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    Adventures of a rare book dealer (and former small bookshop owner).

The Baron of Bibliomania

Written on May 6, 2008

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From the UK Guardian this rather damning portrait:

For much of the 19th century this was the home of Sir Thomas Phillipps, 1st baronet, whom the world called a bibliomaniac, though his term for himself went still further. Vello-mania, he called his condition, because it ran as much to the purchase and hoarding of documents as it did to books. In the tower he installed a succession of printers, employed to translate his manuscripts into more permanent versions; most left before long, complaining they hadn’t been paid. In the house he stored the fruits of his acquisitional forays at home and abroad: a process already out of hand when he was at Oxford, and rampant forever after. Mostly bought with money he had not got: bills were left unpaid for years – at least one unfortunate bookseller went bankrupt because of it.

(The comments at the end are worth reading as well.)

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