Well, I think now would be a good time to introduce you to my baby’s family. That is how a relationship works, isn’t it? You get to know each other first and meet the family a bit later, usually after a few weeks. As with every family, we’ll start with my baby’s father.

J. M. Dent & Sons

As I’ve said before, my baby is a part of the Everyman’s Library (Volume No. 21, to be exact). The father of this famous library is Joseph Malaby Dent, a visionary man who “remembered when he’d longed to buy books he couldn’t afford” and sought to rectify this great injustice for others (Kenner 1988, 31). Consequently, he decided to publish a library of 1000 volumes, consisting of “the greatest works ever written,” that he would sell for 1 shilling a piece (Mumby and Norrie 1974, 323). My baby, along with many others, was born from this vision, and with a library so big–of course–there had to be some sort of organization. Nowadays, the Everyman’s Library has been divided into three eras; my baby belongs to the first

My baby's carmine-colored binding

era, the Flat-Back Era (1906-1928). Back in the days of my baby, however, the EL was merely divided into thirteen sections, and each section was given a different colored, cloth binding; a different (but ornate) title page design; and the classic EL endpapers.

My baby was published in the Fiction section of the EL, giving it a lovely carmine-colored binding and a title page containing a quote by Sir Philip Sydney. Another interesting tidbit about my baby is that it was printed in 1926, the same year that J. M. Dent died. It comforts me to think that my baby might have been one of the last books whose printing was overseen by its father.

My baby's title page

References:

Hugh, Kenning. A Sinking Island: The Modern English Writers. New York: Knopf, 1988.

Mumby, Frank A., and Ian Norrie. Publishing and Bookselling. 5th ed. London: Jonathan Cape LTD, 1974.

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