January 20, 2022

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The Web Can’t Get Sufficient of Richard Macksey's Library

The Internet Can’t Get Enough of Richard Macksey's Library

The library, it must be recognized, is just not in Europe. It doesn’t even exist anymore. However when it did, it was the house library of Johns Hopkins professor Dr. Richard Macksey in Baltimore. (I used to be his pupil in 2015 and interviewed him for Literary Hub in 2018.) Dr. Macksey, who handed away in 2019, was a ebook collector, polyglot and scholar of comparative literature. At Hopkins, he based one of many nation’s first interdisciplinary educational departments and arranged the 1966 convention “The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man,” which included the primary stateside lectures by the French theorists Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes, Jacques Lacan and Paul de Man.

Dr. Macksey’s ebook assortment clocked in at 51,000 titles, in keeping with his son, Alan, excluding magazines and different ephemera. A decade in the past, essentially the most invaluable items — together with first editions of “Moby Dick,” T.S. Eliot’s “Prufrock and Different Observations,” and works by Wordsworth, Keats and Shelley — had been moved to a “particular collections” room on the Hopkins campus. After Dr. Macksey’s loss of life, a S.W.A.T. team-like group of librarians and conservationists spent three weeks combing by his book-filled, 7,400-square-foot home to pick 35,000 volumes so as to add to the college’s libraries.

Shock discoveries included an 18th-century Rousseau textual content with charred covers (discovered within the kitchen), a “pristine” copy of a uncommon Nineteen Fifties exhibition catalog displaying Wassily Kandinsky’s work, posters from the May 1968 protests when college students in Paris occupied the Sorbonne, a hand-drawn Christmas card from the filmmaker John Waters, and the unique recordings of the theorists at that 1966 structuralism convention.

“For years, everybody had mentioned ‘there’s acquired to be recordings of these lectures.’ Nicely, we lastly discovered the recordings of these lectures. They had been hidden in a cupboard behind a bookshelf behind a sofa,” mentioned Liz Mengel, affiliate director of collections and educational companies for the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins. A number of first editions by Twentieth-century poets and novelists sat on a shelf within the laundry room.

After the librarians from Hopkins and close by Loyola Notre Dame had been completed choosing their donations, the remaining books had been carted away by a vendor, so Dr. Macksey’s son may put together the home to be bought.

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