Savoy operas title pagePrincess IdaI love illustrated books, and this edition of W.S. Gilbert librettos for The Pirates of Penzance and others (again via the Open Library) reminds me of solitary childhood pleasures: puzzling over my parents' Gilbert & Sullivan with its cartoon-like pictures and confusing plot summaries; perusing my grandmother's elaborate book of paintings of Sir Walter Scott's heroines, each illustration with its protective sheet of translucent paper; staring at the now-vanished 1920's style murals at the big public library, wondering what all those allegorical figures might be up to; and–most reliable of pastimes–wandering through the six illustrated volumes of My Bookhouse. The best parts were always the parts I could only halfway understand. Some things are lost forever.

 

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