Napoleon’s Ingenious Traveling Library: Today in Critical Linking

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A few diversions to make your Saturday all the more bookish…

  1. Covet Napoleon’s traveling library.“For a long time Napoleon used to carry about the books he required in several boxes holding about sixty volumes each. These volumes, which were either octavo or duodecimo, stood upon shelves inside the boxes, which were supplied by the well-known cabinetmaker, Jacob. They were made of mahogany at first, but as it was found that this was not strong enough for the knocking about they had to sustain, M. Barbier bad them made of oak and covered with leather. The inside was lined with green leather or velvet, and the books were bound in morocco. There was a catalogue for each case, with a corresponding number upon every volume, so that there was never a moment’s delay in picking out any book that was wanted.”
  2. Uncover the magical rivalry (not kidding) between Alistair Crowley and W.B. Yeats.“When Crowley showed a tendency to use his occult powers for evil rather than for good,” Ellmann writes, “the adepts of the order, Yeats among them, decided not to allow him to be initiated into the inner circle; they feared that he would profane the mysteries and unleash powerful magic forces against humanity.” Crowley’s ouster lead to a confrontation in 1900 that might make you think—depending on your frame of reference—of the warring magicians on South Park or of Susanna Clark’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, or both.”
  3. Be comforted by this video and performance of a letter E.B. White wrote about the importance of libraries.

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