Saturday, August 23, 2008

Stocking the shelves of the Invisible Library

{Photo by rocketlass.}

Earlier this summer, inspired by book-filled novels by Graham Greene and Vladimir Nabokov, I hit upon the idea of using the Internet to start a catalog of books that exist only within other books--a Borgesian invisible library.

Now, through the inventiveness and industry of Ed Park--no mean begetter of imaginary books himself--the Invisible Library has a home! So far Ed and I have catalogued a mere handful of titles--leaning heavily on our old favorite, Anthony Powell--but the library is designed to be infinitely expandable, and we'll continually add more as we come across them.

Come by for a visit: whether you find your fancy piqued by Odo Stevens's wartime memoir Sad Majors or Fellowes Kraft's Joseph-Campbellesque mythic exploration Time's Body or Sebastian Knight's little-understood first novel, The Prismatic Bezel, we promise you'll leave empty-handed.

1 comment:

  1. This will be a fun resource! I'll definitely keep my eyes open for you.

    I often find myself thinking of books that only exist in books. I've always been haunted by the missing phone book in Bruno Schulz's story "The Book." This page tells me what I already suspected: the Book is real!:

    "In the 1980s, the original Austro-Hungarian advertisement that Schulz must have seen and subsequently incorporated into Sanatorium pod Klepsydrą was discovered in a library. The advertisement is a page from "The Book" of Sanatorium pod Klepsydrą. Schulz actually quotes a few lines from "The Book" in his novel and one generally assumed it was something Schulz had just made up. However, the quote: I, Anna Csillag, born in Karłowice, Moravia, had weak hair growth... is similar to the beginning of a German advertisement for hair growth "I, Anna Csillag, with my long giant Loreley hair of 185 centimetres, have grown it due to a 14-month treatment with a hair cream of my own invention."