As I spent my birthday in Italy, Josh waited until I was back to give me my birthday gifts. One of them was a beautiful copy of Coleridge, Keats and Shelley’s works, publish in America in 1835. The book intrigued me because of the many scribbles on its back, so when I went to Chelsea earlier this month, I decided to show the pictures I took to one of the booksellers present at the fair. He invited me to bring the book to his shop so he could have a better look at it, and so I did.
The book is an interesting publication, aparently the second one of its kind in America. It’s unusual to see these three poets combined as Keats and Shelley belong to the new generation of Romantic poets. The copy is not in the best condition, however, the text is not damaged. In regards to the signatures and scribbles, many of them belong to certain members of the Skelley family. I had high hopes that the surname was Shelley, even if not related to the poet, but I find fascinating to know who owned books that now belong to me. Someone even tried to write a poem, but the writing is fading which makes it very hard to read.
A certain “A. Bonnabel” has their stamp on the same page where the signatures can be found. I looked up the name to see if it belonged to a book collector or someone of importance, and the results presented me with Alfred Bonnabel (1840-1921) and his son Alfred E. Bonnabel (1874 – 1951). There’s no way to be certain, but considering the date when the book was published, I assumed it belonged to the first, who appears to have been an educator of some sort.
Although I couldn’t discover much more about this particular book, I’m happy with what I’ve got; it’s a brilliant book with a past. And by the looks of it, it’s been studied and well-loved.