Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday is a bookish sort of day.

So I'll tell you a little bit about my collection...
which actually has a bit to do with the 'refashion' portion of my blog, because this is how I got into thrifting in the first place.

In the late 1800's, two men, Charles Dent and Ernst Rhys, realized their mutual dream of providing good literature at a cost the general public could afford; a pretty unheard of idea at the time. So they came up with the idea to create Everyman's Library, a collection of the best works of English literature known to mankind, to be sold for a price the average working family could afford. The first 100 titles were published in 1906, and then added to throughout the years. Today, there are well over a thousand titles on the list, as Everyman's Library was eventually picked up by RandomHouse publishing. For the full story, go here.

This is what I am after: the editions of books published between 1906 and 1928...what collectors call "The Flatback Era". These books were published with plain, solid covers covered with plain, printed dust jackets. The interior, however, is a work of art.

This is what you see upon immediately opening one of the books. (Reminds me of art nouveau!) The artwork is done by Reginald L. Knowles, who designed the endpapers to illustrate the figure of Good Deeds from the medieval play Everyman, facing her sister Knowledge's pledge, which is the series motto:

"Everyman, I will go with thee and be thy guide, in thy most need to go by thy side."

Inspiring, yes?

So far, I have 13.
The History of Henrey Esmond, Esq. by William M. Thackeray
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Tennyson's Poems (volumes 1&2) Lord Alfred Tennyson
The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Lorna Doone by Richard D. Blackmoore
Kenilworth by Sir Walter Scott
Adam Bede by George Elliot (Mary Ann Evans)
Cranford by Elizabeth C. Glaskell
The Bible in Spain by George H. Borrow
The Divine Comedy by Dante

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