Monday, October 3, 2011

Gotham Book Mart In Memoriam - Eric Packer's Day in Cosmopolis

The Gotham Book Mart is the bookstore Eric goes into to look at poetry books and sees an apparition of a woman that he follows. He finally catches up with her and it is Elise sitting on the stairs reading a book of poetry. Just as Gradiva sits on the stairs in the antiquities shop that used to be the Pompeiian poet's residence. In both cases Gradiva/Elise are taken to lunch by Hansen and Packer -  rather lovely I think.

DeLillo has lovingly included the famous and excellent historical Gotham Book Mart in his story. It was forced to close in 2007. The real estate the store rented was obscenely expensive, and a bookstore that was cherished and obviously loved by DeLillo bit the dust to greed. It's huge inventory of priceless rare autographed books and photographs went up for auction and were donated to The University of Pennsylvania's Library. A happier ending than might have been.

NYTimes or paste in browser article lovely article reminiscing about GBM

The Gotham Book Mart was famous for its literary eminences. A December 1948 party for Osbert and Edith Sitwell (seated, center) drew a roomful of bright lights to the Gotham Book Mart: clockwise from W. H. Auden, on the ladder at top right, were Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, Delmore Schwartz, Randall Jarrell, Charles Henri Ford (cross-legged, on the floor), William Rose Benét, Stephen Spender, Marya Zaturenska, Horace Gregory, Tennessee Williams, Richard Eberhart, Gore Vidal and José Garcia Villa. (Photo: Gotham Book Mart)

Andreas Brown, the last owner of the Gotham Book Mart, readied vintage photos of Arthur Miller and James Joyce in 2004 in preparation for a move to a new location. (Photo: Frances Roberts for The New York Times)

Updated, 4:50 p.m. | About 200,000 items from the Gotham Book Mart, which closed in 2007 after 87 years as a New York literary haven of international stature, have been donated to the University of Pennsylvania.

January 2, 2009, 12:51 pm
Gotham Book Mart Holdings Are Given to Penn

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