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November 13, 2013 | by

Huge Books

On the wonderful blog Retronaut, this intriguing image is twinned with a caption vague to the point of inscrutability. To wit,

c. 1940s:
Man with books

The whole thing is rendered even more mysterious by the fact that the individual in question is obviously a woman. Or at the very least a man in tweedy drag. But more to the point, WHAT ARE ALL THESE ENORMOUS BOOKS? In the grand tradition of the Tootsie pop, the world may never know.




  1. Ro Rainwater | November 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Mrs. Borrower afield?

  2. Aaron | November 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    They’re pretty obviously antiphonaries, for use in church services by the choir and cantor. You can even see the musical notations in the one she’s holding open.

  3. Moses | November 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Aaron, It’s so obvious I didn’t even bother noting it! Jeesh.

  4. Anna | November 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    This picture come from archives of Prague castle, photo by M.Peterka.
    Source :

  5. Sadie Stein | November 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you, Anna and Aaron!

  6. Shelley | November 14, 2013 at 11:21 am


    Imagine Kafka looking at that picture….

  7. Jessy Randall | November 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I contacted the Prague castle archives asking about this image, and I’ve just received a reply from the head archivist, Martin Halata, who tells me the photograph is not from their institution.

  8. SimplyParis | November 15, 2013 at 10:30 am

    That is a really huge book, I wonder what language is it using, would it still be English or just hard to read symbols.

  9. chris | November 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Maybe They’re bound newspapers?

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