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Some Things Fishy in Rare Books: Izaak Walton’s Compleat Angler and Other Fish Tales (February 2012 - June 2012)

Rare Book Room Display : Mainfloor, Central Library

The Compleat Angler; or, the Contemplative Man’s Recreation by Izaac Walton [1593 – 1683] was first published in 1653 and has been reprinted numerous times remaining the favorite fishing book of many to this day. Several editions were published during Walton’s lifetime and many more since. By 1936, The Compleat Angler had been reprinted with and without changes 283 times by bibliographer Peter Oliver’s count and, according to multiple sources, is the third most printed book, after the Bible, and the writings of Shakespeare.

Along with many early and fine editions of Walton’s Compleat Angler, the exhibit “Some Things Fishy in Rare Books” reveals spectacular ichthyological illustrations spanning multiple decades. On display are fish illustrations from Conrad Gesner’s 16th century Historia Animalium to Mark Catesby’s 1750 Piscium Serpentum and, more recently, Zane Grey’s photo illustration in Tales of Fresh-Water Fishing from 1928.