Readers addicted to make-believe know that in many works of literary fiction there are fictional literary works; offhand or sometimes strategic references to book titles that do not exist. I suppose that it’s become a parlour game to ferret them out and make lists; perhaps even to invent your own. Certainly, there is a Wikipedia page devoted to the topic — which ought to be growing daily. [For some reason, Latin authors are inclined toward imagining the imaginary: viz., Jorge Luis Borges, Roberto Bolaño, and Antonio Machado, and probably a few others. Sad that I can’t read Spanish; and my talent for composing sonnets in Portuguese fades with the passing years.]
Since the Agincourt Public Library is itself a work of architectural fiction, it seems only just that its shelves be stocked with several of these titles, as many as I can find and few that I’ve invented myself. Feel free to contribute:
SELECTIONS FROM THE CARD CATALOGUE OF THE AGINCOURT PUBLIC LIBRARY:
- ACROTERION, Daphne (PhD), Re-Analysis of the Late Carolingian Iconography in the North Transept of l’Eglise du St Framboise-sur-la-Têtê, at Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry, Midi-Pyrénées, France (1957). This obscure work of art history was a refinement of Acroterion’s doctoral dissertation at the Université de Bordeaux. Most copies were withdrawn and destroyed, however, when her admission references to the graduate school were found to have been forged and her admission essay plagiarized from the letters and travel diaries of Mary Todd Lincoln.
- CALDEIRA, F[rancis] X[avier], Necropolitan Ephemera (1953). A collection of poetry by the translator of V. M. Straka’s novels.
- CRABTREE, Avery, Tennants in America, a prosopographic appreciation (2000). A very limited edition history of the Tennant family from their ignominious origin on Sark in the Channel Islands to the millennium. Crabtree is a pseudonym. To date, there is no evidence that the book has ever circulated, let alone been touched. Indeed, it was never intended for circulation beyond the family.
- MILLSTONE JENNINGS, Paula Nancy, Musings (1976). The sole published anthology of Millstone Jennings’ poetry.
- RAMSAY, R.H.L.M., It’s Not About Me: an autobiography (2002). The author challenged himself to write an autobiography without using first person singular pronouns (I, me, my, or mine).
- SCRIBNER, Bartleby d’Ascoyne, Gulliver Jimson: A Catalogue Raisonné (1954). The crepuscular Jimson made the “angry young men” of Britain’s “Kitchen Sink” movement seem downright wholesome and optimistic.
- SEALING, Batson D. (PhD), Our Savior Said: an anthology of Jesus’s utterances (1991). A translation from spurious Coptic texts — that is, the texts are spurious, not the Coptics.
- SOMERSAULT-MALM, Clive, “Six Pronouns in Search of an Antecedent — a comedy in three obscene acts” (1967) [typescript]. The League of Decency shut down the first off-off-Broadway production of this play while it was still in rehearsal in New Jersey. Though the characters are pronouns, their action involves a considerable number of impolite gerunds and lewd dangling participles. Adds new meaning to “figures of speech”.
- STRAKA, V.M., The Ship of Theseus, NY, Winged Shoes Press (1949). Last of the novels by Straka, it is part of a collection of all nineteen books, perhaps the library’s most valuable non-circulating volumes — under lock and key. The tip of a treasure.
- TROUT, Kilgore, Maniacs in the Fourth Dimension, . “It was about people whose mental diseases couldn’t be treated because the causes of the diseases were all in the fourth dimension, and three-dimensional Earthling doctors couldn’t see those causes at all, or even imagine them.”