Friday, December 10, 2010

Old fashioned books and CDs

The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard - Katha-Upanishad
That quote is the epigraph of W. Somerset Maugham's last novel The Razor's Edge and the two illustrations comes from the 1967 Heron Books edition. A chance mention in Piers Moore Ede's newly published exploration of mysticism All Kinds of Magic led me to The Razor's Edge. Written in 1944 The Razor's Edge is a little known precursor of road novels such as Kerouac's On The Road and of rites of passage novels such as J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. The epigraph was translated by Christopher Isherwood and there has been speculation, denied by him, that Isherwood was the model for the main character in the novel. My copy came from the treaure trove that is Norfolk Library Service's bibliographic reserve, and I appear to be the fifth borrower in the last ten years. In our Chance Music discussion Jeff Harrington talked about the problem of archiving digital content. Will Kindle files be available from bibiographic archives in forty-three years time? And if so will they offer wonderful illustrations as an unexpected bonus? While browsing Wolfgang Zuckermann's serendipitous bricks and mortar bookshop in Avignon I found a copy of Somerset Maugham's early novel The Magician, an unillustrated Penguin edition that originally sold for three shillings and sixpence. And while a BBC presenter was resigning because the BBC has lost interest in non-mainstream music I was browsing the CD stores in the murky and magical city of Marseille. Among my discoveries was a 2004 disc of North India ragas played by sarod master Partho Sarothy with sometime Jordi Savall sideman Prabhu Edouard on tabla from Radio France's Ocora label. One of my very first posts now makes interesting reading, it was titled Serendipity and Collaborative Filtering.


Also on Facebook and Twitter. The two illustrations are by David Knight. All Kinds of Magic and The Razor's Edge were borrowed from Norfolk Library Service. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

2 comments:

The Wound Dresser said...

The holy man in the ashram in the novel is alleged to be Ramana Maharshi.It is one of my favorite novels, and was turned into a decent movie starring Tyrone Power, and a not very well received remake starring Bill Murray.There is much speculation upon whom the main character is based , and american mining engineer who stayed with Ramana Maharshi named Guy Hague is often credited[see http://the-wanderling.com/hague.html}
either way, it is a wonderful novel, long before eat pray love became watchwords in america.

Pliable said...

My last link points to a post on collaborative filtering.

Six years on musicplasma.com, which is mentioned in the post, seems to have gone to the great server in the sky. But the collaborative filtering concept lives on -

http://www.nmcrec.co.uk/musicmap