Exceedingly Rare First Edition of MacKays Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
Item Number: 5079
London: Richard Bentley, 1841.
First edition of this classic study of crowd psychology, a compilation of human folly throughout the ages. Octavo, three volumes. Bound in uniform three quarters leather, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, top edge gilt. In near fine condition. From the library of noted book collector Edward Francis Carry, with his bookplate. He served as president of the Pullman Company in the early 20th century and built a fine library. A nice example with noted provenance.
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 a wide variety of subjects and events, which include economic bubbles like the tulip craze of Holland in 1637 and 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, wrote: "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."