The Internet Is Not a Library

As a librarian in an academic institution (PRC Seminary), I appreciated these brief but pointed thoughts of pastor Kevin DeYoung yesterday about the fact that the Internet is not to be viewed or treated as a library.

He takes his starting point in a new book by Tom Nichols, which is one I would like to pursue.

Below are a few paragraphs from his post. I encourage you to read the rest, especially the next paragraphs, because there he states rather bluntly how the Internet is to be viewed and used.

I’ll have more to say about Tom Nichols’s excellent new book The Death of Expertise in the days ahead, but for now I want to underline one important observation he makes.

Namely: “The Internet . . . is nothing like a library” (110).

In the recent conversation about who’s in charge of the Christian blogosphere, I saw in at least one place that the blogosphere was likened to a great big library—a place where diverse viewpoints are housed, a place where people come to seek truth, a place where ideas are not censored and readers need discernment. Without wanting to deny these general points as they relate to Christians in the blogosphere, I believe it is a necessary part of discernment that we realize the internet (of which the Christian blogosphere is a part) is nothing like a library.

Yes, a library has many different volumes. And yes, we can go there to search for answers and acquire knowledge. But a library is a highly curated collection of knowledge. We have a Michigan State University librarian in our church. She has a master’s degree in library science. She oversees a section of materials related to European history. She is constantly reading through journals and periodicals to find the most important new books to purchase. She also gets rid of old stuff that has proven to be relatively worthless. She is also a wealth of information when people have questions about where to find the best, most important stuff. She doesn’t have an ideological grid when it comes to what goes in the library, but she does have an expertise grid. Almost all the books that get into a library like MSU’s are by people with credentials, with academic positions, or with institutional legitimacy.

Source: The Internet Is Not a Library | TGC

His comments reminded me of the coffee cup I keep on my library desk. I believe I showed you this once before, but this post gives me opportunity to do so again. 🙂

Boston Public Library’s ‘Car Wash’ for Books

For our “Friday Fun” item on this first Friday of May, we present this nifty carwash device for books, compliments of the Boston Public Library. The geography trivia website Atlas Obscura posted this last week (April 26, 2017), and it immediately caught my attention. What a clever invention!

Below is the introduction to this “bookwash” instrument. Be sure to catch the little video by clicking on the link below or on the image above. Quite amazing. But my manual device works fairly well top (two hands, vinegar and water mix, and paper towels). Enjoy!

Library books change hands all the time, and in the process, they end up getting pretty dirty, hence: the Boston Public Library’s book-sized “car wash,” which gets rid of dust and grime.

In a video the library recently posted to Twitter, the automated system, called a Depulvera, pulls books through a familiar looking series of stations to get their books clean. In the video, a book can be seen being pulled down the line by a conveyor system that drags it through a couple of steps, reorienting the book past a series of spinning brush bars, and finally out the other end, through a curtain of hanging plastic strips, just like in a full size car wash.

And it’s very satisfying to watch in action.

Source: The Boston Public Library Has a ‘Car Wash’ for Books – Atlas Obscura

Published in: on May 5, 2017 at 8:46 AM  Leave a Comment  

Photocopy of Rare Sir Isaac Newton Letter in T. Letis Collection

Today Kevin Rau and I stumbled on a rare find while browsing in the Dr. Ted Letis collection at the PRC Seminary.

We were on a mission to find some possible correspondence between Gordon Clark and Letis for a contact who will be publishing the letters of Clark in his next book (cf. Doug Douma’s The Presbyterian Philosopher: The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark; Eugene, OR, Wipf & Stock, 2016).

GodfreyKneller-IsaacNewton-1689While we did not find any new correspondence between Letis and Clark in the boxes of containing much of the personal research of Letis, we did find an amazing photocopy of a letter of Sir Isaac Newton (1642 – 1726)- yes, that Newton, the famed mathematician and scientist.

Newton was also a professing Christian, and in 1690 he wrote a letter to a friend expressing his views on biblical-textual matters, which is why the late Dr. Letis was interested in what he had to say. In that letter, Newton wrote to John Locke about two disputed texts in the Bible – I John 5:7 (on the Trinity – “For there are three that bear record in heaven”) and I Timothy 3:16 (about Christ being “God …manifest in the flesh.”).

