Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Welcome to My Blog, Part II

This post was edited on January 15, 2013. Edits are highlighted in yellow. It was originally posted on 8-21-2011. The edits that I have made represent a renewed interest in reviving this blog, which has been sitting in cyberspace virtually untouched for almost 17 months.

This blog has been languishing in the throes of neglect long enough. I have been putting off posting, because I knew in my mind that the next post was going to bring with it a significant change in the blog's purpose and scope.

Originally, the scope of this blog was limited to being "...an attempt to document some of my best acquisitions, as well as to provide myself with a forum through which to showcase my other book and writing related interests."

By the terms "best acquisitions," I originally meant new additions to my "Big Three" collection (i.e., antiquarian editions of the works of John Dryden, Alexander Pope, and Jonathan Swift.)

By the terms "other book and writing related interests," I meant published, scholarly criticism relating to the Big Three, as well as my own scholarly work in this area, and also the expansion of my thesis, which centers around Aristotelian tragic theory, and its possible permutations.

This might, at first, seem like a broad enough range of topics for a blog, but I soon realized that if I wanted a large readership, that my focus was still much too narrow. Therefore, I decided to expand the blog's scope to include my collections of the following authors:

The works of William Congreve
The works of John Milton
The works of Thomas Shadwell
The works of William Wotton
The works of Sir William Temple

As well as antiquarian books on the following subjects:

Antique locomotives
Wooden sailing ships
Medieval arms and armor
Grandfather Clocks

But even then, I sensed the need to broaden the scope of this blog even further. In addition to broadening the scope, I also felt that the content up until this point has been somewhat lacking in depth; in essence, each post has gone something like this: 

"I recently bought another book about the Big Three. It had these so and so markings on the inside, and was published in so and so year. Here are some pictures..."

If I were to continue in this vein, I might as well call this blog "Christopher's Brag Book," and be done with it. But the shallow content shall end here, because the last thing that I wish to do is to allow this blog to become my online vanity fest.

I do want to showcase my book collection, but I want to provide my reader with something of interest as well. I want my reader to know why I collect these things, and what makes each volume special to me. I want my reader to learn something new that will be of value to them. I want my reader to come away from each post thinking, "Wow, I didn't know that. That's pretty neat." I want the blog to be informative, like a museum exhibit. It's nice to look at the big, skeletal T-Rex, but there needs to be a plaque as well, that lets the viewer know what it is that they're looking at, and why it is significant and worth remembering.

Thus, I have decided to write this post, which will serve as a re-dedication of the blog, and a more concise re-statement of its aim and purpose.

I am Christopher Altnau, aka The Traveling Antiquarian, and I am a librarian, a literary scholar, a book collector (antiquarian and otherwise,) a writer, and an amateur genealogist.

In this blog, you will find:

1) Articles relating to my collection of antiquarian books, specifically the works of the aforementioned authors and subjects.

2) Articles relating to my scholarly endeavors, including the expansion of my thesis, and literary criticism relating to the Big Three.

3) Articles relating to librarianship, including such topics as information literacy, digital preservation, rare books and manuscripts, and equal access to special collections.

4) Articles on book binding, book repair, book appraisal, and book restoration.

5) Articles and photographs concerning both antique, and modern-replicas-in-the-antique-style, grandfather clocks. (I love all kinds of ornate / old fashioned clocks, from pocket watches to wall clocks, but grandfather clocks are my favorite.)

6) Anything else that I can think of that would somehow relate to the overall intent of this blog, including a new post category: Wish List.

The posts will probably be spaced further apart, but they will no longer be rushed, and they will no longer focus solely upon the physical act of collecting. I'd rather have five quality posts per year than to have 20 mediocre ones. And I hope that you, my reader, will agree.

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