Many who follow Biblioasis and CNQ know that we started as used booksellers, and still maintain an online and by appointment shop. we’ve only managed to catalogue a little over 7000 items over the last few years, of more than 30,000 currently in stock. A lot of our stock, whether catalogued or no, would be best classified as Canadiana, and over the last six months I’ve sold some truly rare items, some of which probably will never pass through my hands again. Some of it, like the issue of the Trireme above, containing what well might be Hugh Hood’s first short story, might be deemed ephemeral; others include rare Contact Press titles, broadsides, galley proofs, mock-covers for important Canadian books which were abandoned, and much else. There’s the catalogue I sold a few months back Norman Levine wrote for a tour of the St. Ives painters in Canada during the 50s, the first thing he’d penned in St. Ives, the place he called home for the last 40-50 years of his life, and perhaps one of the scarcest Levine items around. I sold it to the daughter of one of the painters, and it returned to England. I’m unlikely to see a copy of it again, and wish I’d kept a photograph of it for future reference.
As some of you also know, CNQ began its life more than 40 years ago as an offshoot publication of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of Canada, and its early issues were devoted to the bibliographic particularities of rare Canadiana. As such, I thought this would be the place to begin documenting some of the books and other interesting items I come across as a periodic feature here on the CNQ blog. Perhaps it will force me to slow down and document what passes through my hands before I lose it forever. And it will allow me to play bookseller a little more regularly, as it is something I miss a great deal.
If anyone else out there has an interesting piece of Canadiana they would like to share, send me a short write up and some photographs or scans and I’ll include them here on the CNQ blog. I’ll try to post something new at least once a week, though I expect you can expect such postings to be, as is true of so much that is CNQ, “charmingly irregular.”
Below is a scan of Hugh Hood’s story The Odyssey in Brief. Enjoy.