15 August 2013

The Quest Will Continue

William Dana Orcutt in the forward to the third edition of In Quest of the Perfect Book: Reminiscences & Reflections of a Bookman (Boston: Little, Brown, 1926):
A writer may be born who combines the wisdom of Solomon, the power of analysis of Henry James, the understanding of Plato, the philosophy of Emerson, and the style of Montaigne. This manuscript may be transformed into a book by a printer who can look beyond his cases of type, and interpret what Aldus, and Jenson, and Etienne, and Plantin saw, with the artistic temperament of William Morris and the restraint of Cobden-Sanderson. There may be a binding that represents the apotheosis of Italian, French, and English elegance. A reader may be developed through the evolution of the ages competent to appreciate the contents and the physical format of such a volume, "for what we really seek is a comparison of experiences."
Until then the Quest will continue, going constantly onward and upward. Its lure will keep us from slipping back upon false satisfaction and a placid but — shall I say? — a dangerous contemplation of the humanistic idyll.
This scan of an earlier edition seems to be a little clearer than the one above.