JF Ptak Science Books Post 2685
[Umberto Eco's sketch for the imaginary library in his The Name of the Rose, from Digital Architectural Papers, here]
“To write vast books is a laborious nonsense, much better is to offer a summary as if those books actually existed.” — Jorge Luis Borges
I imagined to be reading about the imaginary illustrations of a non-existent book when I wondered about the extent of (intentionally) imaginary books in the history of real books. It was a quick realization of how deep and how old this genre is--and as a matter of fact one excellent single-stop website that displays this depth is the Librarian of Babel by Emi Hastings (Catalogues of Imaginary Libraries https://librarianofbabel.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/bibliographies-of-imaginary-libraries/).
At the outset I thought to write some sort of overview or a little history of the imaginary book, starting of course with Rabelais and then Borges, but there is just so much more than can be accommodated by a simple evening's work that I decided to simply make a few lists of representative creations by a selection of some favorite biblio-creativists. So, help yourself to some interesting and humorous suggestions by Charles Dickens, John Donne, Francois Rabelais, Marcus de Fable, Douglas Adams, Jorges Luis Borges, Umberto Eco, Vladimir Nabokov, Haited Pleat, and J.K. Rowling.
Works invented by Charles Dickens [findable in numerous forms with this list found at http://flavorwire.com/329815/charles-dickens-library-of-fake-books]:
Five Minutes in China. 3 vols.
Forty Winks at the Pyramids. 2 vols.
Abernethy on the Constitution. 2 vols.
Mr. Green’s Overland Mail. 2 vols.
Captain Cook’s Life of Savage. 2 vols.
A Carpenter’s Bench of Bishops. 2 vols.
Toot’s Universal Letter-Writer. 2 vols.
Orson’s Art of Etiquette.
Downeaster’s Complete Calculator.
History of the Middling Ages. 6 vols.
Jonah’s Account of the Whale.
Captain Parry’s Virtues of Cold Tar.
Kant’s Ancient Humbugs. 10 vols.
Bowwowdom. A Poem.
The Quarrelly Review. 4 vols.
The Gunpowder Magazine. 4 vols.
Steele. By the Author of “Ion.”
Works invented by John Donne, Catalogus librorum aulicorum incomparabilium et non vendibilium, or The Courtier’s Library of Rare Books Not for Sale, was written between 16-7-1611, and published in 1650: [http://libraryofinvisible.blogspot.com/2014/03/anonymous.html]
Edward Hoby’s Afternoon Belchings
On Distinguishing the Sex and Hermaphroditism of Atoms
On the art of decyphering and finding some treason in any intercepted letter
Concerning the method of emptying the dung from Noah’s Ark
Martin Luther, On Shortening the Lord’s Prayer
The Princely Ocean, or The Pyramid, or The Colossus, or The Abyss of Wits: where by means of 60,000 letters to the Nobles of all nations … are related everything that is able to be related concerning toothpicks and hangnails
On the Navigability of the Waters above the heavens, and whether Ships in the Firmament will land there or on our shores on the Day of Judgment, by John Dee
What not? or a confutation of all errors in Theology as well as in the other sciences, and the mechanical arts, by all men, dead, living, and to be born, put together one night after supper
The Art of Cutting the Teeth.
Matthew’s Nursery Songs.
Paxton’s Bloomers. 5 vols.
On the Use of Mercury by the Ancient Poets.
Drowsy’s Recollections of Nothing. 3 vols.
Heavyside’s Conversations with Nobody. 3 vols.
Commonplace Book of the Oldest Inhabitant. 2 vols.
Growler’s Gruffiology, with Appendix. 4 vols.
The Books of Moses and Sons. 2 vols.
Burke (of Edinburgh) on the Sublime and Beautiful. 2 vols.
King Henry the Eighth’s Evidences of Christianity. 5 vols.
Miss Biffin on Deportment.
Morrison’s Pills Progress. 2 vols.
Lady Godiva on the Horse.
Munchausen’s Modern Miracles. 4 vols.
Richardson’s Show of Dramatic Literature. 12 vols.
Hansard’s Guide to Refreshing Sleep
Works invented by Francois Rabelais, a selection from Catalogue of the Choice Books Found by Pantagruel in the Abbey of Saint Victor: Devised by François Rabelais: Translated and Annotated by Walter Klinefelter, a Student of Catalogues (printed in Pantagruel, c. 1532; translated and printed separately, 1952):
The Spur of Cheese
The Codpiece of the Law
The Testes of Theology
On the Art of Discreetly Farting in Company
Three Books on How to Chew Bacon
Martingale Breeches with Back-flaps for Turd-droppers