The letter was published posthumously first in 1754 (in English) and came to be called (from the title Newton himself gave at the top of the letter – cf. below) An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Sacred Scripture, in a Letter to a Friend, from which title you can judge what Newton’s views were. Although Newton was accused of holding anti-trinitarian views because of this, and even claimed by the Arians, the charge does not hold according to this section found on the Internet:

Even though a number of authors have claimed that the work might have been an indication that Newton disputed the belief in Trinity, others assure that Newton did question the passage but never denied Trinity as such. His biographer, scientist Sir David Brewster, who compiled his manuscripts for over 20 years, wrote about the controversy in well-known book Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton, where he explains that Newton questioned the veracity of those passages, but he never denied the doctrine of Trinity as such. Brewster states that Newton was never known as an Arian during his lifetime, it was first William Whiston (an Arian) who argued that “Sir Isaac Newton was so hearty for the Baptists, as well as for the Eusebians or Arians, that he sometimes suspected these two were the two witnesses in the Revelations,” while other like Hopton Haynes (a Mint employee and Humanitarian), “mentioned to Richard Baron, that Newton held the same doctrine as himself”.[67]

The letter went through several published editions, the title page of one of which Letis also had in the sleave with the copy of Newton’s letter. Both of these items I scanned and show you here.

INewton-letters-1754

The photocopied first page of these letters is what Letis had, and he got it from the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford (England), which holds the original letters and their copyright (evident from the stamp on back of photocopy). Below is that copy.INewton-letter-1690-2

For more on the fascinating history and contents of this letter of Newton, visit this page.

presence-of-creator-inewton

As an added note (now that I have checked the Letis collection again), the library of Letis contained at least five (5) biographies on Isaac Newton, including this one. So, Letis’ interest in Newton was not a passing one.

New and Noteworthy in the PRC Seminary Library – 1st Quarter 2017

Having passed the first quarter of 2017, plus this week being National Library Week, it is time to inform you of some of the latest additions to the PRC Seminary library.

For the benefit of the Theological School Committee that oversees all aspects of the PRC Seminary, including the library, as well as for the benefit of the faculty and student body I have compiled the following list of significant titles obtained in the first quarter of this year (2017).

I divide the list into categories so that it is easier to keep track of the kinds of books we look for. I hope this helps you see the quality of titles we strive to add each year. Keep in mind, that as long as this list appears, it is only a sampling of what is actually added.

And I would remind our PRC members as well as friends that even though the library exists first of all for our faculty and students and area ministers, its resources are for YOU too. It is very much a denominational resource (you support it financially and spiritually!), and I hope you will feel free to make use of the excellent reading and research materials we have.

Now, on to the list! All of these are cataloged and currently available.

Biblical studies

  • IVP Reformation Commentaries (OT & NT)
  • IVP Ancient Christian Commentaries (OT & NT)
  • Preach the Word Series (Crossway)
  • Reformed Expository Commentary Series (P&R)
  • Specific Commentaries
    • Revelation / Joel R. Beeke, 1952-. ; Jon D. Payne . — 1st-hc. — Grand Rapids, MI : Reformation Heritage, 2016. (The Lectio Continua Expository Commentary On The New Testament)
    • Genesis: Everything Created by God : Outlines on the book of Genesis /  Isaac De Wolff, 1901-1976.. ; J. de Vos, J. Plug, M. VanderWel, Transls.. — 1st Engl.-reprint-pb. — London, Ontario : Inter-League Publication Board, c2001.
    • Content Yet Contending : Jude / Daniel R. Hyde. — 1st-pb. — Welwyn Garden City, UK : EP BOOKS, 2017.
    • John Calvin’s Sermons on 1 Timothy : Volume 1 [Sermons 1-27, 1 Timothy 1-3] / Jean Calvin, 1509-1564. ; Ray. Van Neste. ; Brian Denker. — 1st- revsd.-updated-pb. — Middletown, DE : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016 [both volumes].
    • Unceasing Kindness : A Biblical Theology Of Ruth / Peter H. W. Lau. ; Gregory Goswell. ; Donald A. Carson. — 1st-pb. — Downers Grove, Illinois : A Pollos, InterVarsity Press, 2016.

