The Vanished Library

In response to:

The Vanished Library from the September 27, 1990 issue

To the Editors:

It is a pity that the very instructive letter of Bernard Lewis about my book The Vanished Library [NYR, September 27, 1990] is based on the review of Professor Lloyd-Jones rather than on the book itself. At the beginning of Part II (“The Sources”), Chapter 1 (“Gibbon”), every reader will find all the data about the doubtful story that the great library was destroyed by order of the Caliph Umar.

Luciano Canfora
Bari, Italy

Hugh Lloyd-Jones replies:

Of course Professor Canfora quotes Gibbon, and neither Professor Lewis nor I implied that he did not. But after looking back at his disappointing book, I find it hard to make out whether he accepted the story that the Arabs destroyed the library or not, so confusing is his arrangement.

Letters

'The Vanished Library' July 18, 1991