Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Doctor's Orders

I am off to an open discussion tonight at my library about limited library funding, the woeful number of hours the library is open, and what we as a community can do about it. So I leave you to contemplate this passage on medical aspects of bibliomania (quoted from an The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac by Eugene Fields, 1896, as excerpted in Fine Books and Collections Magazine):

Indeed, my learned friend Dr. O'Rell has met with several cases (he informs me) in which suppressed bibliomania has resulted fatally. Many of these cases have been reported in that excellent publication, the Journal of the American Medical Association, which is, by the way, edited by ex-Surgeon-General Hamilton, a famous collector of the literature of ornament and dress. To make short of a long story, the medical faculty is nearly a unit upon the proposition that wherever suppressed bibliomania is suspected, immediate steps should be taken to bring out the disease. It is true that an Ohio physician named Woodbury has written much in defense of the theory that bibliomania can be aborted, but a very large majority of his profession are of the opinion that the actual malady must run a regular course. They insist that the cases quoted as cured by Woodbury were not genuine, but were bastard or false phases, of the same class as the chicken pox and the German measles.
There you have it folks, a medical excuse for book buying binges and the teetering piles and groaning shelves of books around your house. If anyone tries to stop you from buying one more book, you can say that not purchasing Author X's latest could be fatal. Then, especially if it's your sweetie, you must look the person in the eye and say, "You wouldn't want to be the cause of my death would you?" if the person loves you, the answer should be no. If it's anything other than that, it might be time to find a new sweetie.