The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834, by Joseph Mallord William Turner, c. 1835. © The Philadelphia Museum of Art/Art Resource.


Volume IX, Number 2 | spring 2016


Bibliophilic bishop Richard de Bury lamented the burning of the Library of Alexandria. “Who would not shudder at such a hapless holocaust, where ink is offered up instead of blood,” he wrote in 1344, “where the devouring flames consumed so many thousands of innocents?”

It would be impossible to live for a year without disaster unless one practiced character-reading.

—Virginia Woolf, 1924