Subscribe to the Rosenblog!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Elizabeth Bishop & Franklin

Farrar Fitzgerald, our extraordinary shopkeeper and Moore expert, came across a postcard in the Moore collection the other day that would have been appropriate for Ben Franklin's birthday this week, but all the ruckus around the opening of our exhibition kept us from getting to this blog.

The postcard is from Elizabeth Bishop to Moore, and is dated May 14, 1970. It was sent from Ouro Preto, Brazil, and reads (in part):

Here it is beginning to be "winter" - it is dark by six, and I have to have a fire in my "Franklin Stove" every night. It is probably the only "Franklin Stove" (I had it sent from the "Everett Stove Works", Everett, Washington) in Braxil, and causes considerable interest... [...] I tell people about Benjamin Franklin & his inventions. Sometimes they think I'm talking about Franklin Roosevelt, flying a kite to bring down lightning, etc. Oh - & I am having a lighting rod put on my house - the churches all have them on their towers so I don't see any reason why a house can't have one - especially as my house keeps getting struck. Now I have the only private lightning rod, and the only septic tank, in Ouro Preto & I am regarded as highly eccentric.

Bishop named her house "Casa Mariana" in honor of Moore, though Franklin obviously was also on her mind...

Blue Book's Value

This story from the BBC web site confirms our suspicions that Ulysses has become the most "valuable" novel of the 20th century--meaning that copies of its first edition sell for more than any other novel. Some of the best work done on the history of the 1922 edition and the fate of its 1000 copies has been done by Joyce scholar/collector/dealer Laura Barnes, who I'm sure will have something to say about this most recent distinction.

The Rosenbach has four copies of the first edition of Ulysses, including Dr. Rosenbach's own well-worn copy, and a presentation copy given by Joyce to Maurice Darantiere--the man who printed the book.