It’s raining books!

A tap on the door, as I try to deal with the week’s post, and a neighbour bearing a parcel from Brepols.  Yes, it’s the remaining two fascicles of the Patrologia Orientalis of Agapius.  I wrote to them over the Christmas period, asking for them, and never heard back.  Prompt service indeed!

This brings to an end a week which has snowed books.  I mentioned Zamagni’s edition of Eusebius Gospel Questions yesterday; today it arrived — massively quick service that from — and looks excellent.  I decided last weekend that I needed to read Catullus and Tibulus, for what they say about the Roman book trade.  On Monday I ordered an out-of-copyright Loeb; a couple of days later it arrived at work.  Together with a mail-order pack of 20 100w lightbulbs (used in every house in Britain but now removed from every shop), no day has gone by without a delivery. 

It’s frankly overwhelming.  I’ve been trying to read N. G. Wilson’s Scholars of Byzantium, and being distracted.  Wilson deals with the survival of Greek classical literature in the Eastern Roman Empire, to 1453 — and does it magnificently.  It’s a truly splendid book.  To read it is a liberal education, and if I could give copies to my friends and know that they would read it, I would.  It’s been brought back into print via a print-on-demand service; go and buy it!

The two fascicles of the PO are interesting to see.  One is a shiny new anastatic reprint of 2003, but very good quality.  The other has uncut edges, and yellowing paper, and looks like an original printing — almost a century old!  Evidently not many people ever wanted to buy Agapius!  In a way, isn’t it a privilege to be able to get them?  Isn’t it a blessing that Brepols keep these in print?  Good for them!


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