Twenty-Five Years of Book Collecting: A Look Back and a Look Forward - This is a talk I gave at the Book Lovers' and Texana Collectors' Breakfast, March 6, 2015, Texas State Historical Association Meeting, Corpus Christi. A r...
3 weeks ago
When he became a bookseller in Weymouth, he gave full scope to his desires; through overeating and drinking, he now grew as remarkably heavy as he was before light and thin--his weight and bulk were the astonishment of all beholders: he was obliged (as our print, which is a striking likeness, shews) to have the waistband of his breeches nearly up to his chin, in order to prevent their falling off.And yes that was a single sentence, some 75 words, but a piker compared with William Faulkner (Absalom! Absalom!) and James Joyce (Ulysses) who reportedly wrote record-setting sentences containing 1,700 and 4,000 words, respectively!
A sad episode in the history of crime is exhibited in the forgeries and subsequent execution of Ryland, a celebrated engraver, who exercised his profession in London during the latter part of the last century. Ryland had an apprentice named John Love, who, terrified by his master's shameful death, gave up the business he was learning, and returned to his native place in Dorsetshire. At that time being exceedingly meagre and emaciated, his friends, fearing he was falling into a consumption, applied to a physician, who recommended an abundance of nutritious food, as the best medicine under the circumstances of the case. Love thus acquired a relish for the pleasures of the table, which he was soon enabled to gratify to its fullest extent, by success in business as a bookseller at Weymouth: where he soon grew as remarkably heavy and corpulent as he had previously been light and lean. So, he may have been said to have achieved his own greatness, but he did not live long to enjoy it; suffocated by fat, he died in his fortieth year, at the weight of 364 pounds.Three-hundred sixty-four pounds is obese, to be sure, but today that would hardly qualify Love as the "fatest and heaviest man ever known in England." For his times and probably for his height, he may have been the fatest and heaviest known, but he was also in very good company, judging by some of the images presented along with his in the book, Comments On Corpulency: Lineaments of Leanness: Mems On Diet And Dietetics , by William Wadd; John Ebers & Co., London, 1829. Wadd is credited with the illustrations so apparently he is the illustrator of the John Love print Goodspeed's had at one time. Whether this image was drawn from memory of a personal encounter, or from another image, or completely fabricated out of thin (fat) air, I don't know. For now, it is the only image that seems to exist of Love.