- Charlottesville: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 2011.
- 6 x 9.25 inches
- hardcover, dust jacket
- 324 pages
- ISBN: 9781883631130
Price: $60.00 other currencies
Order Nr. 107173
Book-jackets (or "dust-jackets," as they are often called), along with other detachable book coverings such as slip-cases, have been regularly used by publishers in the English-speaking world and some countries of the European continent since the early part of the nineteenth century. Historians of publishing practices, however, have not accorded them the scrutiny that one might have expected such a ubiquitous and noticeable phenomenon to receive. This illustrated book is intended as a compact introduction to the historical study of these objects, which are essential parts of those books as published.
The present work offers a concise history both of publishers' detachable book coverings (primarily British and American) and of the attention they have received from scholars, dealers, collectors, and librarians. It also surveys their use by publishers (as protective devices and advertising media) and their usefulness to scholars of literature, art, and book history (as sources for biography, bibliography, cultural analysis, and the development of graphic design). In effect, the book constitutes a plea for the preservation and cataloguing of this significant class of material, so that it will be available for future examination.
Following the text is a list of some of the surviving pre-1901 examples of British and American publishers' printed book-jackets and other detachable coverings. This list, with 1,888 entries, is the outgrowth of a process the author began in 1969: he has kept a record of every pre-1901 jacket that he came across or learned about. The list thus provides a guide to the body of evidence on which generalizations about the history of nineteenth-century jackets must be based, until more examples are reported.