Church History

  • Ulrich Zwingli : Shepherd Warrior / William Boekestein. — 1st-pb. — Fearne, Ross-shire, GB : CF4Kids, 2016.
  • Being Protestant In Reformation Britain / Alec. Ryrie. — 1st-pb. — Oxford, United Kingdom : Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Beyond The Ninety-Five Theses : Martin Luther’s Life, Thought, And Lasting Legacy / Stephen J. Nichols. — 1st-pb. — Phillipsburg, NJ : P&R Pub., 2016.
  • The Life And Times Of Martin Luther : Selections From D’Aubigne’s Famed History Of The Reformation Of The Sixteenth Century / J. H. (Jean Henri) Merle d’Aubigne, 1794-1872. ; H. White. — 1st-hc. —  Chicago : Moody Press, 1950.
  • Protestantism After 500 Years / Thomas Albert Howard, editor. ; Mark A. Noll, 1946- , editor. ; Jr. Witte, John. — 1st-pb. — New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2016.

Creeds/Confessions

  • Believe and Confess : Volume One / Cornelis G. Bos, 1909-1988. — 1st-pb. — London, Ontario : Inter-League Publication Board, 2001. (2 volumes)
  • The Christian’s Only Comfort In Life And Death : An Exposition Of The Heidelberg Catechism, Volume 1: Lord’s Days 1-26 / Theodore VanderGroe, 1705-1784.. ; Bartel Elshout. ; Joel R. Beeke . — 1st Engl.-hc. — Grand Rapids, MI : Reformation Heritage Books, 2016. (2 volumes)

Dogmatics/Theology/Historical Theology

  • The Cambridge Companion To Reformed Theology / Paul T. Nimmo, (Paul Thomson). ; David A. S.. Fergusson. ; J. Todd Billings. — 1st-pb. — New York : Cambridge University Press, 2016.
  • Biblical Covenantalism: Engagement with Judaism, Law, Atonement, the New Perspective, and Kingdom Hope : Volume One: Biblical Covenantalism in Torah: Judaism, Covenant Nomism, and Atonement / Douglas W. Kennard. ; Paul D. Wegner. — 1st-pb. — Eugene OR : Wipf & Stock, 2015 (3 volume work).
  • Covenant Theology : A Reformed Baptist Perspective / Phillip D. R. Griffiths. — 1st-pb. — Eugene OR : Wipf and Stock, 2016
  • “I Will Be Your God” : An Easy Introduction to the Covenant of Grace / Wes Bredenhof. — 1st-pb. — London, Ontario : Inter-League Publication Board, 2015.
  • Reformation Riches For The Contemporary Church : Liberation For Both Skeptics And Burned-Out Evangelicals / David Bruins. — 1st-pb. — Eugene OR : Wipf and Stock, 2016.
  • Devoted To God : Blueprints For Sanctification / Sinclair B. Ferguson. — 1st-pb. — Edinburgh ; Carlisle, PA : Banner of Truth, 2016.
  • Searching For Adam : Genesis & The Truth About Man’s Origin / Terry Mortenson. ; William D. Barrick. ; Thomas J Nettles. ; Terry. Mortenson . — 1st-pb. — Green Forest, AR : Master Books, 2016.
  • The Works Of William Perkins : Volume 2 – Commentary on Galatians / William Perkins, 1558-1602. ; Paul M. Smalley. ; Joel R. Beeke, 1952- editor. ; Joel R. and Derek W.H. Thomas Beeke. — Reprint – hc. — Grand Rapid, Mich. : Reformation Heritage Books, 2015.
  • The Works Of William Perkins : Volume 3 – Commentary on Hebrews 11 / William Perkins, 1558-1602. ; Randall J. Pederson, 1975-. ; Joel R. Beeke, 1952- editor. ; Joel R. and Derek W.H. Thomas Beeke. — Reprint – hc. — Grand Rapid, Mich. : Reformation Heritage Books, 2017.
  • God The Son Incarnate : The Doctrine Of Christ / Stephen J. Wellum, 1964- , author. ; John S. Feinberg, 1946-. — 1st-hc. — Wheaton, Illinois : Crossway, 2016.
  • After Merit : John Calvin’s Theology of Works and Rewards / Charles Raith, II , author. ; Herman J. Selderhuis, 1961-. — 1st-hc. — Gottingen : Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GmbH & Co., 2016.
  • Death and the Afterlife / Robert A. Morey, 1946-. ; Walter Martin. ; Roger Nicole. — 1st-pb. — Minneapolis, Minn. : Bethany House, c1984.
  • The Atonement of Christ. / Oliver B. Greene. — 1st-hc. — Greenville, S.C. : Gospel Hour, c1968.
  • Lectures in Systematic Theology : Volume I – Doctrine of God / Greg Nichols. ; Rob Ventura. — 1st-pb. — San Bernardino, CA : CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2016.
  • Who Made God? : Searching for a Theory of Everything / Edgar H. Andrews. — 3rd-pb. —  Darlington, England ; Carlisle, Pa : EP Books, c2009.
  • Luther and the Beloved Community : A Path for Christian Theology after Christendom / Paul R. Hinlicky. ; Mickey L. Mattox. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, Mich. : W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2010.
  • Doing Theology for the People of God : Studies in Honor of J.I. Packer / Donald M. Lewis. ; Alister E. McGrath, 1953-. ; J. I. Packer, (James Innell). — 1st-pb. — Downers Grove, Ill. : InterVarsity Press, c1996.

