Back to the relationship among Mary Shelley, Washington Irving, John Howard Payne ...
And then, working on this section, I remembered a book that I knew I had (or did I?)—a book I’d read carefully when I was in the whirl of all my Mary Shelley research. The Romance of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, John Howard Payne and Washington Irving was published in a run of only 470 copies by The Bibliophile Society in Boston in 1907. It includes the relevant letters among the principals.
I think I’d first come across the book in the Kent State Library back in the late 1990s, and my journal tells me I began reading it on December 27, 1999 (no mention of when I finished it), but the bibliographic card I still have on the book says that it is at “home”—meaning: I owned it; I’d bought it. And I see in the computer database I’ve been keeping for the books we own that I did, indeed, own a copy.
But when I started working on this section about Mary’s involvement with Payne and Irving, I looked but could not find that book. It was patently not where it should be. And so I began to doubt? Did I ever really own it? Did I lose it? Surely … no one stole it, right?
But I needed it, badly, so I got on Advanced Book Exchange and found another copy, and the day it arrived—March 17, 2016—I logged it in, then placed it on the shelf, where, of course, I saw its “lost” sibling, standing right where it should have been, seemingly happy to see that it would no longer be alone. (Family, you know?) What …?
I have no idea how that happened—how I looked at that very spot and failed to see that very book. So … I now have two copies of The Romance—and a flush of foolishness that flows through me whenever I look at that shelf, or even think about what happened.
|the 2 copies, on my scanner, where, obviously,|
they do not fit ... so ... iPhone photo