I wonder who creates these learned-sounding words for which we really have no pressing need? I posted about anthropodermic bibliopegy recently, which doesn’t really make binding in human skin any more respectable, but does seem to raise book binding to a point where it sounds like a learned pursuit. “Ask the bibliopegist when our books will be delivered?” The Oxford English Dictionary has biblioclasm represented by three quotes, dating from 1864, 1880, and 1884, though of course it may be awaiting revision and updating for more recent references. The second quotation reads “Such a wicked old biblioclast as John Bagford”. Bagford, thus immortalized, was a rather respectable guy, originally a shoe maker, latterly a bookseller and collector of curiosities, and one of the founding members of the Society of Antiquaries. However he apparently had a mania for mutilating books to remove title pages, colophons etc. Theodore Dalrymple in New English Review tells us that Bagford bound up these title pages in a single volume, now in The British Library. JB ended his days in the Charterhouse (a companion foundation to the public school) whose founder made provision in his will for the maintenance of several poor old gentlemen. (I have a friend who is currently one of the Charterhouse pensioners.)

leuven_library-in-ruins-e1408059961416This is all stimulated by Book Patrol‘s memorializing on 15 August of the 100th anniversary of the burning of the University of Leuven Library. Their post lists three books on book burning — of course you don’t have to burn a book to create a “. . .clasm” as John Bagford demonstrates.

I did a post three years ago about book burning.