Wednesday, February 22, 2017


The Bibliotheca Latrina

James Duff Brown (1862-1914), The Small Library: A Guide to the Collection and Care of Books (London: George Routledge & Sons Limited, 1907), pp. 44-45:
[T]he Bibliotheca Latrina, as this department of the Household Library may be called, has a considerable claim to attention, and its furnishing with books should be undertaken along with the rest of the house. Considering the peculiar characteristics of the apartment in question, and the large amount of desultory reading which takes place in it, the books procured must necessarily be of a slight and unsustained kind. A capital class of book, eminently suitable for the purpose, will be found in small collections of anecdotes like Joe Miller, Chambers, Seton, Laird of Logan, and dozens of others which need not be named. Books of aphorisms, like MacNish or Smith's Tin Trumpet; short moral reflections, like those of La Rochefoucauld; or amusing works, like Beresford's Miseries of Human Life, (an admirable book which ought to be reprinted at once); and all short and pithy collections, such as proverbs, epigrams, etc., might with perfect propriety find a place in the Bibliotheca Latrina. In this, as in other departments of the Household Library, ultimate selection of books must be left to the individual tastes and preferences of householders; but the object of this paragraph will be gained if it succeeds in preventing the claims of the Bibliotheca Latrina from being entirely overlooked.

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