Monday, 30 July 2012

Jiffy Bag Watch 3

This one comes a little late as work and family commitments have had to take priority.
However, I received another delivery and I am beginning to think that my choice.of title may have been a little.premature as yet another cardboard mailer surrounded todays aquisition.
However, the volume that is contained was The Fruits of Solitude by William Penn.

Hardcover, bound in orange cloth, this is another volume from the Everyman Library (#724) this time from 1942. The binding is a little loose, the spine is a bi faded and there is some foxing and discolouration to the pages, particuylarly on the end-papers.  Without the elaborate end-papers present in the Woolman volume and a spine absent of decoration, this edition is noticeably more austere.  The reason for this,I am intreagued to learn, is indicated by the presence of a symbol printed beneath the publishers details.

As this edition of the text was published during World War 2, the printers were obligated to print the book conforming to a given set of standards, presumably governing typeface size, margin sizes, white-space etc.
A cursory search for more information has led me to conclude that, ironically enough, such a standard appears to be little documented.

As for William Penn, well a brief biography printed in this edition readsL

'WILLIAM PENN, born in 1644, the son of an admiral.  Sent down from Christ College, Oxford, for nonconformity.  Became a Quaker in 1667.  In 1682 sailed to America and founded a Quaker colony.  From then until his death in 1718 he lived in Pennsylvania and England.'
I actually recall William Penn making a brief appearance in Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography.  I am intreagued as to how Penn's story will interract with Franklin's.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Jiffy Bag Watch 2 (well kind of....)

Well, not quite a jiffy bag today, more of a cardboard sleeve this time.  Anyway, it contained The Autobiography and Other Writings by Benjamin Franklin.  The copy I have received is the 1987 reprint of the softcover, Penguin Classics edition.
I have to say I am a little dissapointed the quality is a little worse than described, but I can live with it considering it cost only £4.00 with postage.
So, it is time to put away the eBook for now and get reading the print copy.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Jiffy Bag Watch 1

Well, the first of my online purchases since this journal began has arrived this morning and I have decided to share with you my excitement as the postie popped a tell-tale jiffy-bag through my door.

On opening said bag, I discover that the first to arrive is actually the third on my reading list:

The Journal with Other Writings by John Woolman

The book is an Everyman Edition of the text, published approx. 1909-10 by J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd. of London.
4 1/2" x 7" hardcover with grey-green cloth, this book is number 402 of the Everyman Library and bears the original end-papers.
Binding is a tad loose, but tight enough to be practical.  There is a little discolouration to the page edges and minimal creasing to a few pages, but otherwise it is in pretty good nick considering it only cost me £4.75 including postage.

I have to admit, I had no idea who John Woolman was, but a quick Wiki granted this knowledge:

"John Woolman (October 19, 1720 – October 7, 1772) was a North American itinerant Quaker preacher who traveled throughout much of British North America and in England, advocating against cruelty to animals, economic injustices and oppression, conscription, military taxation, and particularly slavery and the slave trade....
The Journal of John Woolman is not only considered to be an important spiritual document, but also a classic in English literature, as shown by its inclusion in the Harvard Classics. It is reportedly the longest-published book in the history of North America other than the Bible, having been continuously published since before the 1776 revolution."

Fascinating stuff I think you'll agree!  I look forward to reading what this chap had to say.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Getting started....

Although I had decided to avoid eBooks where possible, I have recently rekindled (no pun intended) by relationship with my woefully underused Sony eReader.  As such, I quickly procured an .epub of Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography from good ol' Gutenberg and began reading.  At time of writing, I am currently about a quater of the way through it and thus far, it lives up to it's reputations.

Today, I have located used copies of Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography as well as Journal by John Woolman and Fruits of Solitude by William Penn from various booksellers on Abe Books all for a total price of £11.31 (including postage).

Updates will be made as they arrive.

Further to this, I was amazed to discover that I had yet to create an account with Abe Books! So I decided to take time to explore the site and I have to say, I am thoroughly impressed.  Particularly fascinating, is their list of the previous month's most expensive sales.  Topping the list for June was a signed copy of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband which sold for a princely sum of £12,698! Also, futher investigation reveals one still, available for £15,000!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The List

Here follows the works included in Dr.Elliots colection.
Titles in green are those of which I already possess a physical copy.  Entries suffixed by a volume number indicate a volume in the Harvard Classics which contains numerous shorter works, papers and essay.  Such volumes will be researched in due course and I will source as many original texts as I can.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

Journal by John Woolman

Fruits of Solitude by William Penn

Apology by Plato

Phædo by Plato

Crito by Plato

The Golden Sayings by Epictetus

The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Essays, Civil and Moral by Francis Bacon

The New Atlantis by Francis Bacon

Areopagitica & Tractate on Education by John Milton

Religio Medici by Sir Thomas Browne

Complete Poems Written in English by John Milton [I own a copy of Paradise Lost, which i also intend to read here]

Essays and English Traits by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Poems and Songs by Robert Burns

Confessions by Saint Augustine

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas á Kempis

Agamemnon by Aeschylus

The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus

The Furies by Aeschylus

Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus

Oedipus the King by Sophocles

Antigone by Sophocles

Hippolytus by Euripides

The Bacchæ by Euripides

The Frogs by Aristophanes

Treatises on Friendship and Old Age and Letters by Cicero
Letters by Pliny the Younger

