Monday, August 06, 2007


Reid has been after me to do this one for ages.

Let's see: here is a slice of bookcase (yes, Carel, you are in there too). Take out that black one in the center.

There it is:

See the bookplate?

Let's zoom in. Can you read it?

When I found it in a store in Berkeley over a decade ago, I couldn't believe the price, even for a nice Norman Douglas without a bookplate-- about as much as a modern novel today. I asked her if it could possibly be correct and she replied "It's been here for years and you are the only one who ever noticed!" She gave me this clipping which charted the course of the book's progress:

Douglas was a rather disreputable old travel writer and novelist who was a friend of Lawrence, though I cannot imagine two more different temperaments. This book, a novel is his best known work, but this travel book is a better book. He was also a mentor to the wonderful (and dazzlingly beautiful) English food writer Elizabeth David, who introduced English readers to the glories of French and Mediterranean cooking after WW II (Betsy Huntington said David's books taught her what food was). And he did the only funny indexes (indices?) I have ever seen-- more on that some other time.

She and Douglas (and Graham Greene and Harold Acton and other notables) are all characters in this novel, Lunch with Elizabeth David. There is also an excellent biography of David by Artemis Cooper, who also edited this collection of pieces by Querencia favorite Patrick Leigh Fermor.

1 comment:

Reid Farmer said...

Thanks! I'll never forget when you handed me that book without any forewarning. I just about keeled over when I opened it and saw the bookplate!