Friday, October 21, 2011


Leigh Hunt on Book Catalogues

Leigh Hunt (1784–1859), quoted by Alexander Ireland, The Book-Lover's Enchiridion: Thoughts on the Solace and Companionship of Books (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1883), p. 137:
A Catalogue is not a mere catalogue or list of saleables, as the uninitiated may fancy. Even a common auctioneer's catalogue of goods and chattels suggests a thousand reflections to a peruser of any knowledge. Judge then what the case must be with a catalogue of books; the very titles of which run the rounds of the whole world, visible and invisible; geographies—biographies—histories—loves—hates—joys—sorrows—cookeries—sciences—fashion,—and eternity! We speak on this subject from the most literal experience; for often and often have we cut open a new catalogue of old books, with all the fervour and ivory folder of a first love; often read one at tea; nay, at dinner; and have put crosses against dozens of volumes in the list, out of the pure imagination of buying them, the possibility being out of the question!
I can't find the original on the World Wide Web. I think it comes from one of Hunt's "Retrospective Review" essays published in The Monthly Repository, circa 1837.

Johann Boxbarth (1671-1727), Bibliothek

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