Lucky 13

Paul Collins's Banvard's Folly gives posthumous props to a dozen and one forgotten oddballs

In Banvard's Folly, Collins has produced a rich and entertaining addition to the great, neglected literature of eccentricity and grand obscurity, a book to place on the shelf next to Isaac Disraeli's Curiosities of Literature, Edith Sitwell's English Eccentrics, and Stewart Holbrook's The Golden Age of Quackery. Indeed, one hopes that Collins will be better treated by history than his subjects were.

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