Thursday, October 10, 2013

Writerly realia

“You can’t very well tell a donor, ‘The library is not interested in T. S. Eliot’s Panama hat or Charles Dickens’s walking stick.’” That was Peter Accardo of Harvard’s Houghton Library, quoted for a slidehow of items that belonged to writers: The things they carried.

The library-science term for such stuff: realia, “three-dimensional objects from real life . . . that do not easily fit into the orderly categories of printed material.” I trust that reproducing a tiny bit of realia here — the point of a pencil that belonged to E. E. Cummings — counts as fair use.

Certain readers, take note: Cummings’s pencil says “Half the pressure, twice the speed.” Five of the fifteen photographs in the slideshow are pencil-centric.

[Pencil point from a photograph by Stephanie Mitchell.]

comments: 4

Sean said...

Another great find, Michael. Any more like this and I think the folks at Guinness Records should be apprised. :)

And I like the edited photo; rather than a point, perhaps it's the beak of a Blackwing?

Michael Leddy said...

When I wrote this post, I almost typed nib, which, as I just learned, is related to beak. Yes, it’s a beak.

Sean said...

Perhaps the folks over at "Half The Effort, Twice The Greed" will pass on this one.

Michael Leddy said...

I wonder. Nice slogan, by the way.