As I pursue the quixotic project of blogging Illuminatus! 10 pages at a time with y'alls help, I wanted to refer to the same edition that everyone else uses. (My personal library has the original three 1970s mass market paperbacks). So I checked out a copy via the Sandusky Library from Cleveland Public Library, using CLEVNET, a local library consortium.
I've reached my maximum number of renewals, so I have to give it back. No problem, I thought. I would just check out a copy from the local branch library where I live, Berea, Ohio. It's part of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, a metropolitan library system in Cleveland that has 27 branches. Sari Feldman, the library's executive director, has just been elected the president of the American Library Association.
Except that when I ran a search online in the library catalog, I made an unpleasant discovery. The library system did not have a copy of Illuminatus! In fact, it did not have anything by Robert Anton Wilson or Robert Shea.
The effort to secure a place for RAW in the literary canon obviously has a long way to go. It's part of the reason why I blog.
There are a lot of very cheap copies ($.16 - $.17)
Yeah, I just bought one. But I'm upset to see it disappear from a major library.
I think our local library is fantastic... except no RAW. I'm hip with your feelings.
My Sonoma County (CA) Library has Illuminatus! in library hardbound. It's the Historical Illuminatus
series that's really hard to find anywhere. Part of RAW's visibility problem is largely that he had so many small and poorly distributed publishers which were ignored by influential reviewers..
A campaign targeting the
Library of America aiming to get Illuminatus! published in their series wouldn't be a bad idea. If H P Lovecraft can make it why not Shea and Wilson?
And BTW, here's how to find which libraries carry any book you're looking for:
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