Pandemic or not, there is still room for celebration. Currently on view by appointment is the exhibition at the Cushing Library at Texas A&M University, “The Eternal Passion: Nicholas A Basbanes and the Making of A Gentle Madness.” The exhibition was originally planned for a March launch but delayed by the Pandemic. A much-anticipated opening day event featuring Nick Basbanes himself had to be cancelled. Nonetheless, curator Kevin O’Sullivan was determined to keep the exhibition available. The exhibition was rescheduled and is now running from Aug. 3rd – Nov. 30, 2020.
This is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books. Basbanes’ work on bibliophiles and book collecting is now considered a classic. But it almost didn’t get published. O’Sullivan does a magnificent job selecting material from the Basbanes archive at the Cushing and other sources to present a well-rounded look at the making of A Gentle Madness. He also highlights Basbanes’ career generally with material about his later publications.
I contributed a number of items to the exhibition. I was also scheduled to speak at the opening event. So, the cancellation affected me personally. When the exhibition reopened, I arranged a tour for myself and wife Nicole with Kevin O’Sullivan. Also present were Francesca Marini and Beth Kilmarx of the Cushing Library. Nicole videoed the tour. It is not a professional production, but she captures Kevin’s talk and our banter, along with a detailed look at the material on display. May this serve as an imperfect but entertaining record of an exhibition that faced unprecedented challenges.
Link to video:
Here are details about the exhibition and how to see it in person.