Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

316 Years Without Us – a Vulpes Libris Random

For many years I have been a trustee of the oldest (probably) public lending library in England. Founded in 1701 as the Reigate Publick Library, it is now known (after … Continue reading

February 24, 2017 · 2 Comments

Golden Hill, by Francis Spufford

This is the first monthly new novelist in my challenge for 2017, and so far, so very good indeed! Golden Hill is a historical novel, set in an unfamiliar period … Continue reading

January 27, 2017 · 1 Comment

Thomas Turner’s Diary 1754-1765

This week’s Country Matters theme has given me the perfect opportunity to dig out my copy of my favourite country diarist, Thomas Turner. He was a shopkeeper who lived in … Continue reading

September 9, 2016 · 2 Comments

The Natural History of Selborne – Gilbert White

“The Parish of Selborne lies in the extreme eastern corner of the county of Hampshire, bordering on the count of Sussex, and not far from the county of Surrey; it … Continue reading

October 17, 2014 · 3 Comments

The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi by Andrew McConnell Stott

I have a confession. I hate clowns.  I’ve always hated clowns ever since I was a child. I find them both unsettling and unfunny and, as far as I remember, … Continue reading

July 29, 2011 · 11 Comments

Bleeding, Blisters and Opium by Michael Sydney

Joshua Dixon and the Whitehaven Dispensary An amazing thing happened to the little Cumberland fishing village of Whitehaven between the middle of the 17th century and the end of 18th … Continue reading

October 8, 2010 · 3 Comments

Casanova by Ian Kelly: sex and style in the 18th century (NB may contain naughtiness …)

This is an utterly beguiling book. I have all at the same time been thrilled, charmed, amused and seduced by the adventures of Mr Newhouse (anglicised) across the civilised heart … Continue reading

September 10, 2009 · 13 Comments

Queen of the Wits: a life of Laetitia Pilkington, by Norma Clarke.

This review is a personal reaction by a non-historian – I find the 18th century a foreign country; even though I have done some literary and historical research into the … Continue reading

April 2, 2009 · 4 Comments

Interview with Janet Todd

Janet Todd is the author (among many other books) of Death and the Maidens: Fanny Wollstonecraft and the Shelley Circle – one of the best books I’ve read in a long … Continue reading

August 27, 2008 · 26 Comments

Ben Wilson: Decency and Disorder

The Age of Cant 1789-1837 I’m looking at my copious notes here, quite baffled, hardly knowing where to begin – so be warned the following will be long, if I … Continue reading

June 18, 2008 · 12 Comments



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)