I wrote a few weeks ago about the books I’d owned the longest and had never read (you can read more on that here). Today, though, I thought I would share the oldest book I own, Poets of the Nineteenth Century, which was written in 1892 (so quite a while ago).
This version was given as a gift in 1894, and there is an inscription on the inside. It’s one of the things that made me buy the book, I just felt connected to it in a way I might not have with other used books I have picked up. It’s also one of the reasons that, whilst I’m not so much into poetry as I once was, I can’t bring myself to give it away.
You can blame my sentimentality on the fact that I bought this book when I was a young, impressionable, teen. I was learning about the romantic poets in school and this hit a chord. This also makes it the book I have owned the longest – it’s going on 35 years now.
I still have a photo of the day I bought it because we were on holiday and I immediately dived in and started reading it. I was going to share it here but the fashion disaster that I was just won’t let me – sorry!Reading it, I felt transported back in time. I could have been Lucy Lampert. Of course, I wasn’t – I could never write that neatly for a start – but it doesn’t hurt to dream.
And dream I did amongst the beautifully illustrated pages, lost in the words of Cowper, Mary Tighe, Anna Seward, Mitford, and Wordsworth as well as poets I wasn’t familiar with at all and are no longer big name draws.
It’s quite a way away from the type of books I read nowadays, with murder on every page. Perhaps, though, there were shades of things to come when you look at my favourite poem in the book, one I can still quote today…
Not the cheeriest of poems – some might even call it morbid, and definitely a clue to where my reading would take me.
What about you, what is the oldest book you own or the book you have owned the longest – have any of them got this beat in terms of age? or do any give a clue as to your future reading styles?