Book Collecting

Robert Sanger rsanger at
Thu Jan 10 12:06:08 EST 2002

Actually, there are, as you know, a number of theories as to who wrote the
"Shakespearian" plays.  Most scholars agree that it was not the actor who
has been immortalized.  He was not a particularly literate individual.   His
one remaining writing is his will in which he left his "second best bed" to
his wife and there is no mention of books or his own manuscripts.

There has been speculation that various single individuals of the time wrote
the works.  However, my favorite theory is that Bacon led a group of
courtiers and scholars which collectively wrote the works.  Support for this
is based on many things.

One prominent factor is that Bacon had advocated a literary project to be
taken on by the literati of the court.  There is no evidence that this was
ever done other than evidence that "Shakespeare's" works are, in fact, that

Second, an analysis of the vocabulary of the works as a whole indicates
that, were it one author, s/he would have had a vocabulary that has been
unmatched by any other single author no matter how prolific.

Third,  a close examination of references to historical events and even the
flora and fauna found in various plays shows that certain plays or groups of
plays were probably written by people with specific life experiences in
specific geographical locations.

In any event, there is no conclusive proof one way or the other but the
foregoing may help explain my obscure reference.

Best to all,

Bob Sanger 

-----Original Message-----
From: jwslaw [mailto:jwslaw at]
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2002 8:26 AM
To: modlib at
Subject: Re: Book Collecting

bacon didnt write shakespeare;  someone who called himself shakespeare wrote
it:  otherwise, quite eloquent
----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert Sanger" <rsanger at>
To: <modlib at>
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2002 1:58 AM
Subject: RE: Book Collecting

> On the subject of whether or not a collector reads the books s/he
> I was thinking by analogy to those who collect vintage sports cars or fine
> wines.  Certainly there are collectors of sports cars who drive their
> automobiles only for the few yards required to qualify them for the
> at the concours d'elegance.  And those who collect bottles of fine wines,
> definition, cannot drink the wine of any bottle they wish to retain in
> collection.
> But the true sports car collector or collector of fine wines generally
> partakes of and savors as much of his or her own collection, and that of
> everyone else, as possible.  Sports car enthusiasts have a "daily driver"
> for work or a Sunday car for recreation in addition to the show cars
> and trailered to events.  They take advantage of every opportunity to take
> the wheel of anyone else's sports car who will let them drive it.  Wine
> collectors are generally connoisseurs who travel to the regions to taste
> wine and who drink interesting wines with their dinner meals.
> Looking at the Modern Library collection this way, what makes it most
> interesting is the eclectic but largely intellectual content of the
> collection.  It is something to be partaken of and savored as a reader.
> seems to me that, for the most part, the Modern Library is not collected
> fine examples of the bookbinder's art or for the exquisite use of paper,
> or art work.  It is a sturdy collection that was widely distributed and
> published originally for the express purpose of getting interesting and
> important literature to the masses.
> In essence, it is a collection of books to be read.  Of course, a first
> edition of an early Boni Liveright in Fine/Fine condition is to be
> and, perhaps, that copy may remain further unread.  However, most of what
> most of us have, including FMLEd's, can bear one more careful reading.
> Those few -- or, among the most elite collectors, the few dozen -- which
> cannot bear one more reading are certainly replicated in later printings.
> The collection of duplicate later editions that inevitably fill the bottom
> shelves are there for no other reason than to be read.
> Like the throaty sound of the Bugatti engine or the bouquet of a fine
> cabernet, it is the content of these books that makes collecting them
> meaningful.  There is something about reading, in a close to contemporary
> edition, Christopher Morley's Parnassus on Wheels (about a woman who finds
> meaning in life by leaving her brother's farm and buying a horse drawn
> wagon) or Irving Stone's Lust for Life (the historical novel about Vincent
> Van Gough's tortured existence).  They may not be on the required reading
> list at the university, though many ML titles obviously are.  But, if
> nothing else other than the fact of their inclusion in the Modern Library,
> they are part of the one time shared literature of the American culture.
> We can look to a Modern Library title: A. Edward Newton, Amenities of Book
> Collecting (1918, FMLEd. 1935).  Newton quotes Bacon as saying, "Some
> are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and
> digested."  Newton says, self-deprecatingly, that he opts for collecting
> particularly old and rare books not necessarily to be read.  Nevertheless
> is obviously well read and, one would have to suspect, the ML collection
> would be among his reading library more than his collection of trophies.
> for Bacon -- who, as we recall, envisioned a literary project for England
> which may have culminated in the committee ghost-writing of
> prolific works -- one would expect that he would have found the ML would
> worthy of more swallowing, chewing and digesting than tasting, and,
> certainly, tasting more than mere collecting.
> Anyway, just some thoughts on the subject.
> Best regards,
> Bob Sanger
> -----Original Message-----
> From: GOODBOOKS at [mailto:GOODBOOKS at]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2002 7:36 PM
> To: modlib at
> Subject: Re: Book Collecting
> Yes,after 10,000 email,you have all driven me to the point where I don't
> know what I am saying (if I ever did)) ...I shall say no more.

More information about the ModLib mailing list