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Eileen Chanin, Book life: the life and times of David Scott Mitchell.

Eileen Chanin, Book life: the life and times of David Scott Mitchell, Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, 2011, xvi + 477 pages; ISBN 978 1 92150 987 2.

Astonishing as it may seem, this is the first full biography of David Scott Mitchell, the great Australian bibliophile and collector whose benefaction created the Mitchell Library. Now just over a century since his library opened its doors, Mitchell's story is told by art historian Eileen Chanin, who was the joint winner of the NSW Premier's Australian History Prize in 2005. Two years later she was awarded the C.H. Currey Memorial Fellowship to examine Mitchell's collection, and went on to interrogate his choice of books and the clues it gave to his interests. The resulting narrative is a life of Mitchell's mind, reflected by his reading. In turn it opens a window on the world of ideas, literature, libraries and philanthropy in 19th century Sydney. It reveals Mitchell but also places him in the context of other collectors and libraries, and the general intellectual climate of his era. Book life is enhanced by a 10-page dramatis personae as well as thorough footnotes and bibliography, along with nearly 50 illustrations and four family trees.

Anne-Maree Whitaker

Book Review Editor

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Title Annotation:BOOK NOTES
Author:Whitaker, Anne-Maree
Publication:Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Dec 1, 2011
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