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection, or, the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life by Charles Darwin

Plutarch: Lives of the noble Grecians and Romans by Plutarch
Æneid by Virgil

Don Quixote by Cervantes

The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
The Lives of Donne and Herbert by Izaak Walton

Stories from the Thousand and One Nights

Fables by Æsop
Household Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Tales by Hans Christian Andersen

All for Love by John Dryden

The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan

She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith
The Cenci by Percy Bysshe Shelley

A Blot in the 'Scutcheon by Robert Browning

Manfred by Lord Byron

Faust, Part I, Egmont & Hermann and Dorothea by J. W. von Goethe
Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) by Alessandro Manzoni

The Odyssey by Homer

Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr.

On Taste, On the Sublime and Beautiful by Edmund Burke    

Reflections on the French Revolution by Edmund Burke   

A Letter to a Noble Lord by Edmund Burke

Autobiography by John Stuart Mill

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

Characteristics by Thomas Carlyle

Inaugural Address at Edinburgh by Thomas Carlyle

Sir Walter Scott by Thomas Carlyle

Life Is a Dream by Pedro Calderón de la Barca
Polyeucte by Pierre Corneille

Phèdre by Jean Racine

Tartuffe by Molière

Minna von Barnhelm by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Wilhelm Tell by Friedrich von Schiller


The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin

The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini by Benvenuto Cellini

LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL ESSAYS: Montaigne, Sainte-Beuve, Renan, etc (Vol. 32)


Discourse on Method by René Descartes
Letters on the English by Voltaire

On the Inequality among Mankind by Jean Jacques Rousseau

Profession of Faith of a Savoyard Vicar by Jean Jacques Rousseau

Of Man, Being the First Part of Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes

Chronicles by Jean Froissart

The Holy Grail by Sir Thomas Malory

A Description of Elizabethan England, by William Harrison

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

The Life of Sir Thomas More by William Roper

Utopia by Sir Thomas More

The Ninety-Five Theses by Martin Luther

Address to the Christian Nobility by Martin Luther

Concerning Christian Liberty by Martin Luther

Some Thoughts Concerning Education by John Locke

Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous in Opposition to Sceptics and Atheists by George Berkeley

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume

The Oath of Hippocrates by Hippocrates

Journeys in Diverse Places by Ambroise Paré

On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals by William Harvey

The Three Original Publications on Vaccination Against Smallpox by Edward Jenner

The Contagiousness of Puerperal Fever by Oliver Wendell Holmes

On the Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery by Joseph Lister

Scientific Papers by Louis Pasteur

Scientific Papers by Charles Lyell






The Sayings of Confucius

The Torah

The Bible (Old & New Testaments, plus Apocrypha)

Buddhist Writings

The Bhagavad-Gita

The Koran

Edward the Second by Christopher Marlowe

Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth & The Tempest, by William Shakespeare

The Shoemaker's Holiday, by Thomas Dekker

The Alchemist by Ben Jonson

Philaster by Beaumont and Fletcher

The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster

A New Way to Pay Old Debts by Philip Massinger

Thoughts, Letters & Minor Works by Blaise Pascal


The Song of Roland

The Destruction of Dá Derga's Hostel

The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs

Now, the challenge...

I set about researching the collection and soon enough, found myself at a favourite haunt of mine, the Project Gutenberg website which has a bookshelf page dedicated to the collection.  Reading down the list of titles, I found books I have already full or in part as well as a number that I have yet to read.
It was at that moment that the idea struck me.  Why not try reading the whole list?
So, the challenge I have set for myself is to obtain and read all of the works listed by Elliot with a few augmentations:
I am to obtain all the works as cheaply as possible, avoiding where possible, eBooks and actual volumes of the collection.
Second, where Elliot has chosen extracts from books, such as the Bible, I will instead read the complete work.
Thirdly, Elliot's selction might have been appropriate in 1909, but since then, many significant works have been published that might also belong on the shelf, so I might throw in the odd extra here and there.
Finally, the original historical works are fairly biased towards American history.  Although I am not aversed to improving my knowledge in this area, I may also include some British historical works to compliment wherever appropriate.

First, a little context...

If one was to check out my profile, one would.find that I currently find myself at something of an impass.  As I write this, I await the results of the final module for my Open University degree.  Provided that the results are favourable, I intend to undertake a Masters at some stage and have even contemplated going back to actually get some A-levels.  However, a lack of funds and various other commitments means that right now, committing to a structured course of education would be a little irresponsible.  So, I find myself seeking knowledge, but I also need to be able to suspend when necessary.  I also found myself questioning what is more important, the knowledge or the qualification?
It is then that a few clicks on the StumbleUpon button lead me to discover Dr. Elliot.
Professor Charles W. Elliot was an educator and a president at Harvard University between 1869 and 1909.  During his service there, he was remebered for his frequent statement that a person could obtain a full and liberal education by reading for fifteen minutes a day from works no more numerous than would fit upon a five foot shelf.  In about 1908, a publisher challenged Elliot to qualify his statement and he began selecting a number of works which were subsequently compiled and published a year later as the 51 volume Harvard Classics collection.