Practical Theology

  • Schooling The Preachers: The Development Of Protestant Theological Education In The United States, 1740-1875 / James W. Fraser, 1944-. — 1st-hc. — Lanham : University Press of America, 1988.
  • The Doctrines of Ministerial Order in The Reformed Churches of the 16th And 17th Centuries / James L. (James Lyon) Ainslie. — 1st-hc. — Edinburgh : T. & T. Clark, 1940 (Letis collection).
  • Endangered Gospel: How Fixing The World Is Killing The Church / John C. Nugent, 1973-. — 2016. — Eugene OR : Cascade Books, 2016.
  • Christ’s Under-Shepherds : An Exploration Of Pastoral Care Methods By Elders In The Christian Reformed Churches Of Australia Relevant to the Circumstances of Twenty-first-century Australia / Leo Douma. ; Graeme Chatfield . — 1st-pb. — Eugene OR : Wipf and Stock, 2016 (Australian College Of Theology Monograph: Bible and Languages)
  • A History of Pastoral Care in America : From Salvation to Self-realization / Brooks. Holifield. — 1st-pb. — Nashville : Abingdon Press, 1983.
  • The Elder : Today’s Ministry Rooted in All of Scripture / Cornelis Van Dam, 1946-. ; Robert A. Peterson . — 1st-pb. — Phillipsburg, N.J. : P&R Pub., 2009.
  • The Deacon : Biblical Foundations for Today’s Ministry of Mercy / Cornelis Van Dam, 1946- , author.. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI. : Reformation Heritage, 2016.
  • Pastoral Ministry From A Covenantal Perspective : With Specific Application to the RCUS / Maynard Alan Koerner. — 1st-pb. — Lexington, KY : CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2014.
  • Preaching With Balance : Achieving And Maintaining Biblical Priorities In Preaching / Donald L. Hamilton. — 1st-pb. — Fearn, Ross-shire, GB : Mentor, 2007.
  • For The Glory Of God : Recovering A Biblical Theology Of Worship / Daniel Isaac Block, 1943-. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, Michigan : Baker Academic, 2014.
  • The Shepherd as Theologian / John MacArthur, 1939-. ; William D. Barrick. ; R. C. (Robert Charles) Sproul, 1939-. ; John MacArthur, 1939-. — 1st-hc. —  Eugene, Oregon : Harvest House Publishers, 2017.
  • The Quick-Reference Guide to Biblical Counseling : Personal and Emotional Issues / Timothy E. Clinton, 1960-. ; Ronald E. Hawkins. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, 2009.
  • The Family : A Christian Perspective on the Contemporary Home / Jack O. Balswick. ; Judith K. Balswick. — 2nd-pb. — Grand Rapids : Baker, c1999.

Periodicals (Old & New)

  • Comment (new)
  • Founders Journal (Calvinistic Baptist)
  • Reformed Journal (added some more missing years from a donation)

Literary Treasures from the Library of Congress Archives | Literary Hub

This week is National Library Week 2017 and special events are being held throughout the week throughout the country. One special place is the Library of Congress, where you will find all kinds of treasures (including special items relating to WW I).

Literary Hub pulled together some rarely seen treasures from the LOC and featured them in a post yesterday (April 10, 2017). That feature is related to a new book published by the LOC titled The Card Catalog: Books, Cards and Literary Treasures.

Below I post their introductory paragraph and one such sample pair. Visit the link at the end to enjoy the rest.

