The Great Book-Collectors

Charles Isaac Elton

The Great Book-Collectors, by

Charles Isaac Elton and Mary Augusta Elton This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: The Great Book-Collectors
Author: Charles Isaac Elton and Mary Augusta Elton
Release Date: July 29, 2006 [EBook #18938]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
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[Illustration: The Great Book-Collectors Charles & Mary Elton]
[Illustration: FABRI DE PEIRESC.]

The Great Book-Collectors
By Charles Isaac Elton
Author of 'Origins of English History' 'The Career of Columbus,' etc.
& Mary Augusta Elton
[Illustration]
London
Kegan Paul, Trench, Tr¨¹bner & Co., Ltd.
MDCCCXCIII

Contents
PAGE
CHAPTER I.
CLASSICAL 1
CHAPTER II.
IRELAND--NORTHUMBRIA 13
CHAPTER III.
ENGLAND 27
CHAPTER IV.
ITALY--THE AGE OF PETRARCH 41
CHAPTER V.
OXFORD--DUKE HUMPHREY'S BOOKS--THE LIBRARY OF THE VALOIS 53
CHAPTER VI.
ITALY--THE RENAISSANCE 63
CHAPTER VII.
ITALIAN CITIES--OLYMPIA MORATA--URBINO--THE BOOKS OF CORVINUS 76
CHAPTER VIII.
GERMANY--FLANDERS--BURGUNDY--ENGLAND 87
CHAPTER IX.
FRANCE: EARLY BOOKMEN--ROYAL COLLECTORS 99
CHAPTER X.
THE OLD ROYAL LIBRARY--FAIRFAX--COTTON--HARLEY--THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE 111
CHAPTER XI.
BODLEY--DIGBY--LAUD--SELDEN--ASHMOLE 124
CHAPTER XII.
GROLIER AND HIS SUCCESSORS 139
CHAPTER XIII.
LATER COLLECTORS: FRANCE--ITALY--SPAIN 158
CHAPTER XIV.
DE THOU--PINELLI--PEIRESC 169
CHAPTER XV.
FRENCH COLLECTORS--NAUD¨¦ TO RENOUARD 183
CHAPTER XVI.
LATER ENGLISH COLLECTORS 202
INDEX 221

List of Illustrations
PORTRAIT OF PEIRESC Frontispiece (From an engraving by Claude Mellan.)
INITIAL LETTER FROM THE 'GOSPELS OF ST. CUTHBERT' 18
SEAL OF RICHARD DE BURY 38
PORTRAIT OF THE DUKE OF BEDFORD PRAYING BEFORE ST. GEORGE 59 (From the Book of Hours commonly known as the 'Bedford Missal.')
PORTRAIT OF MAGLIABECCHI 74 (From an engraving in the British Museum.)
BINDING EXECUTED FOR QUEEN ELIZABETH 112 (English jeweller's-work on a cover of red velvet. From a copy of 'Meditationum Christianarum Libellus,' Lyons, 1570, in the British Museum.)
PORTRAIT OF SIR ROBERT COTTON 117 (From an engraving by R. White after C. Jonson.)
PORTRAIT OF SIR THOMAS BODLEY 126 (From an engraving in the British Museum.)
BINDING EXECUTED FOR GROLIER 141 (From a copy of Silius Italicus, Venice, 1523, in the British Museum.)
PORTRAIT OF DE THOU 168 (From an engraving by Morin, after L. Ferdinand.)
CHAPTER I.
CLASSICAL.
In undertaking to write these few chapters on the lives of the book-collectors, we feel that we must move between lines that seem somewhat narrow, having regard to the possible range of the subject. We shall therefore avoid as much as possible the description of particular books, and shall endeavour to deal with the book-collector or book-hunter, as distinguished from the owner of good books, from librarians and specialists, from the merchant or broker of books and the book-glutton who wants all that he sees.
Guillaume Postel and his friends found time to discuss the merits of the authors before the Flood. Our own age neglects the libraries of Shem, and casts doubts on the antiquity of the Book of Enoch. But even in writing the briefest account of the great book-collectors, we are compelled to go back to somewhat remote times, and to say at least a few words about the ancient book-stories from the far East, from Greece and Rome, from Egypt and Pontus and Asia. We have seen the brick-libraries of Nineveh and the copies for the King at Babylon, and we have heard of the rolls of Ecbatana. All the world knows how Nehemiah 'founded a library,' and how the brave Maccab?us gathered again what had been lost by reason of the wars. Every desert in the East seems to have held a library, where the pillars of some temple lie in the sand, and where dead men 'hang their mute thoughts on the mute walls around.' The Egyptian traveller sees the site of the book-room of Rameses that was called the 'Hospital for the Soul.' There was a library at the breast of the Sphinx, and another where Cairo stands, and one at Alexandria that was burned in Julius C?sar's siege, besides the later assemblage in the House of Serapis which Omar was said to have sacrificed as a tribute of respect for the Koran.
Asia Minor was celebrated for her libraries. There were 'many curious books' in Ephesus, and rich stores of books at Antioch on the Orontes, and where the gray-capped students 'chattered like water-fowl' by the river at Tarsus. In Pergamus they made the fine parchment like ivory, beloved, as an enemy has said, by 'yellow bibliomaniacs whose skins take the colour of their food'; and there the wealthy race of Attalus built up the royal collection which Antony captured in war and sent as a gift to Cleopatra.
It pleased the Greeks to invent traditions about the books of Polycrates at Samos, or those of Pisistratus that were counted among the spoils of Xerxes: and the Athenians thought that the very same volumes found their way home again after the victories of Alexander the Great. Aristotle owned the first private library of which anything is actually recorded; and it is
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