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Re: Essais de Philologie Moderne (1951)

Subject: Re: Essais de Philologie Moderne (1951)
by Findegil on 2010/9/6 19:25:43

Putting on my special collections librarian's hat:

The correct term for a book with the folds of its gatherings still intact is, as Gawain says, unopened. As John Carter writes in ABC for Book Collectors (available as a pdf here), unopened 'must not be confused, as it often is by philistines, with uncut'. My and Christina's copy of the Essais is roughly trimmed but not unopened; it was, however, once owned and read by someone else, who made a few marginal notes, and he or she may have opened the leaves. It's not at all unusual to find scholarly books of this sort, issued in wrappers and intended to be rebound (and thus trimmed at that time), with unopened gatherings.

Now, then, as to opening unopened leaves, my advice is always to stay well clear of any metal or plastic tool, the use of which, even with care, may bring disastrous results, mainly because it will be so much harder than book paper and have a hard edge. Much better to use a stiff card, for instance an index card (at the library I use old catalog card stock), heavier than the paper to be cut but not too thick, and keeping it and the book flat, address the unopened top or fore-edge with a gentle sawing motion, with just enough force to get the job done.

Wayne