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LibraryThing Author:
John Sellars

is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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drjsellars is also the author John Sellars.


Member: drjsellars

Books1,400 books cataloged

About meI am an academic philosopher by profession.

About my libraryMy library is a mixture of an academic working library and a collector's library. The heart of my collection is focused on the history of philosophy, weighted towards ancient philosophy as this is my main area of work. This means I also have interests in classics.

Beyond my philosophical work I'm especially interested in the transmission of texts, including medieval manuscripts, early printing, the history of libraries, and various other book-related topics. I am a member of The Bibliographical Society ( and a reader of The Book Collector ( I recently published a piece in The Book Collector about my collecting, under the title 'Collecting Stoicism' (

Bringing these two interests together, the highpoint of my collection focuses on early printed editions of ancient philosophical texts, the older the better. The oldest is currently 1541. I also collect single leaves from incunabula, the oldest of which is from 1476. You can find images of my older books and leaves at

My collecting began gently when I was an undergraduate student in the early 1990s and I first realized that I could buy durable old hardbacks for less than the price of new ephemeral paperbacks (I started with the old Everyman's Library). In 1996 I made a first attempt to catalogue my books and found that I had around 500. That increased by an average of 100 a year (i.e. 2 a week) until I had around 1000 in 2001, when I finished my graduate studies. A decade later in 2011 the total was just over 3000, not including my wife's books or other non-academic books in the house. (In other words I bought 4 books per week, week in week out, for 10 years!) It remained at that level for a few years, as although I continued to add I also had occasional clear outs and got rid of things I thought I no longer wanted, usually due to concerns about lack of space. I have almost always regretted this! I have resolved not to do this any more. The total now in 2016 is just over 4000. I've kept up the catalogue started in 1996 and it is now a 200 page book which I get printed from time to time.

Favorite authorsMarcus Aurelius, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Denis Diderot, Epictetus, Pierre Hadot, Justus Lipsius, Lucretius, Michel de Montaigne, Friedrich Nietzsche, Francesco Petrarca, Fran├žois Rabelais, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Seneca, Benedictus de Spinoza, Voltaire (Shared favorites)

VenuesFavorites | Visited

Favorite bookstoresBlackwell's Oxford, George Bayntun, Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, Maggs Bros. Ltd., Oxford University Press Bookshop, St Philip's Books, The Classics Bookshop

Favorite librariesBodleian Library, Dr Williams's Library, Institute of Classical Studies Library / Joint Library of the Hellenic and Roman Societies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, Senate House Library, University of London, Warburg Institute Library, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, Wolfson College Library, Oxford University


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Member sinceDec 29, 2011

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