"MEN GO MAD IN HERDS": MACKAY'S EXTRAORDINARY POPULAR DELUSIONS, 1852, LATER USED IN CHARTING THE STOCK MARKET
MACKAY, Charles. Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. London: Office of the National Illustrated Library, 1852. Two volumes. Octavo, original publisher's brown gilt- and blind-stamped cloth, elaborately gilt-stamped spines, printed endpapers., top edges gilt. $3500.
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, in original gilt-stamped cloth.
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. Volume II with two rear leaves of publisher's advertisements. See Norman 1406. Bookseller ticket (II).
Interior generally fresh with light scattered foxing, exceptional original cloth with light edge-wear to spine ends, gilt bright. A handsome about-fine copy.