Thursday, 12 December 2013

Tiny Books #1. Pippa Passes - Robert Browning

I realised the other day that I have a significant collection within my book collection - tiny books. They are across all the categories on my shelves, and I think they're one of the keys as to why I'm so attached to actual books rather than electronic versions. We're all well aware of the tactile qualities of books, particularly old ones with leather covers and/or thick pages. The tiny book is another phenomena altogether that, absolutely, can't be replicated in electronic form. So, I decided that I'll work my way through my collection - which, by the way, wasn't intentional...they just seem to have multiplied over the years, some gifts, some I've bought myself - and document them here.

This first one is one of my mother's that was always in her bookshelves. Where it came from, I have no idea. I must confess to having never sat down and read it from beginning to end in one go. What I have done, particularly since Mum died and it came to live with me, is pick it up and let it fall open randomly to read a page here and there. It's a play in poem form, with little songs scattered throughout and has just the most delightful and whimsical use of words and phrases. It is one of the many books that came to me with Mum's extensive poetry collection, and she was enormously knowledgeable about poets and their works. While I do love certain poetry and some poets in particular, other than school, I've not made the study of it the way Mum did all her life. Whenever we move house, DB takes it off the shelf - it sits on the shelf, rather than stacked in the lineup - and hands it to me to go in my handbag so it doesn't get lost or damaged.

The leather binding is now a little worn from much handling. I have no idea how old it is, because there's no publication information. The gold embellishments on the cover are still very clear and the colour in the title pages is beautifully rich. It measures 10cm x 7cm. Such a lovely little treasure.


  1. What a beautiful edition! I have not read Pippa Passes but have meant to for some time. I also always think of Lizzie Siddal's illustration for the poem which obviously inspired Lizzie.

  2. Welcome back, Arabella!!
    It is one of my special treasures. I wish I'd thought to ask Mum where she got it - too late now, so it will have to remain a mystery.