RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS

09 February 2007

Where Troy Once Stood. Iman Wilkens.

Yesterday I mentioned Wikipedia and their piece on Arthur Bernard Cook which was rather thin. Wikipedia is, of course commendable and vast and we have occasionally contributed to it. As a bookseller you occasionally get obscure info or can make a hitherto unnoticed connection and Wikipedia is great as a residuary for such facts that otherwise would drift into the air like Woodbine smoke in a betting shop. The DNB is good on dead Brits especially the new 60 volume work. In almost every case of 20th Century individuals it states how much money they left. E.g. George Harrison left £98,916,464, Arthur Bernard Cook left £14,249 9s. 8d in 1954 and Bram Stoker left £5269 12s. 7d. in 1912. Agatha Christie in 1976 left £147,810, which doesn't seem enough but was probably a useful sum at the time. They also tend to get an expert or even friend to write the piece and occasionally they wax anecdotal, eg with Bernard Cook there are stories of a couple of amusing remarks he made on his death bed. He would probably have uttered a loud 'Harrumph' at today's work...

Iman Wilkens. WHERE TROY ONCE STOOD: THE MYSTERY OF HOMER'S ILIAD AND ODYSSEY REVEALED. Rider, London, 1990. ISBN : 0712624635

Current Selling Prices
$200-$400 /£120-£200



ANCIENT WORLD/ REVISIONIST HISTORY
A curious and much wanted work with an entirely new theory about Homer's works. Arguing that the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" do not fit the topography, geology, climate and oceanic tidal patterns of the eastern Mediterranean, Wilkens relocates the Homeric scene in western Europe and the northern Atlantic. He claims that the Trojan War was fought on a far larger scale than previously thought, by Celts from regions as far apart as Scandinavia and Spain. Troy was, in fact, in East Anglia! Slightly difficult to swallow but apparently fairly convincing. Also not entirely new, theories like this have been around for 200 years now. [Want level 50 - 75 High]

VALUE? Hard to find a decent copy for less than $150 (paperback) and jacketed hardbacks twice that, but never much more. A revised reprint appeared in Holland in 2005 but is expensive and oddly uncommon. 1990 a US ed appeared in 1991 and goes for similar money. Not especially scarce. At one point a relisting GOPWO from Texas was asking $5000 for the book. The devout young man appears to have vanished (or been sent to Bedlam.)

*GOPWO = Grossly over priced web operator, from a phrase my Dad used from the RAF in WW2 for 'Grossly over promoted warrant officer' -a type that annoyed him greatly. Another acronym that actually has some currency is UNCLE --for books which cannot, as yet, be found listed on the web. The letters stand for Unique No Copy Located Elsewhere.
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