Matthew Arnold’s Poetical Works

Last week, I spent a lot of time experimenting with a new way (for me) to discuss book history: the vlog. It’s been a lot of trail and error, and I don’t know if I’ll stick with this format, but I tried it–and it’s coherent.

You can find my video discussion of Matthew Arnold’s Poetical Works here. Below, I’ve posted supplemental material: pictures of the illustrations, the frontispiece, and the title page.

Continue reading

Little Luxart Library Editions (1920s)

Hello all, and Happy New Year!

My little book history blog series is back from its brief hiatus with a short stack of interesting editions which probably came free with a box of chocolate. (Follow the link for an interesting mini-lesson in American book history.)

Produced by Robert K. Haas, Inc. from 1924+ (and by the Little Leather Library corporation between 1916-1923), these editions aren’t much to look at, aside from the novelty of their size. Made with high wood-pulp paper which is extremely foxed and brittle now, they made literary classics (and not-so-classics) available to a wider public.

These editions are bound in either roan or skiver (I’m not well-versed in leather bindings, but considering the cheapness of the editions, I’d guess it’s skiver), which has been dyed red and blind stamped with simple borders and titles.


The titles on the spines are actually in relief.


I’m afraid to open the book too far, because it’s so brittle. But this shot gives you a good sense of the printing quality. Narrow margins, lots of lines, lots of ink blotting.


More next week!


MacDonald’s At the Back of the North Wind (1924?)

There’s not a whole lot to say about today’s book: A 1920s edition of George MacDonald’s Victorian children’s book, At the Back of the North Wind, published by David McKay of Philadelphia. Hathitrust dates this edition, which includes four color plates by Gertrude A Kay, to 1924. Based on the cover and illustration style (color-halftone of the sorts we’ve seen in the last few posts) anything from the 1910s to 1920s makes sense to me.

Continue reading

Women of History: Selected from the Writings of Standard Authors (date unknown)

By happenstance (or because I’m extremely interested in 19C women’s writing and writing about women) the stack of books waiting to be blogged about on my desk contained two collections about women. Today’s volume is, in my opinion, much nicer than last week’s. Women of History: Selected from the Writing of Standard Authors, a Reading School edition published by W.P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell of Edinburgh,  is an anthology surveying the lives of many historical women–including an excerpt from Mrs. Gaskell’s 1857 biography of Charlotte Brontë. It has been put together with obvious care. If I had to guess, I’d say this volume was published at the end of the nineteenth century. Maybe the 1880s or 90s.

Continue reading