One copy [Of Joyce's Ulysses] -- which used to belong to T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia -- stands out for its full range of appeals to the senses.The volume has been rebound in sumptuous wine-red leather ornamented with gilt, and it gives every indication of frequent use, including a well-rubbed binding. Inside, on more than 150 pages, are pencil annotations about the Dublin landmarks in Joyce's masterpiece, as well as more than a few black smudges and even a couple of biscuit crumbs.
In addition, Lawrence's copy of Ulysses is remarkable for its smell. The book has been shown to many visitors and students over the years. When it is carefully removed from the shelf and ceremoniously divested of its acid-free box, which helps preserve the volume, even from several inches away you can smell a sweet, somewhat smoky aroma that suffuses every bit of paper and leather. Many people assume it must be the residue of pipe tobacco, perhaps the fruit-scented variety. The aroma is a spur to the imagination, summoning up romantic visions of Lawrence by his fireside, puffing reflectively on a meerschaum, immersed in the drama of Leopold Bloom.
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I usually blog on Saturdays, but I missed the last two weeks and I'll be taking tomorrow off, as well. I know I've been whining a lot lately about being overly busy, but I expect to resume my normal routine next week. See you then. Thanks for reading my blog, everyone.