More on Bibliophagy: Our Primitive Condition
Yesterday, we looked at Holbrook Jackson's reference to St. John the Divine eating an edible if indigestible book of divine prophecies, but the poor saint was just following orders (and that, perhaps, only in a vision); we see from the above image, however, that some individuals also seek to prepare edible books of secular knowledge, though some thinkers have maintained that to know mathematics is to know the mind of God, so perhaps this book above is also rather too rich for human digestion.
I owe this image to Blake Eskin's New York Times article "Books to Chew On" (March 26, 2006), an essay on bibliophagy that notes such illustrious bibliophagi as St. John the Divine, Ezekiel the Prophet, and every very young child. Concerning puerile bibliophagi, I especially like the quote from that 'famous' collector of books A. S. W. Rosenbach:
"A young child's attitude toward a book is not unlike that of a cannibal toward a missionary."Eskin tells us that Rosenbach made this remark to explain why "so few first editions of early children's classics have survived." From yesterday's post, we see that a similar remark would also perhaps explain why the original Book of Revelation is missing, and we can now possibly extend the explanation to include the Book of Ezekiel (cf. 2:9-3:4), for we are all the children of God our father, or so implies St. Paul in Acts 17:28, quoting the pagan writer Aratus: "For we are indeed his offspring."
By the way, I say 'famous' collector because I'd never heard of Mr. A. S. W. Rosenbach even though there exists an entire museum and library in Philadelphia dedicated to him and his collection, namely, the Rosenbach Museum and Library. He may not be quite famous, as Eskin merely calls him "the noted book collector," but I've now 'noted' him as well. Apparently, he popularized the collecting of American literature, if we can believe Wikipedia, which also informs us that he helped "assemble the extensive collections of the Huntington Library and the Folger Shakespeare Library."
But he doesn't seem to have eaten any books, though he could have enjoyed such rare delicacies as such as James Joyce's manuscript of Ulysses, which he possessed -- and which, incidentally, is far more digestible than Finnegans Wake.
Mr. Rosenbach might have been tempted, however, by the above-depicted Book of Pi (not pie), which -- though it may indeed be too rich for human consumption -- certainly looks to be considerably more of a testament (taste-ament?) to the digestibility of books than the inspiring original, or even than a certain more lively possible inspiration, where another "Pi" also risks being eaten.
But that's a different blog post . . .