The Library at Night [Alberto Manguel] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Inspired by the process of creating a library for his fifteenth- century. 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 readi. If many bibliophiles will share Alberto Manguel’s assertion that the acquisition and ordering of his library has “kept me sane”, they will also.

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His knowledge is impressive and powerful lbirary his understanding of literature infused with history even more so. In the midst of my book-slump, I just read a page book about libraries. The splendidly cosmopolitan Library of this reader will, in turn, also ensure that the whole world is present right there. This reader imagines a Library where the books are left to cluster by chance and then picked up cluster-by-cluster and put back with their intellectual soul-mates.

The Bodleian has an interest in it. A contemporary cartoon depicts a book-burning in Nazi Germany. As a collegiate library, we are entirely independent of the Bodleian but participate in the university-wide catalogue which is maintained by them.

A book, having been forgotten, can be rediscovered. There is an old superstition that books, alone in the night and the silence, whisper one to another; the library then becomes an echo chamber of words and syllables, conjuring up the great general drama of the human spirit. I woke up wondering where I was, which almost never happens, groggy and disoriented.

It seems to add something to the fabric be it either a painting, photo, brochure, whatever. For this reader, his Library is his umbilicus mundithe navel of his world, the landscape that feeds his imagination, if not his body.

Nigght I knew from the start that the question would most likely remain unanswered, the quest seemed worthwhile for its own sake.

His idealised vision of the library carries some weight given his career as a writer. An engraving copied from a no longer extant Roman bas-relief, depicting the methods for storing scrolls. Manguel is old, wise and sad enough to know that the future belongs to the users of the Kindle reading device and to oafish librarians who discard books as landfill after transferring their contents to disks or CD-Roms that may be illegible in a decade. He studies each theme from many perspectives – his personal experience, historical accounts and literary evidence, illustrations, quotes and many wonderful anecdotes.


Warmed by the pools of light that spill from his lamps, he does not even need to read: Subscribe now and get unlimited digital access on web and our smartphone and tablet apps, free for your first month.

I got tge of bed and looked for a notebook so that I could take notes, but as I did so, the memory of the dream collapsed in on itself like a black hole. These classifications have become sharper over the years but no one has challenged me yet. The library in which I have at long last collected my books began life as a barn sometime in the fifteen century, perched on a small hill south of the Loire.

But thanks for the thought. It gives us such famous collections as the doomed Library of Alexandria and the personal library of Samuel Pepys, who built high-heels for his smaller volumes so that all would appear the same size on the shelf; and tells of libraries that have preserved freedom of thought in the face of tyranny – as did the small, crucial children’s slberto at Auschwitz. No doubt these stories exist on the page equally during the day but, perhaps because of nighttime’s acquaintance with phantom appearances and telltale dreams, they become more vividly present after the sun has set.

He intersperses historical accounts with philosophy and other writings, which I liked very much. Terry Weyna BlackOxford, I wlberto you’re writing your own book about your library experiences! A missing book therefore was the needle in a very large haystack. Until then, here’s a few of the many quotes I saved: It is certainly not limited to the purely economic or technical constraints that seem to dominate discussions among librarians.

Every library is a shadow, by definition the result of choice, and necessarily limited in its scope.

He admits the megalomania of the enterprise: Above all, it tells readers that their craft consist of the power to remember, actively, through the prompt of the page, selected moments of the human experience. Still, as a general but also very personal library-tour-book it is certainly worthwhile, and offers sufficient rewards for anyone who is bookishly inclined.


The ordering of books on the shelves is not a trivial matter as Manguel notes. View all 13 comments. Behind these imperious ventures, and behind Manguel’s life-long scavenging in second-hand shops, lies a desire to demonstrate the unity of phenomena, the indexed connection between disparate experiences and the accessibility of all this lore to a single individual.

The romantic librarian

The Argentinian bibliophile Alberto Manguel, whose books include A History of Reading, is an expert on this snugly closed circle, symbolised by the private library he has installed in a 15th-century barn in the Loire. This would be a perfect book for Samuel Johnson, who “read with no method or discipline, sometimes leaving books uncut and following the text only where the pages fell open” It was even worse than anything Manguel had encountered in his exceptionally thorough research.

Humans can be defined as reading animals, come into the world to decipher it and themselves. I get a sense of anticipation as soon as I see the numerous shelves full of books.

The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel | The Times

Accessibility Links Skip to content. Astor asked if we could meet daily for tea so that I could brief her on the seriousness of the state of affairs and suggest what might be done. All that counts is what is librarg displayed — it is constantly in the present. 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.