Philipp Blom To Have and To Hold

ISBN 13: 9781585675616

To Have and To Hold

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9781585675616: To Have and To Hold

Blom's gripping narration and bizarre cast of eccentrics, visionaries, and fanatics provide a fascinating glimpse into how a pastime becomes an all-consuming passion.

From amassing sacred relics to collecting celebrity memorabilia, the impulse to hoard has gripped humankind throughout the centuries. But what is it that drives people to possess objects that have no conceivable use? To Have and To Hold is a captivating tour of collectors and their treasures from medieval times to the present, from a cabinet containing unicorn horns and a Tsar's collection of teeth to the macabre art of embalmer Dr. Frederick Ruysch, the fabled castle of William Randolph Hearst, and the truly preoccupied men who stockpile food wrappers and plastic cups. An engrossing story of the collector as bridegroom, deliriously, obsessively happy, wed to his possessions, till death do us part.

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About the Author:

Philipp Blom was born in Hamburg in 1970. After studying in Vienna and Oxford, he worked in publishing as a journalist and translator in London and Paris, where he now lives.

From Publishers Weekly:

The mania of collecting, a pastime usually reserved for the most wealthy of individuals, has a long history, says German-born journalist Blom. For many collectors, "money is no object, and objects are everything." Blom begins his formal, idiosyncratic chronicle in the 16th century, when the Renaissance-fueled explosion of scientific inquiry led to a boom in what the Dutch referred to as cabinets of curiosities. Typically stocked with small antiques and remains of strange animals and men (fake and real), they were popular among the rich and bourgeois across Europe through the next few centuries. Blom follows the tradition into the dark castles of crazed aristocrats and obsessed collectors (such as the 18th-century German doctor who had a collection of skulls taken from the local gallows and asylum) who thought to compile small, neurotically labeled and catalogued worlds, which countered the chaotic one outside their walls. Although Blom's book sticks mainly to highbrow collecting-e.g., old master drawings, snuffboxes, architectural models, human skulls, books-and does not come to any conclusions on what drives people to collect, it is an admirable attempt to chart the history of an obsession. 53 b&w illus. and photos.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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