|John Gardner's Grendel|
One of the more interesting books I found in the last week or so was a copy of John Gardner's Grendel, a book well enough known among medieval scholars. This copy I was able to pick up in a bookstore in Columbus last Monday. It is not a first printing, and it lacks its original dust jacket, so it already has two strikes against it.
But it only cost me about five dollars, and it does have one important feature, being signed and inscribed by the author.
As I hope people can see (my photographic skills are not always as good as I might wish) the inscription is an interesting one: "To Andrew--Absolutely my favorite young poet--with the possible exception of Liz. John Gardner."
So far, I have not been able to pin down who Andrew and Liz might be: the book is an eighth printing from 1979, and Gardner died in 1982, so even though the inscription isn't dated, it must have been written between those two dates. The use of the familiar names suggests that the two poets probably also knew each other. One wouldn't think it would be so hard to identify two young poets with those names from that time. But nothing has occurred to me yet.
There are literally only a handful of signed first edition copies of Grendel available online; they start at about a thousand dollars. This copy, of course, won't be worth nearly as much, but it's an interesting copy nonetheless, and it might be even more interesting if I can identify the Andrew of the inscription. It's just the kind of puzzle that reminds me that this is a business where I'm always learning, or at least trying to learn.