McCays Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
Item Number: 5351
London: Office of the National Illustrated Library, 1852.
Second edition of this classic study of crowd psychology, a compilation of human folly throughout the ages. Octavo, 2 volumes, original cloth, gilt titles to the spine. Illustrated with numerous engravings throughout. In very good condition with some wear to the extremities and sporadic foxing. Uncommon in the original cloth.
Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is divided into three broad categories, including 'National Delusions,' 'Peculiar Follies,' and 'Philosophical Delusions.' The author discusses and usually debunks a wide variety of subjects and events. These include economic bubbles like the tulip craze of Holland in 1637 or the Mississippi Company financial bubble of 1719; alchemy, which was of particular interest to individuals who wanted to create gold out of lesser-valued materials; the Crusades, also known as the Middle Ages mania; witch hunts, the persecution of thousands of innocent victims that arose from either supernatural ill fortune or neighbors with a score to settle; duels; the political and religious influence on beards; and several others. The impact of Mackays work has been remarkably far-reaching, influencing such fields as popular psychology and the stock market as noted by The New York Times, which urged: "Any investor who has not read Charles Mackays "Tulipomania," from his classic Extraordinary Popular Delusions, first published in 1841, should grab this book for that exercise alone."