A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books

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Overview

The passion to possess books has never been more widespread than it is today; indeed, obsessive book collecting remains the only hobby to have a disease named after it. A Gentle Madness, finalist for the 1995 National Book Critics Circle award, is an adventure among the afflicted. Richly anecdotal and fully documented, it combines the perspective of historical research with the immediacy of investigative journalism. Above all, it is a celebration of books and the people who have revered, gathered, and preserved ...

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New York, NY 1999 Trade paperback Owl Books edition 1999 New. 672 p. Illustrations.

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A Gentle Madness Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books

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Overview

The passion to possess books has never been more widespread than it is today; indeed, obsessive book collecting remains the only hobby to have a disease named after it. A Gentle Madness, finalist for the 1995 National Book Critics Circle award, is an adventure among the afflicted. Richly anecdotal and fully documented, it combines the perspective of historical research with the immediacy of investigative journalism. Above all, it is a celebration of books and the people who have revered, gathered, and preserved them over the centuries.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In Part 1 of this informative and well-written work, syndicated book columnist Basbanes explores the history of book collecting from antiquity to the 1940s. This ground has been covered before, but Basbanes retells his story well; and, as the extensive notes and bibliography show, he has done his homework. Part 2 portrays the state of collecting in the 1980s, using a series of sketches of notable figures in the field. The material here derives from extensive interviews and therefore provides information available nowhere else. For instance, Basbanes tells the moving story of Aaron Lansky, who has dedicated himself to rescuing books in Yiddish, and offers the fullest published account of Stephen Blumberg's theft of 23,600 books from 268 libraries in 45 states. Anyone interested in books will want a copy of this.-Joseph Rosenblum, Guilford Technical Community Coll., Jamestown, N.C.
Philip Kopper
...[A]n impressive achievement in its compilation of vast information, as well as instructive and interesting.
The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805061765
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 668
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 1.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicholas A. Basbanes, former literary editor for the Worcester Sunday Telegram, is now a nationally syndicated book columnist. He lives in North Grafton, Massachusetts, with his wife and two daughters.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Preface
Prologue 1
1 Touching the Hand 9
2 Balm for the Soul 58
3 Rule Britannia 83
4 America, Americans, Americana 127
5 Brandy for Heroes 173
6 To Have and to Have No More 225
7 Infinite Riches 263
8 Mirror Images 275
9 Instant Ivy 312
10 Obsessed Amateurs 355
11 Destiny 383
12 Continental Drift 410
13 The Blumberg Collection 465
14 Carpe Diem 520
Epilogue 531
Notes 535
Bibliography 575
Index 613
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 1, 2012

    Labor of Love - yet edicational for all bibliophiles

    Nicholas Basbanes has done the book collecting world 2 favors - one is doing the book in the first place, and the second is keeping it in print with updated editions, and available for all types of readers. You will learn about so many bibliophiles - their habits, their collections. Some you will envy, others will make you scratch your head. The experience is well worth it so I encourage readers to take this journey.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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