Thursday, March 10, 2005

Another letter to his parents. This one dated 14 Janvier 1952:

"What do you think of this as a title, possibly: The Clunch Fist of Method: Ramus and the Modern Mind? (Clunch means clenched -- old form, from a quotation. I'll have to explain the title, but that's what a book is for, to explain." [An early typescript draft of Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue uses a similar title.]

In a letter dated Sept. 18, 1953, Ong mentions that he's been buying hundreds of books for SLU [this is also mentioned in earlier letters, and Ong did indeed purchase hundreds of early (pre-1800) printed books for the Saint Louis University Libraries, some of the 7,000 pre-1800 printed books I walk past to get to my desk]. He notes that prices have jumped, which makes it harder for him to buy good books when he finds them as he has limited funds (being a Jesuit), and suggests that if his parents were to send some money, he could buy some books on their behalf and gift plates could be placed in them. In a letter dated Oct. 12, 1953, Ong thanks his parents for the $100 to buy books with.(Before the jump in price, Ong had been buying books for anything from $.25 - $2.00.) There are a number of rare books in the St. Louis Room's pre-1800 printed book collection with gift plates indicated them as gifts from Mr. and Mrs. Walter J. Ong, Sr.

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