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To Have and To Hold

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  130 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
From amassing sacred relics to collecting celebrity memorabilia, the impulse to hoard has gripped humankind throughout the centuries. But what is it that drives people to possess objects that have no conceivable use? To Have and To Hold is a captivating tour of collectors and their treasures from medieval times to the present, from a cabinet containing unicorn horns and a ...more
ebook, 345 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by The Overlook Press (first published 2002)
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Mikey B.
Nov 02, 2012 Mikey B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: collecting, art
An interesting read on how collecting started, at first with the Lordly and wealthy. The first collections were very general - in an age of universal wisdom and corresponding universal illiteracy! These early collections were everything – stones, plants, cadavers, art books… Later collectors became more specialized and in our current age more accessible. In fact everyone becomes a collector and everything collectible by mass production. Children become indoctrinated at an early age to collect.

So
...more
Elizabeth
Apr 30, 2010 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
This was a lively and comprehensive look at collecting across time, place, and thing. I was particularly happy about the author's refusal to generalize, illustrating trends in collecting behaviors and attitudes through the accrual of anecdotes rather than resorting to psychological or sociological explanations. This project was aided by the fact that each chapter chose to focus on a particular collector or collection, the contents of which ranged from religious relics to plastic cups. For my own ...more
Alison Kagen
Dreadful, a really disappointing book - offers such promise & delivers almost nothing at all. Poorly written, pretentious (footnotes all over the place but missing from important & obvious areas), clumsy (no captions for poorly reproduced illustrations, lengthy quotes for no benefit). Could have been great: describing collecting from small/minor to major, exploring the "why" not just the "what". Actually there is some "why" but it's inadequate, superficial. I've given 1 star - probably n ...more
Peggy
Jul 11, 2011 Peggy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[this originally appeared as an entry titled "A Needle in a Haystack" on my blog, Rampant Biblioholism]

I tend to skip around a lot in my reading. Anything that catches my eye is likely to end up on my list, regardless of topic. So I've been thinking about just what it is that's likely to catch my eye. The book To Have and to Hold: An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting does it just right.

Firstly, it's pretty. Just look at it: it's interesting, it's a bit creepy, and it's completly app
...more
Alfredo González
Libro muy interesante que recorre superficialmente la historia del coleccionista en sus diversas facetas, al parecer esta afición llego a su cumbre en el renacimiento y especialmente popular en Holanda, donde eran muy populares los gabinetes de las curiosidades. Hoy los coleccionistas mas populares se entretienen con sellos, monedas, pinturas y otros artículos de valor, pero antaño los coleccionistas querían aquello que era raro e inusual, especialmente hay colecciones de restos humanos inusuale ...more
Jay
Feb 23, 2009 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the best history of collecting that I have yet read, and yes, I have tried to read quite a few. The dry wit and straightforward way of Blom's writing made this a pleasure. Sadly, I left it on the airplane when I was heading home from a visiting artist deal in Ohio, but and considering buying it again just to look through certain passages.

If you are interested in collections or have artwork that deals with them, this is a must read.
Grayson
Feb 15, 2015 Grayson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable read. I liked the fact that Blom wrote some about the psychology of collecting as well as the history of curious collectors. Recommended.
Flora
The subject couldn't be more interesting -- and it's one dear to my heart -- but the utilitarian approach to the historical info dampened my enthusiasm a bit early on. Great material, though.
Phil
Phil rated it it was amazing
Dec 04, 2011
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Philipp Blom is a German novelist who currently lives and works in Vienna, Austria. He is best known for his novel, The Simmons Papers (1995). His 2007 novel, Luxor has not yet been translated into English. He is a professional historian who studied at Vienna and Oxford with a focus on eighteenth-century intellectual history. His academic works include: To Have and to Hold: An Intimate History of ...more
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