Friday, 7 March 2014

The broken-backed "f "

"One of my most loved books -- I return to it again and again -- is that classic of bibliographical detection, a thousandfold more exciting than anything Agatha Christie and her kind ever penned, the majestically entitled An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets by John Carter and Graham Pollard, which nailed one of the greatest bookmen in British history, Thomas J. Wise, as a forger, a swindler, and a thief.  The detection, however, was only made possible because the detectives were versed in every detail of bibliography, printing and the book trade; a lover of books and books' integrity can find tears in his eyes when contemplating the plate between pp. 58 and 59 of An Enquiry, in which the famous 'broken-backed f ', with its missing kern, brought nearer the solution of the mystery."

"Going by the Book"  The Times Saturday Review  Bernard Levin

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