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The Secret Library

A Book-Lovers' Journey Through Curiosities of History

Extent: 256pages

Size: 198x129mm

Publication Date:

Price: £12.99

ISBN: 9781782435570

Categories: Reference, Science - History - Philosophy

Publication Date: 29/09/2016

Price: £5.99

ISBN: 9781782435587

Categories: Reference, Science - History - Philosophy

About the Book

A fascinating tour through the curious history of Western civilization told through its most emblematic invention – the book.


As well as leafing through the well-known titles that have helped shape the world in which we live, Oliver Tearle also dusts off some of the more neglected items to be found hidden among the bookshelves of the past.


You’ll learn about the forgotten Victorian novelist who outsold Dickens, the woman who became the first published poet in America and the eccentric traveller who introduced the table-fork to England. Through exploring a variety of books – novels, plays, travel books, science books, cookbooks, joke books and sports almanacs – The Secret Library highlights some of the most fascinating aspects of our history. It also reveals the surprising connections between various works and historical figures. What links Homer’s Iliad to Aesop’s Fables? Or Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack to the creator of Sherlock Holmes?


The Secret Library brings these little-known stories to light, exploring the intersections between books of all kinds and the history of the Western world over 3,000 years.

About the Author

Oliver Tearle is Lecturer in English at Loughborough University (UK), where he completed a PhD (in 2010) and has taught for the last seven years, having also taught at the University of Warwick.

He has run the blog Interesting Literature: A Library of Literary Interestingness since December 2012, as well as its accompanying Twitter feed and Facebook page. The Twitter feed is followed by, among many others, the makers of the television series QI, the Oxford English Dictionary, the British Library, the British Museum, the Times Literary Supplement, and numerous comedians, writers, academics, journalists, politicians, and celebrities.

Oliver is the author of two academic books, Bewilderments of Vision: Hallucination and Literature, 1880–1914 (Sussex, 2013) and T. E. Hulme and Modernism (Bloomsbury, paperback edition 2015), as well as the co-editor of an experimental volume of critical and creative pieces, Crrritic! (Sussex, 2011). His proudest achievement is coining the word 'bibliosmia' to describe the smell of old books.

Reviews

  • 'If Oliver Tearle's book is half as interesting as his website Interesting Literature, his Twitter feed and his Huffpost blog, it's going to be very interesting indeed', John Lloyd CBE, creator of QI
  • 'A fascinating and engagingly genial stroll through several hundred years of literary anecdote and insight. Tearle is wonderfully good company as of course are the protagonists themselves', Simon Evans, comedian
  • 'If you love books, you'll need this one', Daily Mail