SMALL BOOKS FOR THE COMMON MAN: A DESCRIPTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY.

  • New Castle, Delaware, and London: Oak Knoll Press and The British Library, 2010.
  • 7 x 10 inches
  • hardcover
  • 1,008 pages
  • ISBN: 9781584562542

Price: $115.00  other currencies

Order Nr. 99759

First edition. The hundred years prior to the mid-nineteenth century saw a flowering of ephemeral publishing often referred to by the shorthand "chapbooks." This book is an analytical bibliography of the National Art Library's collection of literary ephemera of the period. For the purposes of this book, this includes entertaining and broadly educational works, such as abridged novels, alphabets, ballads, cries, dreadful, fables and tales, nursery rhymes, fortune books, garlands, histories, and natural histories. The book excludes primarily proselytizing and moralizing texts, along with battledores, cabinet and miniature books, harlequinaids, tracts, panoramas, plays, primers, and propaganda pamphlets. Also excluded are more substantial and sumptuous publications with engravings on quality paper and bound in boards as they were considered insufficiently ephemeral.

Nearly 800 titles are described here in significant bibliographical detail to allow accurate comparison and verification with editions, variants, and states in other collections. Examples of illustrations from all the books described are reproduced here, providing a visual feast and resource. The book will appeal to all librarians and owners of collections containing literary and educational ephemera. It will provide support for current research into literary studies and work on literacy and language development.

John Meriton is Librarian of the National Art Library and Deputy Keeper of the Word and Image Department, Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Carlo Dumontet is the National Art Library's Special Collections Bibliographer.