“Romance of Book-Collecting” is a book written by J. H. Slater, first published in 1919, that explores the world of book collecting. It is a charming and informative book that provides readers with a glimpse into the history, techniques, and culture of book collecting. J. H. Slater was a well-known book collector and expert in his time. His passion for books is evident in every page of this book. In this review, we will explore the different aspects of the book and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.
The History of Book Collecting:
The first part of the book is devoted to the history of book collecting, starting with the ancient Egyptians and Greeks and ending with the collectors of Slater’s own time. Slater provides a comprehensive overview of the evolution of book collecting, tracing the various types of books that have been collected over the centuries, from illuminated manuscripts to incunabula to modern first editions. He also explores the different motivations that have driven collectors throughout history, such as religious devotion, intellectual curiosity, and love of beauty.
Slater’s writing is engaging and informative, and he makes the history of book collecting come alive for readers. He is able to convey the excitement and passion that collectors feel when they discover a rare and valuable book. His anecdotes and examples bring the history of book collecting to life. However, one weakness of this section is that it can feel a bit disjointed at times. With Slater jumping from one period or collector to another without clear transitions.
Techniques of Book Collecting:
The second part of the book focuses on the techniques of book collecting, providing readers with practical advice on how to build a collection. Slater covers topics such as determining the value of a book, finding rare books. And negotiating with dealers and other collectors. He also provides tips on how to care for and preserve books. Emphasizing the importance of proper storage, handling, and cleaning.
This section of the book is particularly useful for readers who are interested in starting their own collection or expanding their existing one. Slater’s advice is practical and straightforward, and his emphasis on the importance of taking care of books is refreshing in an age where many collectors view books as investment objects rather than cultural artifacts.
The Culture of Book Collecting:
The final part of the book explores the culture of book collecting. Focusing on the social and intellectual aspects of the hobby. Slater discusses the role of book clubs, auctions, and exhibitions in the book collecting world. He also examines the different types of collectors and their motivations.
This section of the book is the most interesting and insightful. As Slater is able to provide readers with a glimpse into the inner workings of the book collecting community. He emphasizes the importance of sharing knowledge and experiences with other collectors. He argues that the true joy of book collecting comes from the community of like-minded individuals that it creates.
“Romance of Book-Collecting” is a charming and informative book that will appeal to both novice and experienced collectors. Slater’s love for books and his deep knowledge of the subject shine through in every page. His writing is engaging and accessible. While the book may feel a bit dated at times. Particularly in its discussion of the value of different types of books. Its insights into the culture of book collecting are timeless. Whether you are a collector yourself or simply a lover of books, “Romance of Book-Collecting” is a book that is sure to delight and inspire.