It has been decades since I last set foot in the university grounds, so before going to the fair we took a trip down memory lane to our old haunts…
…to the Old Quadrangle…
…and from thence to the Old Arts building, where we both attended lectures and tutorials back in the 1960s.
The Arts Tower Clock was a handy point of reference in terms of making the aforementioned lectures and tutorials on time.
Back in the 1960s I didn’t appreciate the wonderful photogenic architecture of the old law and arts sector, and today was very impressed with the beauty of these old buildings.
This tree, a Morton Bay Fig, has been part of the University grounds for decades. It was old when I was student, so I’m glad it’s still alive. I vaguely recall someone doing a Yosarian (from Catch 22) impression in it way back when.
But on to the Book Fair…
Though I wasn’t tempted to purchase anything, it was a fascinating exhibition of old books, prints, maps, postcards, posters etc. I was most interested to see if any of my precious modern first editions were on sale and at what price they were being sold. I noticed that there was a rare rice paper edition of The Lord of the Rings, of which I have a copy, on sale for $500 and also an edition of an obscure Michael Ende novel titled The Grey Gentlemen selling for $100. I have the same edition in my personal library.
The most notable modern first edition on sale was The Great Gatsby which would set you back almost $200,000.
So there were treasures aplenty for a dedicated book lover to lust over, but there were no bargains to be had; the books I fancied were way beyond my price range.
Today was the final day of the Rare Book Fair, so I’m glad I was able to attend, as I only found out about it on Thursday last week. Apparently it’s on every year, or since last year so far.
Rather than go home bookless, we decided, after trooping around the fair and seeing everything there was to see, to drop in on a second hand bookshop close by. There I found a terrific history of the Melbourne Cup (up to 1971) and a omnibus paperback edition of the first three novels in Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time sequence. Amazingly I do not possess a copy of Powell’s masterpiece, but I have read the entire twelve books, which were loaned to me by a friend. I rather fancy rereading it sometime or other so will endeavour to acquire the other three omnibus editions second hand at a reasonable price.
Bibliophile heaven indeed.