ATG Book of the Week: The Madman’s Library: The Strangest Books, Manuscripts and Other Literary Curiosities from History

by | Jun 14, 2021 | 0 comments

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Title: The Madman’s Library: The Strangest Books, Manuscripts and Other Literary Curiosities from History
Author: Edward Brooke-Hitching
Hardcover: ISBN: 978-1797207308, $29.95
Imprint: San Francisco: Chronicle Books. 2021

From the author of the critically acclaimed bestsellers The Phantom Atlas and The Sky Atlas comes a unique and beautifully illustrated journey through the history of literature. The Madman’s Library delves into its darkest territories to hunt down the oddest books and manuscripts ever written, uncovering the intriguing stories behind their creation.

From the Qur’an written in the blood of Saddam Hussein, to the gorgeously decorated fifteenth-century lawsuit filed by the Devil against Jesus, to the most enormous book ever created, The Madman’s Library features many long forgotten, eccentric, and extraordinary volumes gathered from around the world.

Books written in blood and books that kill, books of the insane and books that hoaxed the globe, books invisible to the naked eye and books so long they could destroy the Universe, books worn into battle and books of code and cypher whose secrets remain undiscovered. Spell books, alchemist scrolls, wearable books, edible books, books to summon demons, books written by ghosts, and more all come together in the most curiously strange library imaginable.

Featuring hundreds of remarkable images and packed with entertaining facts and stories to discover, The Madman’s Library is a captivating compendium perfect for bibliophiles, literature enthusiasts, and collectors intrigued by bizarre oddities, obscure history, and the macabre.


Review

The Madman’s Library, bursting at the seams, is really rather wonderful.” –The Spectator (UK)

“[Brooke-Hitching] spent a decade on the trail of the world’s oddest books, from tomes written in bood and indecipherablre codes to those bound in human skin and everything in between. This sumptuously illustrated book about books will thrill any esoteric bibliophile in your life.” — Mental Floss

“Strikingly illustrated…beguiling” – The Washington Post

“Bursts with life-from its eye-catching dust jacket to its gorgeous endpapers to its vibrant illustrations throughout-and it delivers exactly what it promises: cryptic books, literary hoaxes, and all manner of bookish oddities. The Madman’s Library is nothing short of spectacular.”  – Fine Books Collections

Brooke-Hitching is a wry, likable ring master, threading his acts together with an arch, enjoyable erudition.and The Madman’s Library, bursting at the seams, is really rather wonderful. – The Spectator (US)

“Viscerally delightful: get it for yourself, give it as a gift, keep it close by as a dopamine-boosting alternative to scrolling through your phone.” – Vanity Fair

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