Curiosities

Biblio-klepto-mania

By posted at 11:07 am on December 8, 2016 1

“Symptoms included a frenzy for culling and hunting down first editions, rare copies, books of certain sizes or printed on specific paper.” Lauren Young writes in Atlas Obscura about the phenomenon of bibliomania, “a dark pseudo-psychological illness” that afflicted upper-class victims in Europe and England during the 1800s. And for a first-hand account of more contemporary book theft, read John Brandon on his high school pastime: “The first time was nerve-racking, a rush, but by the third book I was already settling in.”

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One Response to “Biblio-klepto-mania”

  1. steven augustine
    at 12:07 am on December 9, 2016

    I shipped five cartons of books from San Diego (home, at the time, to some world-class secondhand book shops) to Berlin… I had some hand-trembling finds in the shops of that city. As each carton arrived I was summoned to customs. The fifth carton arrived in the form of an ominous grey sack provided by the US postal service: the carton had somehow burst en route. It wasn’t until I’d unpacked all the cartons and gotten the books on shelves, a few days later, that I noticed that nineteen or twenty books were missing… and almost all of the missing books were written by Anthony Burgess. My Burgess collection was wiped out, along with several airport-purchased paperbacks of so-so crap I’d used to get through various flights. International shipping book thief with widely variable taste!

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