This is an easy way for you to get an idea whether or not a free book may interest you. Browse the collection as it builds!

❉❉❉ HOME ❉❉❉ | ❉❉❉ MY PERSONAL BLOG ❉❉❉

Search This Blog

Thursday, March 15, 2012

On the Supply of Printed Books


Unless you have a masochistic streak, this is not a volume I urge you to read, but I couldn't help including it, because of a number of intriguing features. It's the correspondence between a gentleman, Sir Nicholas J. Nicolas, and British Museum Library staffer, Mr. A. Panizzi,  over being brought only four of five books he was after.

Infuriated by the inconvenience a man of his standing was put to, he wrote a letter of complaint, which was answered politely but not to his satisfaction. A long exchange of correspondence followed, with the matter ultimately being brought to the British Museum Board. It's a wonderful model of style; a triumph of form and stamina over substance.

The volume shows the inner workings of the British Museum borrowing system, but of more interest is the style of exchange of correspondence and procedures arising from it. It must have taken incalculable time and energy, even in penning the letters of increasing length and petulance, to reach a conclusion. 

Sadly, this ultimately proved to be no resolution at all. I can only imagine the barely repressed fury behind the flowing words.

At last, it seems, Mr. Nicolas lost his upper class temper.

On the Supply of Printed Books from the Library to the Reading Room of the British Museum
by Anthony Panizzi (1846)

"The requisition to insert the Titles and Press-marks on the tickets is not merely reasonable but it is indispensible, if the Library is to be conducted with satisfaction to the Public and to the Librarians. If people will not take the trouble to comply with Rules, which, so far from being vexatious, are absolutely necessary for their own comfort, they have no right to complain. The fault is theirs, if mistakes and delay arise; and it is as absurd as unjust to impute the effect of their own ignorance or carelessness to the Officers of the Museum." 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.