 

And to celebrate the week, don’t forget to visit your favorite local library. I stopped by the Georgetown one last night. Though a small community library, it is full of wonderful resources and events. Take your children or grandchildren and explore. It will make their day 🙂

In honor of National Library Week (April 9-15), we have curated a selection of rarely seen literary treasures from the Library of Congress Archives, from William Blake’s engraved prophecies to a first edition of The Fire Next Time. Each book cover is paired with its card from the Library of Congress card catalog. Some of these are hand-written, some are printed, and many are annotated by hand, reflecting the meticulous work and invaluable skills of generations of librarians.

Source: Rarely Seen Literary Treasures from the Library of Congress Archives | Literary Hub

Published in: on April 11, 2017 at 6:38 AM  Leave a Comment  

Biblioteca Ets Haim – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Atlas Obscura

This fascinating little Jewish sect library in Amsterdam and its history was featured yesterday in the daily “Atlas Obscura” email. I think you will find it’s story unique and interesting.

Below is the brief summary and opening paragraph. Find the rest of the story at the link below. And be sure to take in the pictures!

In the late 1500s and early 1600s, as Sephardic Jews were establishing a community in Amsterdam, they founded a school for themselves that would become the oldest continuously operating Jewish library in the world.

Having been forced to live as Christians in their home countries, Spain and Portugal, Sephardic Jews arrived in Amsterdam with the promise of religious freedom. The school/library, Ets Haim (Hebrew for “Tree of Life”), was founded in 1616 to help the newcomers start living publicly as Jews again. Many had continued to practice their true religion in secret while living outwardly as Christians. Amassing the library allowed them to debate among themselves, after so long, what being Jewish meant.

Source: Biblioteca Ets Haim – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Atlas Obscura

Published in: on April 6, 2017 at 6:36 AM  Leave a Comment  

Special Grade-School Visitors This Week

This past Tuesday and Wednesday the PRC Seminary hosted some very special guests.

Adams-5th-2017-1Prof. R. Cammenga introduces the students to the seminary and its work.

On Tuesday the fifth-grade class from Adams Christian School (Wyoming, MI) taught by Mrs. MaryBeth Lubbers joined us for an hour of their morning. We so appreciate these visits and the time we have to interact so as to present more about the seminary and its special labors.

Adams-5th-2017-2
Seminary students introduce themselves during devotion time.

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Professors and students mingle with the Adams’ students at coffee time.

Adams-5th-2017-4

A very special student from Adams 5th grade (Abbey Rose, my granddaughter) visits with Stephan Regnerus.

Adams-5th-2017-5Group picture in the seminary assembly room – Adams 5th graders and Mrs. M. Lubbers with our students and professors.

On Wednesday, the fourth-grade class of Mrs. Jane Woudenberg from Heritage Christian School in Hudsonville, MI made their annual visit to us.

HCS-4th-2017-1
Mingling with the HCS 4th graders at coffee time.

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More mingling as break time begins.

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Learning about the seminary from Prof. R. Cammenga – tough, theological questions! But the children can handle them.

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The visit wouldn’t be complete without a trip through the library! Always a pleasure seeing them browse through and poke around.

We are thankful for the interest in our seminary on the part of these teachers and students. And, as always, we pray that seeds were sown in the hearts and minds of some of these young boys to consider the call to the ministry some day.

God bless your work in the Christian schools too! Pray for us as we pray for you.

Published in: on March 31, 2017 at 6:45 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Stadsbiblioteket (Stockholm Public Library) – Atlas Obscura

Ready to tour another world library on this Friday, compliments of Atlas Obscura?

Check out this beauty in Stockholm, Sweden. Amazing design and over 2 million volumes to browse. Visit the link below to see all of the images, but you get the idea from this one here.

Here is part of the description offered by “AO”:

The Stadsbiblioteket, the main branch of the Stockholm Public Library System, is one of the most distinctive buildings in the Swedish capital. The 360-degree tower of books at the top is a bibliophile’s temple to reading in-the-round. The graceful rotunda is open to the public, who can climb to the top of the stacks and peer down on the collections below.

The library is an example of Nordic Classicism, pioneered by Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund in the 1920s. The slightly chilly façade is, at the same time, oddly inviting, as if to say “we are here to work, but all are welcome.” This style was sometimes known as “Swedish Grace,” a simplified and accessible classicism that had great influence on everything from furniture design to sculpture.

By the way, you ought to subscribe to the Atlas Obscura emails too. Each day you will receive a list of unique places in the world to visit. Did you know there is museum of the alphabet in North Carolina? Go find out!

