[A]ll who are smitten with the love of books think cheaply of the world and wealth; as Jerome says to Vigilantius: The same man cannot love both gold and books... The hideousness of vice is greatly reprobated in books, so that he who loves to commune with books is lead to detest all manner of vice. The demon, who derives his name from knowledge, is most effectually defeated by the knowledge of books, and through books his multitudinous deceits and the endless labyrinths of his guile are laid bare to those who read...
-from "Chapter XV: Of the
Advantages of the Love of Books"
British writer and bishop RICHARD AUNGERVILLE (1287-1345), AKA Richard de Bury, was a royal tutor and a player in court intrigue, and is today perhaps the most famous book lover of the medieval world.
Owner of an immense personal library, the bishop penned this valentine to the wisdom of books and the joy of collecting them, most likely completing it just before his death.
(This, considered the definition English edition, was translated by Oxford scholar
Ernest C. Thomas and first published in 1888.)
Delightfully expansive in its bibliomania, the Philobiblon waxes rhapsodic about:
. The Degree of Affection That Is Properly Due to Books
. The Numerous Opportunities We Have Had of Collecting a Store of Books
. Why We Have Preferred Books of Liberal Learning to Books of Law
. Why We Have Not Wholly Neglected the Fables of the Poets
. Who Ought to Be Special Lovers of Books
. The Advantages of the Love of Books
. Showing Due Propriety in the Custody of Books
. The Manner of Lending All Our Books to Students
. and much more.
OF INTEREST TO: readers of medieval literature, book lovers