The Eccentropedia


An A–Z containing 266 true stories of the most original and outrageous people on earth — from terrible poets to transsexual evolutionary theorists.


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The Eccentropedia is the first comprehensive guide to eccentrics around the world, from the ancient Athenian philosopher Diogenes, who challenged his society’s conventions by living in a barrel, to the most original and free-spirited individuals of today. In 266 lively entries, famous eccentrics like King Ludwig of Bavaria, Salvador Dalí and Howard Hughes rub shoulders with a host of lesser known but equally colourful characters, some of whose stories are told here for the first time.

“I want to be a living work of art,” declared the Marchesa Luisa Casati, who was famous for walking through the streets of Venice at night, wearing nothing but a fur coat, accompanied by two cheetahs on gold leashes.

Eccentrics may be dreamers, crackpots, visionaries, poets, scientists, hermits, misers, builders or artists, or they may fit into no conventional category whatsoever. They can be outrageous, inspiring, sometimes infuriating, but they are never, ever dull. And if they have anything in common, it’s the belief that they’re the sensible ones, and it’s the rest of us who are out of step.

Contains over fifty beautiful line art portraits by artist Glenn Smith.