Saturday, December 9, 2023

The Urge to Collect: Motives, Obsessions and Tensions

Edited by Holly O’Farrell and Pieter ter Keurs

Why do we collect? Where does the urge to collect come from? This book explores the phenomenon of collecting in various contexts. Collecting is an illustration of a strong human-thing entanglement. It can be caused by psychological incentives that are deeply rooted in human doubts and anxieties. It is also related to building a pleasant, unthreatening, and even paradisical, environment to compensate for the uncertainties of everyday life.

The chapters in this book range from psychological perspectives in the Habsburg empire to Rococo collecting in France, from a fanatic English book collector to a 16th/17th century encyclopaedic Dutch collector. And finally the fascinating story of Baron Edmond de Rothschild’s boxes.

The contributions to this book were first presented as papers at the seminar “The Psychology of Collecting” in April 2022, organised by the Interdisciplinary Research Group “Museums, Collections and Society” of Leiden University, Netherlands.

Paperback ISBN: 9789464262308 | Hardback ISBN: 9789464262315 | Imprint: Sidestone Press | Format: 160x230mm | 108 pp. | Language: English | 24 illus. (fc) | Keywords: collecting; psychology; museums | download cover | DOI: 10.59641/l02554ox


The Urge to Collect: An Introduction
Pieter ter Keurs

What Drives the Collector? The Case of Rococo Collecting
Caroline van Eck

From Hegel to Freud. Imperial Museums and the Rise of Psychology in the History of Culture, between Triumphalism and Criticism
Pascal Griener

Tulips, Rabies and Books
Cécilia Hurley-Griener

How to Form a Wunderkammer in 1600? The Encyclopedic Collection of Bernardus Paludanus (1550-1633)
Marika Keblusek

Storing and Staging: Baron Edmond’s Boxes
Juliet Carey


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