"MEN GO MAD IN HERDS": MACKAY'S EXTRAORDINARY POPULAR DELUSIONS, 1852, LATER USED IN CHARTING THE STOCK MARKET, IN CONTEMPORARY CALF-GILT
MACKAY, Charles. Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. London: Office of the National Illustrated Library, 1852. Two volumes. Octavo, late 19th-century three-quarter red calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, black morocco spine labels, marbled boards, endpapers, and edges. $2800.
Second edition of this important, entertaining and influential early study of crowd behavior, subsequently used to explore popular psychology and to chart the stock market, with numerous wood-engraved illustrations, handsomely bound in 19th-century three-quarter calf-gilt.
Noted Scottish poet and journalist Charles Mackay attempted in this work to document and explain major "popular delusions," or seemingly irrational instances of mass action and belief. "Men," the author contends, "think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds." In developing his theories of mass behavior, Mackay analyzes a breadth of historical examples ranging from witch hunts, alchemists and famous haunted houses to the South Sea Bubble of 1720 and the Crusades. Mackay's work has had a remarkably far-reaching impact, influencing such diverse fields as popular psychology and the charting of the stock market—as noted by The New York Times, which urged, "Any investor who has not read Charles Mackay's 'Tulipomania,' from his classic Extraordinary Popular Delusions, first published in 1841, should grab this book for that exercise alone." Each volume with engraved frontispiece, engraved and letterpress title pages, and numerous wood-engraved illustrations. See Norman 1406.
Faint scattered foxing to interiors, only minor rubbing and toning to extremities. A handsome copy in near-fine condition.