with being weary,–

   Weary with my discontent.


I am weary of the trusting

   Where my trusts but torments prove;

Wilt thou keep faith with me? wilt thou

   Be my true and tender love?


I am weary drifting, driving

   Like a helmless bark at sea;

Kindly, comfortable spirit,

   Wilt thou give thyself to me?


Give thy birds to sing me sonnets?

   Give thy winds my cheeks to kiss?

And thy mossy rocks to stand for

   The memorials of our bliss?


I in reverence will hold thee,

   Never vexed with jealous ills,

Though thy wild and wimpling waters

   Wind about a thousand hills.


             ~ Alice Cary


"Woman by the Water" by Béla Iványi-Grünwald, 1897

“Woman by the Water” by Béla Iványi-Grünwald, 1897


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Ah! Sun-flower

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,

Who countest the steps of the Sun:

Seeking after that sweet golden clime

Where the travellers journey is done.


Where the Youth pined away with desire,

And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:

Arise from their graves and aspire,

Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.


~ William Blake


George Dunlop Leslie, 1890

George Dunlop Leslie, 1890

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An August Midnight

A shaded lamp and a waving blind,

And the beat of a clock from a distant floor:

On this scene enter – winged, horned, and spined –

A longlegs, a moth, and a dumbledore;

While ’mid my page there idly stands

A sleepy fly, that rubs its hands…


Thus meet we five, in this still place,

At this point of time, at this point in space.

– My guests parade my new-penned ink,

Or bang at the lamp glass, whirl, and sink.

“God’s humblest, they!” I muse. Yet why?

They know Earth-secrets that know not I.


                                         ~ Thomas Hardy


Leopold Löffler, 1858

Leopold Löffler, 1858

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