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From the publisher
The fascinating history of American bookishness as told through the sale of Charles Lamb's library in 1848
Charles Lamb's library-a heap of sixty scruffy old books singed with smoke, soaked with gin, sprinkled with crumbs, stripped of illustrations, and bescribbled by the essayist and his literary friends-caused a sensation when it was sold in New York in 1848. The transatlantic book world watched as the relics of a man revered as the patron saint of book collectors were dispersed.
Following those books through the stories of the bibliophiles who shaped intellectual life in America-booksellers, publishers, journalists, editors, bibliographers, librarians, actors, antiquarians, philanthropists, politicians, poets, clergymen-Denise Gigante brings to life a lost world of letters at a time when Americans were busy assembling the country's major public, university, and society libraries. A human tale of loss, obsession, and spiritual survival, this book reveals the magical power books can have to bring people together and will be an absorbing read for anyone interested in what makes a book special.