Friday, June 19, 2015

R. R. Martin is Munificent

So, when reading about the record-breaking auction of a first edition, first printing, signed and inscribed presentation copy of THE HOBBIT, I saw the link to another story about another record being set, again with a first edition copy of THE HOBBIT.

In brief, Martin has just donated a copy of the first edition HOBBIT to the Texas A&M university library. This is not just extremely generous of him but marks a significant milestone for the library, being their five millionth book.

Their millionth book seems to have been essentially random: PROSE AND POETRY OF THE LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY OF THE UNITED STATES. So too perhaps the two million mark: A VOYAGE TO THE ISLANDS MADERA, BARBADOS, NIEVES, S. CHRSTOPHERS AND JAMAICA (1707-25) by Sir Hans Sloane. But it's v. clear that the three millionth was a careful choice: a first edition of Walt Whitman's THE LEAVES OF GRASS [1855], as was the four millionth: Cervantes's DON QUIXOTE (both volumes).

So, it's a big deal that Tolkien's work should be deemed worthy of being in such company and world-renown classic authors as Whitman and Cervantes, a point made explicitly by Martin in his presentation ("Martin expressed him pleasure at a long overdue acceptance of fantasy 'into the canon of world literature'"). It's almost as if, now that Terry Pratchett is dead, R. R. Martin has become the go-to face of fantasy guy.

Here's the link.

--John R.

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