The Book of the British Library

Michael Leapman

Michael Leapman

Distributed for British Library

256 pages | 125 color plates | 8 1/2 x 10 | © 2012
Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9780712358378 Published December 2012 For sale in North and South America only

In addition to holding some of the world’s most prized cultural treasures, the British Library is also the repository of the nation’s collective memory. Owing its origin to the generosity and far-sightedness of a handful of eighteenth-century scholars and book lovers, the Library’s very extensive collections—of books, manuscripts, maps, music, newspapers, photographs, sound recordings, stamps, and digital media—offer keys to the understanding of human achievement in literature, art, music, politics, journalism, exploration, and much else, from ancient times to the present day.
 
This beautifully produced and generously illustrated book tells the story of the Library through its founders, its engaging history, and its renowned collection. Michael Leapman highlights the most significant and beautiful items in the care of the British Library, while also exploring some of the lesser-known, more surprising artifacts housed in its iconic building in the heart of London.
 

Jason Scott-Warren | Times Literary Supplement
“Plentifully and beautifully illustrated, The Book of the British Library is a pleasure to dip into. . . . Leapman works hard to string together the many pearls of the collection.”
R. M. Roberts, Lincoln Land Community College | Choice
“Leapman successfully presents a balanced and knowledgeable history of the British Library, its formation, and its development, while simultaneously features an astounding mixture of institutional high spots: Gutenberg, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Caxton, Keats, the Brontës, Lewis Carroll, Kipling, and more. Leapman also surprises readers by highlighting obscure gems, such as Beethoven’s tuning fork, the first edition of Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, and an advertisement for Vaseline. This volume is generously illustrated with crisp images of books, bindings, manuscripts, objects, and portraits of important figures in the institution’s history. . . . A treat for bibliophiles and librarians, this volume is also suited to more casual readers interested in English history. Recommended.”
Contents
Introduction

1. The caretaker
2. Foundations
3. Growing pains
4. The new Library
5. Let there be light
6. Spreading the words
7. On second thoughts...
8. Making history
9. Finding our bearings
10. Lend me your ears
11. The appliance of science
12. Tales of the unexpected

Index
Bibliography
Picture Credits
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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