A couple of Jean Shepherd-related books in my Shep Shrine are rather rare. I’ve written about them previously, but not shown the specifics that make them special. My two copies of I, Libertine in paperback are signed. One by Jean Shepherd, who created the original hoax and, it’s said, was responsible for the general idea of the book, the other by Theodore Sturgeon, who, it’s said, wrote most of it except for the final chapter. The paper, as you can see, is brown with age and it is very fragile–I took a chance opening it flat to scan the page with Shep’s signature.
Jean Shepherd signing my paperback copy of I, LIBERTINE.
(As I took the photo, I’m not in it. Note date of April 1957,
taken on a Horn and Hardart restaurant balcony
after a mill at the Marboro Bookstore on 8th Street.)
Theodore Sturgeon signature in a separate paperback
copy of I, LIBERTINE I bought years later through the internet.
According to the Sturgeon web page: “The symbol of the Q with
an arrow through it was used by Sturgeon in his signature
after the mid-1970s. He also wore it as a necklace.”
“It means ‘Ask the next question.’ It’s the symbol of everything humanity has ever created, and is the reason it has been created. This guy is sitting in a cave and he says, ‘Why can’t man fly?’ Well, that’s the question. The answer may not help him, but the question now has been asked. The next question is what? How? And so all through the ages, people have been trying to find out the answer to that question. We’ve found the answer, and we do fly. This is true of every accomplishment, whether it’s technology or literature, poetry, political systems or anything else. That’s it. Ask the next question. And the one after that.” – Theodore Sturgeon
English hardcover edition–note text on back of dust jacket.
(For English paperback and American hardcover see http://www.flicklives.com)
A serious, historical book with an 8+ page chapter on I, Libertine
(click on image of text to enlarge)
When I bought my first edition used copy of Shepherd’s WANDA HICKEY’S NIGHT OF GOLDEN MEMORIES–AND OTHER DISASTERS, I had no idea of the bookplate I’d find in the copy when it arrived in the mail. FYI, the over-stamped info in full reads “No longer property of Dover Public Library” :
(Click on image to enlarge.) Bookplate reads:
Dover Public Library
Dover, New Jersey
From the TUBA SECTION of
Dover High School 1971-1972
This has significance only to those Shepherd
fans who know that Shepherd
played the tuba and sousaphone in high school.
A booklet from Camp Crowder, where Shepherd
spent an early part of his Signal Corps training.
(There is less material available from Florida’s
Camp Murphy where Shepherd spent his
radar training time. Maybe because it was supposed
to be a “secret radar facility.”)