Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Three volumes). Charles MACKAY.
Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Three volumes).
Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Three volumes).

Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Three volumes).

London: Richard Bentley, 1841. First Edition. Hardcover. Three Volumes. Octavos. viii + 400pp; iv + 406pp, iv + 404pp. Contemporary full leather bindings, with leather title labels, raised bands, and gilt rules to spine. Decorative borders in blind and gilt to boards. Marbled endpapers and edges. Each volume with its own frontispiece, and one (of two) plates in Vol. III. A delightful work of good humoured skepticism, which later influenced the study of subjects as diverse as psychology, history, economics, the stock market and politics. Considerable occult interest: the whole of Volume III is devoted to esoteric subjects, with nearly 250 pages on "The Alchymists" (including a sub-chapter on John Dee whom Mackay judged to have been "a wonderful man" who sadly "quitted the mathematics and the pursuits of true philosophy, to indulge in the unprofitable reveries of the occult sciences"); with the remainder of that volume scrutinising "Fortune-Telling," and "The Magnetiseers." Volume II is comprised of two large sections on "The Crusades" and "The Witch Mania," with smaller sections on "The Slow Poisoners" and "Haunted Houses." A substantial part of the first volume is devoted to various financial misadventures, including "The Mississippi Scheme," "The South Sea Bubble," "The Tulipomania" (the seventeenth century Dutch obsession with the trade in tulips, that effectively begat the stock and futures markets), and "Relics" (the trade in religious relics). The rest of the volume is divided into varied chapters on subjects as diverse as "Modern Prophecies," "The Public Admiration for Great Thieves" and "The Influence of Politics and Religion on the Hair and Beard" to name a few. From the collection of Dr. M. H. Coleman, with his blind-stamped ex-libris seal on the first front blank page of each volume, and an earlier ownership name ("Bill") at the head of the same page. As noted the volumes have the three frontispieces called for, but only one of the two plates (the plate of John Dee is present, but that of Paracelsus is missing). The bindings are firm and strong, but the spines are darkened and the gilt-work dulled. Corners very lightly bruised, and a few small scrapes to the leather around the edges of the boards. Some scattered pale foxing, heaviest on the first and last half-dozen leaves of each volume and on the plate portraying John Dee. Still a solid, handsome, VG+ set. Item #53970

Price: $7,500.00

See all items by