Source: The Stadsbiblioteket (Stockholm Public Library) – Stockholm, Sweden | Atlas Obscura

Published in: on March 24, 2017 at 6:31 AM  Leave a Comment  

Ask a Librarian: What’s the Strangest Thing You’ve Found in a Library Book? | Tin House

4-leaf-clover-in-bookSaved for Friday’s such as this one, this article at the website “Tin House” (Posted Jan.10, 2017) contains the responses of librarians to the question, “What’s the strangest thing you have found in a library book?”

I have found a variety of special things in the (used) books we have purchased or been given, but none that compares with these! So, on this crisp March morning in West Michigan, let’s warm up with some laughter triggered by these amazing answers.

 

THE QUESTION

What’s the most interesting, memorable, or just plain weird thing you’ve found in a library book?

THE ANSWERS

**Winner** A taco, perfectly preserved and pressed like a flower in the middle of a book. It was so slim you wouldn’t know it was there until you opened the book. —Amanda Monson, Bartow County Library System

**Winner** I am a first generation immigrant from Russia. My senior year of college, at least the last semester of it, I had to write a senior thesis. I had gotten permission to write a historical fiction, a creative piece but one that would demonstrate my impressive researching skills. So, I chose to write about Soviet era Russia, primarily the political and religious oppression that existed. I was very familiar with this topic, having arrived in the U.S. as refugees due to the fact that our family was persecuted for our religious beliefs. I scoured the internet for books on the topic; I had to dedicate an entire bookshelf to those books. One little book called “Konshaubi: A True Story of Persecuted Christians in the Soviet Union” by Georgi Vins. Georgi Vins was a big name in our community. He was expelled from Russia, along with a few other dissidents, in 1979 in exchange for 2 Soviet spies. As I flipped through this very humble book, I landed on a page of photos. On one of them, I noticed three familiar faces. My grandfather, grandmother, and uncle’s. My grandfather served four 3-year sentences (total of 12 years) in the Soviet prisons for his involvement in the Baptist church. My uncle served 3 years. My uncle had just died that February. It was so shocking to see his face and the faces of my grandparents. I showed my mom, and she cried when she saw her parents and brother. It was, and still is, the most memorable and interesting find in a book. —Violetta Nikitina, Union County Public Library

**Winner** A letter in a sealed, stamped envelope that had never been sent. I decided to mail it. —Christina Thurairatnam, Holmes County District Public Library

Sonogram pictures of a developing baby. —Chantal Walvoord, Rockwall County Library

A piece of bologna! It was in a children’s picture book, so I think someone was snacking while reading. —Joy Scott, Steele Creek Library

Source: Ask a Librarian: What’s the Strangest Thing You’ve Found in a Library Book? | Tin House

Published in: on March 3, 2017 at 9:51 AM  Leave a Comment  

Bibliomania: the strange history of compulsive book buying

bibliomaniaBeing one given to this “disorder,” I found this history of “bibliomania” quite interesting. Perhaps you will too, whether prone to it or not. Regardless of whether you reach this stage of book craving, I hope you at least have some bibliophilia in your soul.

Enjoy the good read below; here is a start:

Posted Jan.26, 2017 at The Guardian

In the 19th century, book collecting became common among gentlemen, mostly in Britain, and grew into an obsession that one of its participants called “bibliomania”. Thomas Frognall Dibdin, an English cleric and bibliographer, wrote Bibliomania, or Book Madness: A Bibliographical Romance, which was a gentle satire of those he saw as afflicted with this “neurosis”. Dibdin medicalised the condition, going so far as to provide a list of symptoms manifested in the particular types of books that they obsessively sought: “First editions, true editions, black letter-printed books, large paper copies; uncut books with edges that are not sheared by binder’s tools; illustrated copies; unique copies with morocco binding or silk lining; and copies printed on vellum.”

But Dibdin himself was obsessed with the physical aspects of books, and in his descriptions paid an intense attention to the details of their bindings and printings (rather than the content) that betrayed his own love. In a letter published in an 1815 journal, he beseeched subscribers to bulk up their subscriptions to help complete a set of volumes called The Bibliographical Decameron – more beautiful than they could imagine. “I should be loth to promise what is not likely to be performed, or to incur the censure of vanity or presumption in asserting that the materials already collected, in this department of the work, are more numerous, more beautiful, and more faithful, than any which, to my knowledge, have come under the eye of the publick.”

Source: Bibliomania: the strange history of compulsive book buying | Books | The Guardian

Published in: on February 23, 2017 at 6:37 AM  Leave a Comment