The Enemies of Books

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The Enemies of Books
Author William Blades
Country England
Language English
Subject Books--Conservation and restoration.
Publisher Elliot Stock
Publication date
Pages 165
LC Class Z701 .B63 1888b

The Enemies of Books is a book on biblioclasts[1] and book preservation by the 19th-century bibliophile and book collector William Blades. The book was first published in 1880 and has been republished in different editions in 1881, 1888,[2] 1896, and 1902 and reproduced widely in electronic format in the 21st century. In the book, Blades, a well-known collector and preserver of the works of the English printer William Caxton, documented his outrage at any mistreatment of books in what became a passionate diatribe against biblioclasts, human and non-human, wherever he found them.

The book includes chapters on the following enemies of books: fire, water, gas and heat, dust and neglect, ignorance and bigotry, the bookworm, bookbinders, book collectors, servants, and children. The book ends with a passionate call for reverence for old books, something he felt was lacking during his life.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The entry for biblioclasts is a very long list of deliberate book burnings and destruction by other means.
  2. ^ The 1888 edition has "Revised and Enlarged by the Author", and has the publishing details as London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row and 165 pages
  3. ^ The Conclusion at page 151 in the 1888 edition begins: "It is a great pity that there should be so many distinct enemies at work for the destruction of literature, and that they should so often be allowed to work out their sad end."

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