Et in Arcadia ego?
November 4, 2011 3:00 PM   Subscribe

"Visiting the Library is by introduction. Its location is not advertised, and it does not reveal its whereabouts on the internet." So where is the Arcadian Library and how do I get to see it? And are there any other secret libraries like this?
posted by verstegan to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
It's somewhere in Europe (according to this book review), and you could get an invite by writing an email to Alastair Hamilton, who wrote that same book about it, and explaining why you want to visit (

Thanks for the cool question!
posted by TheGoodBlood at 3:22 PM on November 4, 2011

I think this lecturer lets it slip that it's in London (PDF: An Introduction Arcadian Library) when he talks about Prince Charles' visit.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 3:34 PM on November 4, 2011

> (PDF: An Introduction Arcadian Library)

Link is borked. (I too thank the poster for the great question!)
posted by languagehat at 4:43 PM on November 4, 2011

Corrected link to the PDF. Grr, google making it difficult to copy links!

Relevant quote from the PDF:
"For... Prince Charles...the library holds a deep fascination. He greatly appreciated a visit he made ... on his return to London...."
posted by exphysicist345 at 5:28 PM on November 4, 2011

Interesting place:

The library is "one of the most princely of contemporary private libraries, and what must also count as one of the finest dedicated collections of books ever made about Western entanglement with the Middle East. "

Inside, "the atmosphere is closer to a shrine, a grail chapel, and you feel, when you are there, usually alone with the books and the library staff, that you have been admitted by Lady Fortune to one of her favourites’ secret sanctums where wisdom is truly to be revealed."   —Marina Warner, Inside the secret library where East meets West
posted by exphysicist345 at 5:40 PM on November 4, 2011

"Central London" according to this job posting.
posted by madajb at 8:48 PM on November 4, 2011

Many thanks to all who responded. E-mailing Alastair Hamilton sounds like the best line of approach, though I admit I'd prefer something more romantic, preferably involving a genie, a beautiful princess and a magic key.

This has got me thinking about other hidden collections, like the Archive of Modern Conflict and the Pataphysical Museum. Perhaps I should try and put together a MetaFilter post on secret libraries? I'm sure there are others out there that I don't know about.
posted by verstegan at 6:31 AM on November 5, 2011

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