The Manuscripts Club: The People Behind a Thousand Years of Medieval Manuscripts

Penguin Pr. Nov. 2023. 624p. ISBN 9780525559412. $45. HIST
This is the 12th book, and the 11th on manuscripts, by de Hamel (Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts), who, for 25 years, worked at Sotheby’s auction house obtaining, cataloging, and arranging the sale of Western medieval manuscripts. He then became librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, overseeing its exquisite collection of medieval manuscripts. de Hamel offers a continuously intriguing and surprisingly lively account of manuscript collectors from St. Anselm through Belle da Costa Greene (J. Pierpont Morgan’s librarian and eventual director of his library). Also featured in this gallery of book lovers is a 19th-century forger. De Hamel’s book is lavishly illustrated and unfailingly engaging. It is a love letter to collectors across nearly 10 centuries, written by an expert, imbued with passion for his subject.
VERDICT This book will fly off the shelves. Once readers look inside, they will be hooked. In every respect, this title is a winner.
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