‘Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.’
(1841) Three Volumes. (This has also been published under the shorter title, ‘Extraordinary Popular Delusions.’)
A history of popular folly. The opening sections, on economic bubbles have (allegedly) been used to train stockbrokers. No doubt Mackay would include the sub-prime mortgage market if he were writing today. As it is, his chapter on Tulipomania describes a period when tulips were (briefly) more expensive than gold and there was a lively futures market in them.
There is also an interesting chapter on beards.
National Delusions, The Mississippi Scheme, The South Sea Bubble, The Tulipomania, Relics, Modern Prophecies, Popular Admiration for Great Thieves, Influence of Politics and Religion on the Hair and Beard, Duels and Ordeals, The Love of the Marvellous and the Disbelief of the True, Popular Follies in Great Cities, The O.P. Mania, The Thugs, or Phansigars, The Crusades, The Witch Mania, The Slow Poisoners, Haunted Houses, Philosophical Delusions,
The Alchymists, Fortune Telling, The Magnetisers.
There are a lot of incomplete copies of this work online. Most contain only Volume 1; others are abridgements. This is the complete three-volume version. I have restored accents and italics, using my paper copy as a guide. I have largely left the author’s idiosyncratic spelling alone. The footnotes are often informative and I have left them in the text in square brackets [like this].
Is there is a competition for the greatest number of tags?
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