The British Library
A Treasure House of Knowledge
- Newest addition to Scala’s Great Libraries of the World Series
The British Library holds one of the world’s greatest collections of books and manuscripts, spanning almost three millennia and from all parts of the world. They include such famous documents as The Lindisfarne Gospels, the Diamond Sutra, Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible, the Magna Carta and Shakespeare’s First Folio. Among the thousands of manuscripts are copies of some of the best-known works of English literature and world-renowned collections of maps, music, stamps, photographs, patents, newspapers and sound recordings. Scala has commissioned newspaper columnist and author, Philip Howard, to write the text for this important book. With his usual witty and refreshing approach, Philip avoids the traditional collection-by-collection analysis, but sets out to give a retrospective trawl through the areas of universal knowledge within the library, highlighting its treasures to illustrate his themes. The range and scope of the library’s treasures are unparalleled, and this superb new book in Scala’s series on the great libraries of the world gives a flavour of the richness of the library’s collection in an innovative and entertaining way.
Philip Howard (1933–2014) was one of the great journalists on The Times, serving variously as its Literary Editor (1978–1992), reporter, columnist and leader writer. He retired in 2014 after 50 years on the paper. He was a highly informed commentator on a host of subjects including language, classics (he served as President of the Classical Association), history, politics and sport, and was the author of some 20 books.