- New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, Books of Kells, and Bernard Quaritch, Ltd., 2012.
- 6 x 9 inches
- hardcover, dust jacket
- 296 pages
- ISBN: 9781584563044
Price: $49.95 other currencies
Order Nr. 108511
Reminiscences of an author, bookseller, and publisher, written at the age of eighty-eight, Colin Franklin's newest book is perhaps his most entertaining. It wanders freely through themes which have absorbed him - a lost world of publishing, adventures in bookselling, and the irreplaceable scholarly eccentrics who dominated that world a generation ago. During his numerous trips to Paris, Japan, South Africa, and many universities in the United States, Franklin kept diaries of his accounts which have helped him to put together this new publication. The chapters represent a type of memoir recalling his various book interests developed during his life of publishing and bookselling.
Including serious essays on diverse characters who have fascinated him, the book discusses the Bowdlers and their 'Family Shakespeare'; William Fowler of Winterton, who neglected his humble calling and privately produced books of the greatest magnificence on Roman Mosaic Floors (when these were being discovered under England's green and pleasant land); a little-known Oxford antiquary and print-maker Joseph Skelton; the once-so-popular Robert Surtees and John Leech (much admired by Ruskin), who illustrated his novels; on the neglected theme of Binders' Lettering; and on his lifelong hero William Morris. There is also a new assessment of the Italian printer Giambattista Bodoni, whom Franklin considers to have been finest of them all. A satirical essay called 'Expert', in addition to the anecdotal and narrative style of text, make this an entirely enjoyable work, rich in illustrations and photographs.
Because of Franklin's exhaustive love for books, he has been able to handle some of the most outstanding examples of work he could ever desire. His passion for private presses, early color printings, early editions of Shakespeare, and beautiful Japanese scrolls, has led him to believe that most booksellers, collectors, and even librarians are guided by his or her taste rather than by calculation, just as he has been.
After wartime service in the British Navy, Colin Franklin graduated in English from St. John's College, Oxford and entered the publishing firm of Routledge and Kegan Paul. In middle life the decision was abruptly taken (with his wife's blessing) to quit publishing and turn bookseller. Franklin and his wife Charlotte had five sons and now live near Oxford where they recently celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.
Available in Australia from Books of Kells; available in the UK from Bernard Quaritch, Ltd.