6 Oct 2017
"Liars Academy"
According to some commentators of the political spectacle, we would have entered a new era, that of the "post-truth", in which conspiracy theories , emotions and "fake news" would finally have prevailed over objectivity, reason and truth.

It seems to us, however, that some commentators seem to forget a little quickly that lying is old as the hills...old as politics!

The truth is, in these days, many a politician could easily graduate from the “Académie des menteurs”! (Paris, 1838)


posted by  Benjamin at  17:36 | permalink | comments [0]

29 Sep 2017
We're back !
The truth is we were never really gone, you know that! After a very intense summer here in Barcelona, we are ready for an autumn (*) which promises to be tempestuous!

All aboard! Captain's on the helm! The course is set! The crew is on deck, ready for reefing if necessary! This journey will not be a quiet one, but you can always come always come visit our quarters: the shelves are here filled with wonderful books for you to discover! Be our guests!

(*) For the uninitiated, an ancestral municipal ordinance stipulates that in Barcelona the summer lasts at least until October, 10th, with a minimum temperature of 25ºC at noon, four times a week, preferably on weekends.
posted by  Benjamin at  18:07 | permalink | comments [0]

7 Jul 2017
Of Erudites and Marriage
Dear lovers of knowledge, of books and of shelves, is there any room for marriage
in your libraries? In your opinion, should maverick intellectuals, hermit scholars and collectomaniac bibliophiles take the oath of marriage?

Inspired, not by personal questioning (well, maybe a little bit...), but by a curious German work from the early eighteenth century, we are asking for your personal position on a delicate question of eternal relevance!

Published in 1715 under the pseudonym of Irénée Carpentier, Eruditorum Coelibum Centuria Singularis is a collection of short biographical notices of great minds who never married, by a certain Gottfried Wagener – whose marital status we may guess!... Curiously enough, the work also includes the first edition of the treatise on the marriage of scholars by the German poet Mellemann – according to which scholars should not flee from matrimonial union – as well as Daniel Heinsius’s letter on “the qualities of a woman suitable for a scholar”... It seems, then, that long before us, Mr. Wagener also had his own doubts!

Dear enlightened minds, do you think it reasonable to take the plunge ? For both parties? ...Dear spouses of bibliophiles, were you really aware of the phenomenon when the two of you exchanged wedding rings ? Or is it that you were seduced by his collection of incunabula?

posted by  Benjamin at  17:34 | permalink | comments [0]

23 Jun 2017
The Story of the Devil’s Trial (1604)

For more information on the manuscript, click here.

posted by  Benjamin at  15:18 | permalink | comments [2]

16 Jun 2017
"The true inventor of the lightning rod"
While yesterday, June, 15th , some mentioned the anniversary of the night that Benjamin Franklin braved the violent summer storm that struck Philadelphia in order to conduct the famous kite experience, our thoughts went to the French physicist Jacques de Romas (1718-1776), considered by many as the true inventor of the lightning rod!

The detailed account of his experiences and of the controversies related to the paternity of the discovery is to be found in this Mémoire sur les moyens de se garantir de la foudre dans les maisons; suivi d'une lettre sur l'invention du cerf-volant électrique, avec les pièces justificatives de cette même lettre which was printed in Bordeaux at the twilight of Romas’s life, and of which we’d like to present to you a very fine copy!

posted by  Benjamin at  15:44 | permalink | comments [2]

9 Jun 2017
The "Recueil Léonard"
Once upon a time, on June, 9th, an incredible effervescence seized the little Basque town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz: the French Roi Soleil married the Infanta of Spain!

A few months earlier, after long weeks of hard negotiations that took place in the famous Pheasant Island, Bourbons and Habsburgs - respectively represented by Mazarin and Luis de Haro - finally found common ground! The Treaty of the Pyrenees was finally concluded, and the contract for the marriage of Louis XIV and Maria Theresa of Austria was drawn up, a consecration of the rapprochement between the two main European powers of the time!

These two documents, along with all the treaties signed by France between 1435 and 1692, are to be found in the "Léonard collection", of which we’d like present to you a nice copy of the first edition, in its contemporary binding!

Compiled by the Brussels-born printer-librarian Frédéric Léonard, this precious collection contains all the international treaties signed by France since the Middle Ages, including agreements signed with the Maghreb countries, with Muscovy or Siam, and even... with the Iroquois Nation!

Quite a piece of diplomatic history, isn’t it?

posted by  Benjamin at  16:13 | permalink | comments [0]

19 May 2017
Eikon Basilike
Perhaps frightened by the uncommonly low rainfall in Barcelona, few British works reach the shelves of the bookstore! The work we present to you today is therefore an exception, and not the least: here is a copy of the first edition of the first French translation of the legendary Eikon Basilike !

Published in 1649, a few weeks after the decapitation of King Charles I, this apocryphal autobiography of the late monarch was translated almost immediately into several languages, including this French translation by Norman writer Denis Cailloué, which was actually printed in London.

Our joy would not have been complete had we not been able to present to you the superb allegorical portal on the frontispiece, which is lacking in many copies: one is tempted to think that this fascinating depiction of Charles as a martyr perhaps contributed to the immense success of the work!

Many among you will of course have noted that we choose to bring a light to the king’s portrait on… the very anniversary day of the Proclamation of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England!
Here’s our tribute to our British friends’ legendary sense of humor!

posted by  Benjamin at  16:21 | permalink | comments [0]

5 May 2017
The Decimal Language
On the eve of the second round of the presidential elections in France, we would like to leave aside the antagonizing debates for a moment and draw a light on a book whose author, inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution, tried hard "to bring people closer together by the sweet bond of brotherhood "… by means of a universal language!

Even we, fervent defenders of linguistic diversity, are fascinated by this extraordinary linguistic utopia by Jean Delormel: a universal language based on the decimal system and the rational principles of the philosophy of the Enlightenment!

Certainly, for languages lovers like you and I, the use of the decimal system as a linguistic principle does not seem very attractive… but is it not how our computers communicate with each other, and therefore, how I’m addressing to you right now?

00101001 100101 01001 0000 0101010 00110 ! (*)

[(*) We wish you a pleasant week-end!]
posted by  Benjamin at  17:41 | permalink | comments [2]

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