Manguel, Alberto - Library at Night (Yale, 2008).pdf

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Alberto Manguel - The Library at Night (Yale University Press, 2009).

ISBN: 9780300139143 | 373 pages | PDF


Inspired by the process of creating a library for his fifteenth-century home near the Loire, in France, Alberto Manguel, the acclaimed writer on books and reading, has taken up the subject of libraries. "Libraries," he says, "have always seemed to me pleasantly mad places, and for as long as I can remember I've been seduced by their labyrinthine logic." In this personal, deliberately unsystematic, and wide-ranging book, he offers a captivating meditation on the meaning of libraries.

Manguel, a guide of irrepressible enthusiasm, conducts a unique library tour that extends from his childhood bookshelves to the "complete" libraries of the Internet, from Ancient Egypt and Greece to the Arab world, from China and Rome to Google. He ponders the doomed library of Alexandria as well as the personal libraries of Charles Dickens, Jorge Luis Borges, and others. He recounts stories of people who have struggled against tyranny to preserve freedom of thought--the Polish librarian who smuggled books to safety as the Nazis began their destruction of Jewish libraries; the Afghani bookseller who kept his store open through decades of unrest. Oral "memory libraries" kept alive by prisoners, libraries of banned books, the imaginary library of Count Dracula, the library of books never written--Manguel illuminates the mysteries of libraries as no other writer could. With scores of wonderful images throughout, The Library at Night is a fascinating voyage through Manguel's mind, memory, and vast knowledge of books and civilizations.

Alberto Manguel is an internationally acclaimed anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist, and editor, and the author of several award-winning books, including A Dictionary of Imaginary Places and A History of Reading.


Reviews

"In my personal library of imaginary places, and more specifically on the bookcases near my desk, I maintain a shelf reserved for brilliant readers. There's rarely any turnover. Borges, Calvino, Benjamin and Zweig (plus a few other steadfast patrons). With Manguel's The Library at Night, that will clearly have to change." -- Allen Kurzweil, author of The Grand Complication and A Case of Curiosities

"An eloquent and surprisingly moving tribute not only to libraries, private and public, but to our enduring need for them and for the order they try so hard to impose on a chaotic world. . . . . Manguel does all facets of his subject proud in The Library at Night, celebrating a treasure we so often take for granted. With this wise and tender book, he also creates a treasure of his own." -- Montreal Gazette

"In a good book, certain passages stand out because they are well written. In a great book, nothing stands out because nothing can. The Library at Night is one of those great books." -- The Globe and Mail

"The book contains fifteen essays that posit the library 'as myth,' 'as shape,' 'as island,' and the like. Manguel has assembled thumbnail biographies, entertaining anecdotes, close readings, and photographic documentation into a kind of commonplace book stitched together by his amiable prose. . . . The Library at Night . . . communicates the joy and the solace of being yourself a reader." -- Brian Sholis, BookForum
		
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