Guides for spelling
Guides for spelling
Printed Page Bookshop
February 2023

These books will help you with your spelling
Among the more unusual books customers at Printed Page ask for are grimoires.  Grimoires are spell books that contain symbols, incantations, charms, and instructions for invocations and the making of amulets.  Some have instructions for summoning the devil.  Others have tips for catching fish, household tips, and how to make a Hand of Glory, which renders one invisible.  (Hopes for spells to stop telephone solicitations are sadly missing.)
Grimoires have existed since ancient times, but they became much more readily available after the advent of printing.  Most were published in Protestant or other non-Catholic states, since, like witchcraft, the Inquisition considered theses texts heretical.  The granddaddy of grimoires is "The Clavicule of Solomon," supposedly written by King Solomon. It showed up in the eastern Mediterranean during the first few centuries AD.  By the 15th century, hundreds of copies were in the hands of Western scientists and clergymen.  While some denounced these Solomonic texts as heretical, many clergymen secretly pored over them.  Some had lofty ambitions to obtain wisdom from the "wisest of the wise," while others sought to enrich themselves by discovering treasures and vanquishing the spirits that guarded them.
Later came the "Petit Albert," which benefited from the cheap print revolution of the early 18th century (it's the one that had the fishing tips).  Like the "Petit Albert," "Dragon Rouge" was another cheap grimoire in the 18th century.  It was infamous for including an invocation of the Devil and his lieutenants.  (Hey!  Maybe that's what started those telephone solicitations!)
Another grimoire, "The Magus," was published in 1801.  It was a re-statement of 17th century occult science.  It was a flop at the time, but its influence was subsequently considerable on the occult revival of the late 19th century and contemporary magical traditions.  In the early 20th century, it was plagiarized by an American occult entrepreneur and entitled "The Great Book of Magical Art, Hindu Magic and East Indian Occultism" and was much sought-after.  
"The Necronomicon" was a figment of the imagination of H.P. Lovecraft.  This book of mysterious wisdom was written in the eighth century by a mad Yemeni poet.  Despite being a literary fiction, several "real" Necronomicons have been published over the decades, and today it has as much a right to be considered a grimoire as any other of the books mentioned above.

This Month's Puzzler

On February 21, 1907, this man was born in York, England. As a child, he
was fascinated by science and even thought about one day becoming a
biologist or engineer. By age 15, though, he fell in love with poetry,
and would spend the rest of his life under its spell. He attended college
at Christ Church, Oxford, where he excelled in his studies and associated
with other aspiring poets and writers, including C. Day Lewis, Stephen
Spender, and Christopher Isherwood.

He achieved great fame as a poet in the 1930s, a special favorite of
people on the left for his advocacy of revolutionary politics. He moved
to America in 1939, moderated many of his more radical views, and
ultimately became a U. S. citizen in 1946. In 1948, he received the
Pulitzer Prize for "The Age of Anxiety," his most famous piece of verse.
History now ranks him among the truly great poets of the 20th century, but
he was also an accomplished prose writer, and an inveterate quotation
collector. In "The Age of Anxiety," he has a character say:

"We would rather be ruined than changed."

Who is this man?                 (Answer below)

The last two winners of the Kirkpatrick Prize for Young Book Collectors heard about it here.  Will you be the third?
If you're under 30 and have an interesting collection of books, manuscripts or ephemera, you really ought to look into entering the competion for the Taylor C. Kirkpatrick Prize for Book Collecting.  You can win $1,000, a compimentary one-hour consultation with collections advisor Spencer W. Stuart, a subscription to "Firsts" magazine, and recogniton at the Rocky Mountain Book and Paper Fair.  
You don't need to have a big collection to win.  You just need a passion that your books are fueling.  You can read the complete instructions and rules HERE.
The prize is co-sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Antiquarian Booksellers Association  

Puzzler answer

W. H. Auden.  If you like our Puzzler, find more on our Facebook page.  
Thanks to Dr. Mardy Grothe for the use of his puzzler.  Visit him at

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