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The Anatomy of Bibliomania by Holbrook…

The Anatomy of Bibliomania (1930)

by Holbrook Jackson

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486133,889 (3.95)21
"An unmitigated delight for any bibliophile, Holbrook Jackson's Anatomy of Bibliomania is the cornerstone of his indispensable trio of books on ""the usefulness, purpose, and pleasures that proceed from books.""The Anatomy of Bibliomania begins at the beginning, when books first started to appear, and gives book lovers the solace and company of book lovers from ancient Rome, the Renaissance, and the Romantics. Jackson inspects the allure of books, their curative and restorative properties, and the passion for them that leads to bibliomania (""a genial mania, less harmful than the sanity of the sane""). With deliciously understated wit, he comments on why we read, where we read - on journeys, at mealtimes, on the toilet (this has ""a long but mostly unrecorded history""), in bed, and in prison - and what happens to us when we read. He touches on bindings, bookworms, libraries, and the sport of book hunting, as well as the behavior of borrowers, embezzlers, thieves, and collectors. Francis Bacon, Anatole France, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Leigh Hunt, Marcel Proust, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Shakespeare, and scores of other luminaries chime in on books and their love for them.Unlike most manias, bibliomania is an ennobling affliction, worth cultivating, improving, and enjoying to its heights and depths.Entertaining as well as instructive, The Anatomy of Bibliomania is a book no book lover - and certainly no bibliomaniac - can afford to be without."… (more)

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An unusual but interesting book. To be honest, if I had known what I was getting into I might never have started this book. Although it was a very slow read, requiring several months of start and stop reading, I'm glad that I did continue and finish. Many interesting and unusual facts about books and the people who collect them, read them, and love them are presented by Jackson. In the end, he sums up his thesis as 'Read what you like, because you like it, seeking no other reason and no other profit than the experience of reading.'
1 vote hailelib | Jan 3, 2010 |
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It has been said that when man needs company, a book is his best friend; when in doubt, a book is his adviser; when in damp spirits, a book is his comforter; and when bored, a book is his best recreation. Books are the lifeblood of humankind. With this in mind some 85 years ago, Holbrook Jackson, a highly respected man of letters, published in a limited edition a book called The Anatomy of Bibliomania. The current edition, now titled The Book About Books, was welcomed by book collectors and book lovers everywhere because the original was long out of print. The Book About Books is written in the style of the seventeenth-century prose master, Robert Burton, whose prototype The Anatomy of Melancholy served as the spark for this project. This monumental work shows an erudition in its field comparable to Burton, as well as the same racy and witty style of the earlier work. However, Jackson, in his love for and knowledge of books, emerges a distinct personality as he writes of every conceivable topic in the world of bibliomania, from the most learned to the most frivolous. This is the most ambitious and important work of Holbrook Jackson's many books - a sterling reference and literature book.
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