OVER the course of his life, John Addington Symonds assembled the working library that supported his wide-ranging research and writing. That library became even more important upon his definitive relocation in 1880 to Davos, Switzerland, where the collection continued to grow through purchases and gifts, most of which arrived via international post. As Van Wyck Brooks observes in his 1914 John Addington Symonds: A Biographical Study, “Symonds had no continuous access to any libraries but his own” after his move to Davos (139), though the ensuing period would be by far his most productive.
Most of Symonds’s books were dispersed after his death in 1893. Nevertheless, his library’s contents can partly be determined from a variety of evidence, such as mentions in his letters or Memoirs, photographs of his study, citations in his works, and book sales and auctions after his death. In a few cases, his actual copies, sometimes bearing his armorial bookplate or other ownership marks, can be tracked down today in libraries and private collections. Using these and other sources, JASP is reconstructing the library’s contents.
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