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#WhatLiesAground  (originally posted August 9)

Under consideration right now: a trip to +The New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman branch. The only one (close to our reach here) with any holding copy of Gadsby, the experimental "e-less" novel by Ernest Vincent Wright. And from the looks of it, theirs is a reference tool.

A while ago, I approached the patio, told David that I'd be looking into the trip soon, and also mentioned the book to him. To which he said: "Discuss it with Mom. She'll set it up." (Mom and the others, as I type, are spending the day at Clinton beach.)

To maximise my efforts, I'll have to wake up pretty early to hitch a ride. (Schwarzman opens at ten on any given day; reaching there from Waterbury takes an hour and a half.) Wondering how many trips it'll take me--two, three, four, five?--and how much money for photocopying, if at all. Either that, or scanning with USB.

Taking the latter into consideration, I'm calling the staff right now.

As for the strange story surrounding this book:

Wright wrote Gadsby in early 1937, spent two years shopping it around to publishers, and finally took it to a Los Angeles vanity press named Wetzel. The book reportedly came out on the day of his death (October 7, 1939); a warehouse fire at Wetzel swept out many of its original copies, resulting in its ultra-rare status today. In the years ahead, it became a small part of the #Oulipo  movement in Paris, some of whose members sought the remaining copies in existence. Author Georges Perec wrote La Disparition (a.k.a. A Void) in 1969, as French literature's answer to Gadsby.

For the record (legally): The book is already in the public domain across most of the world--without anyone knowing it. In the U.S., copyright renewal was not met by 1967--per regulations at the time--and so the book ventured into PD territory. A search at the +Stanford University archives ( can bear us out on that. Elsewhere, Gadsby has recently entered the public domain in Australia, the +European Union, and several other territories, as Wright died more than 70 years ago.

As this post comes to an end, here's the NYPL listing for this obscure but deserving gem. Di wåd, vrybody.
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