There is a new announcement from WordPress release of Gutenberg Editor as on January 2020. New feature added in WordPress. Use multiple features by using individual block.
Though Margaret Leslie Davis's book is centered around a copy of the famous Gutenberg Bible (designated Number 45), it's really about the people who have sought, owned, and studied it over the course of two centuries. After a short description of the book's origins in the 15th century, she picks up the story with Archibald Acheson, 3rd Earl of Gosford, who purchases the book in 1836. While her reasons for starting with him go largely unmentioned (she does reference the book's previous owner, a Henry Perkins), the earl's purchase occurred at a time when the rare book market had emerged and copies of such books were increasingly prized by the growing group of collectors. As Davis notes, though, the Gutenberg was initially not as greatly valued as other works, with the earl acquiring his prize for a surprisingly modest sum.
That would change over the course of the 19th century, as the Gutenberg Bible became increasingly prized for its beauty, its rarity, and its historical significance. Davis charts this development through a succession of owners, from the earl through Lord William Tyssen-Amherst (who added the volume to his collection in 1884) to Charles William Dyson Perrins (a condiment manufacturer) before the book's eventual purchase by the wife of an American oil tycoon, Estelle Doheny, in 1950. As she traces the course of its ownership, she describes the motivations of each collector, their various views of the Bible, and their treatment of the book, all of which she makes engaging with a fine appreciation for engaging details. The increasing reverence in which the book is held is perhaps best embodied by Doheny, who upon her death donated it and the rest of her extensive collection to St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, California. This is where Davis tells what is perhaps the most tragic part of the book's tale, for upon the expiration of the restriction on Doheny's donation the Roman Catholic Church sold the Bible along with most of the other books and artwork she gifted them.
Today the Gutenberg Davis describes resides in a vault at Keio University in Japan, where it remains physically inaccessible to the public. Yet Davis ends the book on a surprisingly optimistic note, as she describes how, thanks to digitization efforts, anyone on the Internet today can read Number 45 for themselves, as digital scans of it are online. Hopefully Davis's book will encourage more people to visit the site to see this historical treasure for themselves, especially given the winding journey it took to go from closeted collections to readability by the world.
"The Yellow Wallpaper" is one of the few things I read during my vacation that wasn't a graphic novel or manga. I downloaded it via Project Gutenberg. I think I saw a review of it on Booklikes, but I couldn't remember a thing about it. I wasn't even sure what genre it was and, since I didn't bother to look it up before getting started, I thought it might be a mystery. It's actually more psychological fiction (psychological horror?).
An unnamed woman stays at a fancy house with her physician husband and their baby. She's supposedly there for her health. Her husband says there's nothing physically wrong with her - she's suffering from hysteria/a nervous condition and must receive as little mental stimulation as possible. The woman feels she'd be better off elsewhere, but her husband insists that she stay in the horrid former nursery with torn yellow wallpaper and barred windows. The story takes the form of secret journal entries written by this woman,
as, from lack of anything else to do, she obsesses over the wallpaper and gradually goes mad. She begins to see creeping women everywhere, including behind the paper, and finally comes to believe that she is one of the creeping women as well.
I wasn't expecting this to be so unsettling. When I first started reading, I wondered whether the woman's husband had malicious intentions. The room was objectively awful, and the woman's request to spend a bit of time elsewhere didn't seem like a big deal. I think the husband probably did have good intentions, though. He just had terrible ideas about what might help his wife. I wonder if it finally dawned on him, too late, that he'd gone about everything all wrong?
I wondered whether the room was really an old nursery, or if it had once held someone else very much like the narrator. It was such a sinister place.
All in all, this was an excellent and quick read, and this is coming from someone who generally prefers novels over short stories.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)