26 September 2011

Dive in

The words painted on the front window of the Amsterdam used bookstore-
"In 't oude boek kunt Ghij lesen hoe de nieuwe mens zal wezen.
Dus wandelaar loop hier niet voorbij en koop dit out boek van mij."

My friend, Paul* translated this for me:

In the olde book thou can read
How the new man will come to be
So walker do not pass by
And buy this old book from me.

He further clarified, "The first two lines are deliberately made to appear like old text. Ghij is medieval Dutch for you and mensch is the old spelling for mens. The same goes for the s in lesen and wesen which are now spelled using a z.

The store wants you to buy their second hand books because you can read how to become a new person from old books."

It seems so "Dutch" to find these proverbs and maxims, like those I am familiar with in  Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack. I read while growing up in rural America. I liked the safe, non-in-your-face way to observe suggestions for being a better human being, or at least ideas for how to better treat others in society, and therefore be a more acceptable member of society. Many ideas were loaded with humor (my opinion).

*Paul's incredible photos can be accessed via Flickr- bones_nl.

These books were selected for the sidewalk rack in front of this southside used bookstore. Check out the titles:  Munch, zelf koranlezen, 3 Verhalen, De islam in een notendop: wat iedereen over de islam moet weten, De zoete leugen of de mythe van de schoonheid, de kussenjongen van hofdame Onogoro, Wisseling van de wacht, Rembrandt, Klimt. 

Art, beauty, society and culture- check.

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