The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives


In the dream I was trying to buy a book on Samothrace at the local bookstore. I was supposed to meet someone there, but kept missing the streetcar stop and having to go around the entire loop again, as all the other nearby stops were closed; I ended up alighting some ways distant and returning to the bookstore on foot. The book was a surprise. I had to climb a very complicated ladder to reach it, as none of the nearby booksellers was interested in doing so, and I stood for a long time at the top of the ladder inspecting the book. It was in very good condition, with a very good dust jacket (although the dust jacket, like many things in dreams, had an uncertain existence, at times showing a distressing tendency to disappear and reappear, which made holding the book somewhat complicated). The pages were very pleasant, with a cottony feel and no flecks of wood pulp. The book itself wavered in appearance, at times being the rich dark green of early twentieth century Macmillan books, at other times the smoother, darker blue of mid-century Clarendon Press. The name of the first author appeared to be Greek and started, I think, with the letter P, while the coauthor was French and could have been Vernant or Vidal-Naquet, or some other of that ilk. When I opened the book to check the price ($171 in faint 2H pencil), the first author’s name had undergone a metamorphosis and started with Cz, which was followed by a bristling string of consonants that I could not distinguish. When I took the book to the register to purchase it, there was some dispute about its price, as the putty-colored slip of paper to which barcodes for old books were applied was missing; this meant that the buyer who had originally purchased it for the store (and who was of course hidden away in a warren of shelves) had to be consulted. The booksellers chatted quietly amongst themselves about their evening plans, and I waited for the absent book buyer fruitlessly, becoming increasingly impatient and melancholy at the growing realization that I would not be able to carry the book away, until finally I just woke up.


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