Sunday, June 10, 2007
From a Bibliophile's Library
It always interesting to see what books end up in a bibliophile's library and the following details a book on the shelves at Old Saratoga Books owned by William Lyons Phelps:
The Cure of Souls: Lyman Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale University, by Ian MacLaren, NY: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1895, first edition. Good condition.
Green cloth boards with gold-stamped lettering on front boards and spine. Top edges gilt. 301 pages.
This volume belonged to Phelps, and contains lectures given at Yale University in 1895 through the annual Lyman Beecher lectureship on Preaching, where Phelps was on the Faculty of Theology, in addition to being a literary critic, ordained minister, and bibliophile. He was also the author of many books, including "Autobiography with Letters", "The Advance of the English Novel", "Essays on Modern Novelists", "Memory", and "Browning: Now to Know Him".
My favorite Phelps quote is "A bibliophile of little means is likely to suffer often. Books don’t slip from his hands but fly past him through the air, high as birds, high as prices."
Phelps' elegant bookplate adorns the front pastedown and is an engraving by W. F. Hopson with William Shakespeare at the top crest, an open book with what appears to be the likeness of Alfred Lord Tennyson and a middle library scene replete with blazing fireplace, books aplenty and a contemplative cat. Graced with the quotation "Here are God’s Conduits". Phelps’ foot appears poking out from a wing chair to complete this paradise.