‘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