Pretty illustration in a pretty book. Too bad it’s Fielding
We have many books that found their way into the archives from the library and they are going to stay by a virtue of being authored by one of our students or staff. Others are here because they mention Marjon is some way. But there are other books that wander by, the ones that won’t stay. They are usually withdrawals from the library, so called ‘weeds’. They might be outdated, they might be damaged or they simply haven’t been checked out for a long time. Those don’t have place in the archives. But do they have a place somewhere else?
I was digging through such a pile recently and found a beautifully bound book. The pattern on the binding had caught my eye so I opened it. To my dismay the pretty book was The History of Tom Jones by Fielding. I hate Fielding. Yes, he was very influential. Yes, he was one of the fathers of modern novel. Yes, he was a smart guy that revolutionized the police force (Bow Street Runners anyone?). But I absolutely can’t stand the way he writes. That makes this pretty book an equivalent of a paperweight to me. I can’t read it.
But then, it’s still a beautiful artefact. It’s well preserved and it looks like there was a mistake in print of the introduction. The printed annotation mentions it, but it’s seems like somebody made corrections by hand (what would be the total copies printed if they did that?). So what would you do with a beautiful paperweight like that? Chuck away? The bibliophile in me howls for blood at this thought. Keep it and never read? The pragmatic in me scoffs at that? Donate? If I only knew somebody that enjoys Fielding… What would you do?
Now that I’ve officially graduated everything became awfully nostalgic. I never thought I will ever feel anything but frustration at Marjon’s mismatched tables and chairs, the horrible desk-chair combos, the lecture theatre with no leg room. Now I would bear all of those with a smile if only I would be allowed back.T_T
And speaking of furniture, I had a good look at what once was considered state-of-the-art school equipment. Behold the St John’s College.
Ah, the gymnasium. Just look at that balancing bar, the austerity of that pommel horse. Maybe I’m sensitive, but they make me cringe. The back of it looks like the room doubled as a theatre. I haven’t seen such multipurpose room since…well…ever.
It kind of looks like safety risk to me, but the past was tougher and made do with less than we are.
Here is the lecture theatre. To tell the truth I am amazed how little changed. Sure, now we have computer projectors in place of blackboard, but the essence of the construct
remains the same. Long uncomfortable and hard seats?- check, weirdly shaped table
with no room for all the things?- check, complete with students that suffer that abominations?-Check and check.
Ladies and gentlemen: the library. Ok I must say that it baffles me why a table has normal chairs at one side and a bench on the other, but as a working space this isn’t half bad. The room looks well lit, there is plenty of space and there are no distractions anywhere in sight. With a bit of modernization it would fit our own standards pretty well.
Well, I covered the furnishing nightmares of St. John’s. Next time I promise to show something nicer, as the Battersea House is in fact very beautiful place.