06 September 2005

Kael's Books at Hampshire College

The Boston Globe reports:
Anyone interested in the books in Pauline Kael's life, or at least the ones about film, can inspect the contents of a sizable alcove on the second floor of Hampshire College's Johnson Library Center. Shelved there are the roughly 3,000 books and periodicals that made up Kael's professional library.

The Pauline Kael Collection, which opened last September, is no mahogany-paneled famous author shrine. It's a well-lit, no-nonsense space surrounded on three sides by metal shelves and furnished in what might best be called Open Stack Nondescript: two small tables, a couple of sofas, a few chairs.
At the college's website, you can see pictures of the collection, which does indeed look nondescript.

One of the amazing things about the collection -- which has books that are filled with Kael's marginalia -- is that it circulates:
The sale was made with the understanding that Kael's books would form ''a working special collection," Lopez says, ''rather than one just salted away." As a result, its contents can be checked out.

''It's well used by the students," says Hampshire's Carpenter. Although separate circulation figures aren't kept, she notes, ''Returns to the collection are kept on a separate cart, and every day it's full."
Some of the marginalia mentioned in the article are intriguing:
William Goldman's ''Adventures in the Screen Trade" abounds in marginalia. Where Goldman notes that ''The Godfather: Part II" got more Oscar nominations than its predecessor, a clearly exasperated Kael scrawled, ''Did you notice its quality? Goldman sees everything in terms of formula."

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