The Strangest Books in the World: Discover The Madman’s Library, a Captivating Compendium of Peculiar Books​ & Manuscripts

If you’re a frequent reader of Open Tradition, or the numerous blogs we are inclined to learn — particularly these involved with the uncommon, uncommon, and obscure — it’s seemingly you’ve encountered a number of the books in The Madman’s Library, Edward Brooke-Hitching’s implausible new quantity of literary oddities. If not, you’re most likely acquainted with just a few of the classes he identifies underneath his subtitle, “The Strangest Books, Manuscripts and Different Literary Curiosities from Historical past.” These embrace “Books Made from Flesh and Blood,” similar to a Qur’an written in 50 pints of Saddam Hussein’s blood. If such artifacts don’t qualify as “literary curiosities,”  it’s laborious to know what does.

Brooke-Hitching grants the designation “curiosity” is subjective, and culturally decided, “however after practically a decade of looking out by means of catalogues of libraries, public sale homes and antiquarian e book sellers around the globe,” he writes in his introduction,” works of simple peculiarity leapt out.”

Or as he tells Smithsonian in an interview, “the extra books you see, the extra your radar is delicate to one thing that pings with its strangeness.” He pulls out the primary e book in his bag for example: a self-published assortment of poetry by Charlie Sheen.

Maybe few different folks have laid eyes on such an infinite assortment of oddball bibliographic treasures. These usually are not solely books fabricated from unusual — and even lethal — supplies; they’re additionally books whose contents or histories are simply plain bizarre.

The chapter ‘Curious Collections’… options related tasks of obsessive dedication, from medieval manuscripts of implausible beasts, and guides to legal slang of Georgian London (with loads of lascivious highlights supplied), to Captain Prepare dinner’s secret ‘atlas of material’ and the unexpectedly homicidal story of the origin of the Oxford English dictionary. Elsewhere, ‘Literary Hoaxes’ presents the very best of the traditional custom of misleading writing–lies in e book kind–whether or not or not it’s for satire, self promotion or as an instrument of revenge.

Of the latter, Brooke-Hitching cites Jonathan Swift’s collection of pamphlets written underneath a pseudonym, “a profitable marketing campaign to persuade all of London of the untimely loss of life of a charlatan prophet he despised.” In a chapter titled ‘Works of the Supernatural,’ Brooke-Hitching offers us the instance of W.B. Yeats’ spouse George, who transcribed “4000 pages of religious dictation within the first three years of their marriage.” Her computerized writing was printed in a compilation referred to as a A Imaginative and prescient in 1925, however “by means of seven editions it was solely Yeats’ title” on the title web page.

There are ‘Books that aren’t Books,’ similar to a cranium inscribed with a prayer and a group of autobiographical fragments embroidered on the linen jacket of an incarcerated seamstress; there are ‘Cryptic Books” just like the Voynich Manuscript and poetry written in code. Half literary detective story, half bibliographic odyssey by means of time, half literary curiosity all its personal, (although extra of the coffee-table selection) The Madman’s Library, is a feast for bibliophiles and oddballs of every kind. Decide up a replica here and see a number of extra of exceptionally curious books over at Smithsonian.

Associated Content material: 

Explore Online the Mysterious Voynich Manuscript: The 15th-Century Text That Linguists & Code-Breakers Can’t Understand

A Medieval Book That Opens Six Different Ways, Revealing Six Different Books in One

Wonderfully Weird & Ingenious Medieval Books

Josh Jones is a author and musician based mostly in Durham, NC. Observe him at @jdmagness

The Strangest Books in the World: Discover <I>The Madman’s Library,</I> a Captivating Compendium of Peculiar Books​ & Manuscripts is a submit from: Open Culture. Observe us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And do not miss our large collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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