At a time when libraries are increasingly imperiled, Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen’s informing, exhaustively researched and readable history of the library - from private collections to iconic public institutions - illuminates a bulwark of human history and culture.
Famed across the known world, jealously guarded by private collectors, built up over centuries, destroyed in a single day, ornamented with gold leaf and frescoes or filled with bean bags and children's drawings - the history of the library is rich, varied and stuffed full of incident.
In this, the first major history of its kind, Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen explore the contested and dramatic history of the library, from the famous collections of the ancient world to the embattled public resources we cherish today. Along the way, they introduce us to the antiquarians and philanthropists who shaped the world's great collections, trace the rise and fall of fashions and tastes, and reveal the high crimes and misdemeanours committed in pursuit of rare and valuable manuscripts.
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Number of pages: 528
Weight: 808 g
Dimensions: 236 x 160 x 50 mm
'A sweeping, absorbing history, deeply researched, of that extraordinary and enduring phenomenon: the library' - Richard Ovenden, author of Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack
'What is a 'library'? Is it a mute display of personal wealth and power, or of a humble devotion to God? A routine community resource, or a waste of taxpayers' money? In The Library, we are led nimbly through the centuries, seeing how it has been all of these things and more, as the authors place on the shelf a cornucopia of bookish history.' - Judith Flanders, author of A Place for Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order
'Comprehensive without being miscellaneous, lively without being anecdotal, this sweeping history of libraries shows how central this institution has been to every aspect of human culture. At a time when libraries and librarians are proving themselves to be more important and more resilient than ever before, this whirlwind tour of the different forms that libraries have taken at different times and places will educate and inspire in equal measure.' - Leah Price, founder of the Rutgers Book Initiative at Rutgers University and author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Books
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