London: Macmillan & Co., 1892. Item #04088
The "Gentle-Madness" of Book Collecting
Exquisitely Bound by Zaehnsdorf ca. 1895
ZAEHNSDORF, binder. LANG, Andrew. The Library... With a chapter on modern English illustrated books by Austin Dobson. Second edition. London: Macmillan & Co., 1892.
One of 300 Large Paper Copies (this being no. 23).
Large octavo (10 3/16 x 7 inches; 254 x 178 mm.). xxii, 192 pp. Engraved frontispiece and three color plates all with tissue guards, and twenty-one woodcut illustrations throughout the text.
Exquisitely bound by Zaehnsdorf ca. 1895 in full light blue crushed levant morocco. Covers with an all-over elaborately gilt geometric design of flowers, stems and lattice work. Smooth spine similarly decorated and lettered in gilt, gilt-ruled board edges and turn-ins. Brown morocco liners and end-papers ruled in gilt. The liners with a border of red morocco multi-ruled in gilt. With the gilt Zaehnsdorf Exhibition stamp on the rear end-paper. Top edge gilt, others uncut. With the engraved Armorial bookplate of renowned collector, M.C.D. Borden on verso of front free endpaper. A very fine example housed in the original full maroon straight grain morocco pull-off case (spine soiled).
The Library by Andrew Lang is a late 19th-century book published by MacMillan & Co. as part of the “Art as Home” series. Continuing the tradition of de Bury’s The Philobiblon and Dibdin’s Bibliomania, The Library is a half-serious look at the craft of book-collecting for the amateur bibliophile.
Lang begins his book with a quote from Thomas Frognall Dibdin: "All men," says Dr. Dibdin, "like to be their own librarians." A writer on the library has no business to lay down the law as to the books that even the most inexperienced amateurs should try to collect. There are books which no lover of literature can afford to be without; classics, ancient and modern, on which the world has pronounced its verdict. These works, in whatever shape we may be able to possess them, are the necessary foundations of even the smallest collections. Homer, Dante and Milton Shakespeare and Sophocles, Aristophanes and Moliere, Thucydides, Tacitus, and Gibbon, Swift and Scott, these every lover of letters will desire to possess in the original languages or in translations. The list of such classics is short indeed, and when we go beyond it, the tastes of men begin to differ very widely.
Lang’s book is at both an investigation of the “gentle-madness” of book collecting and a staunch defense of its practice.
Matthew Chaloner Durfee BORDEN (July 18, 1842 - May 27, 1912) - commonly referred to as M.C.D. Borden, was a textile leader from Fall River, Massachusetts who, in 1880 reorganized the failed American Print Works into the American Printing Company. In the years that followed, his company would grow to become the largest cloth-printing company in the world, earning him the nickname "the Calico King". His father was Colonel Richard Borden, who founded the Fall River Iron Works.