‘The Bibliomaniac’s Progress’: Bill Zachs’s Reflections on Scholarly Book Collecting

The second instalment of the Centre for the History of the Book’s lunchtime seminar series for this term, titled The Bibliomaniac’s Progress, began with the speaker, Dr William Zachs, showing us an old clip from The Twilight Zone. The clip was a scene from the episode ‘Time Enough as Last’, during which the protagonist frantically stumbles through a post-apocalyptic cityscape, gathering books and organizing them into monthly piles that he intends to read with all his newfound time. ‘Books, books! All the books I’ll ever need, all the books I’ll ever want!’ he cries. Perhaps nothing could have been more apt in preparing the audience for the talk that followed: an origin story to rival that of any comic book hero, but one that could even be said to be superior to those other tales, because this was a tale of books. Continue reading

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ABC for Book Collectors

This post is part of a series about useful books and online resources for students of book history and material culture, written by current MSc students at the University of Edinburgh.


If asked, I would say that I am equal parts book history student and book collector; not only do these identifications intersect nicely, but I find it difficult to imagine any student escaping a book history degree without one or two volumes that in some way highlight their specific interests within the field. ABC for Book Collectors by John Carter and Nicolas Barker is a delightful illustration of this intersection. It is both an amazing resource for understanding the sometimes nebulous terminology that sometimes seems rife within the field of bibliography as well as a genuinely interesting read.

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