Raphael Rubinstein
The Books They Left: Unpacking My Parents’ Library

From Tether 2, page 123

“Among the books on my shelves are a few dozen that belonged to my parents, Consuelo Ulloa Howatt and Joseph David Rubinstein. I inherited many more volumes from them, but ultimately kept only those that had some personal significance: periodicals they contributed to, books by people they knew, books with inscriptions and marginalia, publications connected to significant events in their lives. About 10 years ago I began to compose a catalog of these books, taking as my model the catalogs my father issued during his years as a rare book dealer. Originally I conceived this as a kind of conceptual art project: I would assign prices to the books and offer them for sale. It didn’t take me long to drop this concept: firstly, I realized that I had no wish to sell these books, no matter what the price; secondly, the style and terminology of rare-book catalogues felt too limiting. What seemed more important was to retrace as much of my parents’ lives as I could through the books that survived them. In the following selections (the first part of this work to be published) I’ve tried to avoid speculation (not always successfully) and to accept the woefully incomplete nature of this bio-bibliography.”

Tether 2, 2016
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