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Same Book Twice: A Lovely Circular Story

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Woman finds the 40-year-old message she wrote to her father in a book she bought online as a gift for her husband.

Aldous Huxley, writer
Aldous Huxley | Wikipedia

Ros Ford, from East Sussex in southern England, purchased a copy of Texts and Pretexts by Aldous Huxley for her husband Adam's birthday and was astonished to find that it was exactly the same book that she signed and sent to her late father four decades ago.

Mrs Ford said she didn't recognise it at first because it had no dust cover. "So I was just flicking through it and there was my handwriting, dedicating it to my dear old dad," she said.

Her note from 25 May 1984 says: For Dad, Wishing you the leisure to enjoy the 'dipping into', Ros x

The BBC reports that she originally bought the book in 1984 for her father, adding: "As he was going into retirement, I thought it would be a lovely way of reflecting on life. However, it's my husband's 83rd birthday and something I read... prompted me to think about the book, and I thought, 'I'll get it for him for his birthday'".

Mrs Ford described it as "a lovely circular story" and that she had "the privilege of paying for the same book twice."

Huxley's introduction to Texts and Pretexts says: "It is only by poets that the life of any epoch can be synthesised. Encyclopaedias and guides to knowledge cannot do it, for the good reason that they affect only the intellectual surface of a man's life. The lower layers, the core of his being, they leave untouched."

Meanwhile, the book's back cover explains: "In compiling this anthology of verse, Huxley's aim is to re-interpret the great poetry of the past, to offer its wisdom to a modern world of 'vast and swiftly changing chaos'. From Sappho to Whitman, from Baudelaire to Donne, Huxley's eclectic and highly original selections are accompanied by his perceptive commentaries. Touching upon such subjects as Man and Nature, God, Marriage, Loneliness and Serenity, Texts and Pretexts offers the reader not just a guide to the art of living but also a key to the motives and preoccupation's of one of this century's greatest writers and thinkers."


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