“Any obsession can become real disease,” says David Fernández, rare book librarian at Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto. “While not a real psychological illness, book collectors and bibliophiles described “bibliomania” as a medical condition”.

The “book-plague” or the “dark desire for books” swept through the upper classes in Europe and England during the 1800s. The social elite and scholars did everything they could to obtain and collect books—no matter the price. Some collectors spent their entire fortunes to build their personal libraries. While it was never medically classified, people in the 1800s truly feared bibliomania.

Read the interesting stories of Dr. Alois Pichler and Reverend Thomas Frognell Dibdin, both book lovers and victims of the neurosis.

Are you a victim too?

 

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