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The Crimson Bookshelf

TELEPHONE DIRECTORY OF BOSTON AND VICINITY. Edited by the N. E. T. & T. Co. Lowell, Massachusetts. 1269 pages. Free to telephone. sbscribrs. Pub. Nov., 1937.

By J. T. Mcc. jr.

This volume, though bulky, is particularly significant of the modern age. It is a conglomerate and representative collection of works generally in blank verse, blank rhyme, and blank sense, submitted by thousands of residents of Boston and vicinity. At first it appears like a dull, almost unreadable series of names and numbers. The cosmic significance and literary value does not become evident until the reader has become experienced, and usually results in symptoms not unlike an aching in the head and eyes. It shows a tendency towards the method of expression of Gertrude Stein.

Every entry in the book represents the pure, unembellished work of the author. They were, so to speak, duped into being natural, for no one was told that the entries were really for such an epic work. They were ingeniously persuaded that they were merely filling out blanks for a telephone directory.

No End Ingenious

Even more praiseworthy is the fact that the telephone company has preserved the secret in order that future large-scale collections of representative natural expression may be made in the same way. There is no indication anywhere in the volume that it is anything but a plain, ordinary, dull telephone directory!

The selections are naturally short and shallow, which both proves that they are representative and also enables many of them to be reproduced in toto. They are arranged in order of complexity, and, incidentally, alphabetically. The first entry in the book is an example of pure straightforwardness with no imagination or enlargement:

"A A A 23 Columbus Av"

Imprvmnt with Conv Mchy

An increase in variation and expressive diction is obvious even to the beginner by the time he reaches.

"Link-Belt Co cony mchy 131 Ciraducranes shovels 30 Prentiss"

Toleration and broadmindedness reaches the surface rather late, and is typified in the following:

"Schultz T Hormann

134 Rdlnds Rd

upholstr cbnt mkr

If no ansr call"

A vivid imagination is evident as early as the N's:

"Nielsen: see also Neilsen, Neilsen, Nielson, Nilsen, Nilsen, Nilsen"

A bit of cooperation for variation is suspected in the following:

"Rubin Saul pblc acctnt

Rubin & Silverstein uphistrs cbnt mkrs

Rubin Solomon junk

Suns Hols Call"

Hshld Pests & Fences

The last half of the book is the socalled "yellow ribbon section." The quotations here are of a calibre far above the average. They often include a vast amount of information in a short space. A college thesis could be written from some of the entries here. One is:

"Wtr bugs, buffalo bugs, bed bugs,

bats, ants, fleas, lice, mice, mites,

termites bats, roaches, moths, silver-

fish, carpet beetles, & all hshld pests

in homes, apts, hotels, restrnts, & yechts


Rsnble prices."

Another, showing a rhythmical temperament, is:

"Wickwire-Spencer chn Ink & wire fencer

rust-resistg fences

for lawns, estates, athltc flds, tennis ets, schools, plgrnds, prks, cmtrs, hsptls, instttns, & evrthg Is"

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