Jacob’s Room & second hand book treasure

I had grand illusions of sitting down and writing about Jacob’s Room today, which I finished while on holiday, but jetlag has turned my brain to mush so it will have to wait for another day. Suffice it to say that Woolf’s third novel was both bewildering and clunky but overall an extremely beautiful work of fiction. Part of me wonders if this book, instead of To The Lighthouse or Mrs. Dalloway better accomplishes what Woolf was trying to do in terms of fictionalizing pure consciousness… but I’ll save that thought for a longer post.

In other news, I had a disappointing rejection of my novel manuscript come through while I was on holiday. And so to cheer myself up I have been hitting 2nd hand bookshops with a vengeance. This morning I stopped in to one of my favorites and found some excellent books:

  • The Selected Poems of Robert Frost
  • The Penguin Book of English Short Stories (It starts with Dickens in 1812 and moves forward with about one story per decade—Hardy, Conrad, Kipling, Wells, etc.—finishing up with “Raspberry Jam” by Angus Wilson (whom I’ve never heard of) in 1912.
  • Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death
  • Czeslaw Milosz’s Enfant d’Europe
  • Samuel Richardson’s Pamela
  • Ramuz, Notre Parrain (A biography by Hélène Cingria)

But the crowning jewel of this morning’s book hunt was a facsimile copy of a manuscript page from Ramuz’s La Beauty Sur la Terre. It was just sitting there on top of a pile of dusty Ramuz novels, just waiting to make my day.

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