20 Antique Books from Libreria de Antano
By Michael Stillman
Libreria de Antano has issued its E-List #8, 20 Antique Books. This is a reversal of the expected, where a catalogue is converted from ink and paper into electronic bits. While this calls itself an "e-list," what I see before me is a catalogue in a form even Gutenberg would recognize. This is a paper catalogue, with illustrations along with descriptions in both Spanish and English. The works are primarily Spanish or Latin American in origin, the exceptions being a couple of works published in London, but written in the Spanish language. These are some of the items within these very real and tangible pages.
Item 11 is one of those Spanish works published in London, in the year 1828. Author Pablo Mendibil was residing in England for the very good reason that he had been exiled from Spain. He was a reformist and liberal, and such did not sit well in Spain at the time. Mendibil published a literary journal from his exile in London, but also put out this work: Resumen historico de la Revolucion des los Estados Unidos Mejicanos. This book was based on an earlier work by Carlos Bustamante. It describes events leading up to the revolution which eventually gained Mexico its independence. Priced at $2,650.
Item 17 is a most unusual and fascinating work: El mundo cientifico. Inventos modernos. Published in Barcelona, this is an 11-volume set on modern, scientific inventions from the turn of the century. It is filled with pop-up diagrams and descriptions of automobiles, trains, airplanes, motors, and all types of machines. All diagrams are in color. This set was evidently not aimed at the general public, but those with a higher degree of technical understanding. $9,500.
Item 12 is the first printed edition of the autobiography of Palafox: Vida interior del Ilustrissimo, Excelentissimo y Venerable Senor D. Juan de Palafox y Mendoza. Published in 1691, it printed the autobiography Palafox had written under a more modest title years earlier. Palafox was sent to Mexico to serve as a bishop in 1640. For the next 15 years, he tried to serve the natives humanely, and reform the economic and political system he encountered. The result was conflict with the Jesuits. He was officially supported by the Church, but called back home in 1655, essentially a rebuke of his reformist activities. Libreria de Antano describes his book as "fundamental for the study of the Jesuits in Mexico." This edition contains Orozco's rare full page engraving of Palafox. $2,350.
Item 5 is a description of the "pearl" of the Americas, Santa Maria province of Colombia. Located on the coast, it is one of Colombia's oldest regions, settled by early Spanish visitors. It is a source for gold, silver, and, naturally, pearls, and today is also a favored tourist location. However, this book describes a much earlier Santa Maria: La perla de la America, provincia de Santa Maria... It was written by the Jesuit settler Antonio Julian, and published in 1787. The book describes the local culture, natives, mines, and language. Julian also offers the opinion that cocaine would be beneficial to the poor as it makes people more energetic while suppressing their appetite. $4,800.
Liberia de Antano may be contacted at (5411) 4822-7178 or firstname.lastname@example.org.