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The Library World Volume 3 Issue 11

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 1 May 1901



The question of reprinting notable novels which have been allowed to fall out of print is somewhat different from the one discussed in previous articles. In that case the question was as regards keeping in print popular modern novels whose titles appeared in many Public Library catalogues, to invite attention and draw inquiries from readers as to their existence. In the present case, the question concerns the advantage or utility of reprinting novels which are of some literary value, and are frequently mentioned in histories of literature, magazine articles, &c. A very considerable number of the novels mentioned below are translations of foreign works which have not yet found their way into English Public Libraries, while many are American standard novels which have not been introduced to any extent in England. Both varieties, however, will be found in the Public Libraries of the United States. But, in addition to these American and foreign works, there are certain novels which are named and described in every extensive history of English literature; which are quoted by later writers; which possess considerable claims to remembrance; and yet, so far as I can learn, are not to be had in good modern editions either in England or in America. There are first, the novels which mark the dawn of prose fiction in English literature, and which are worth reprinting if only for the use of students. Such works as Barclay's “Argenis,” Sidney's “Arcadia,” Lyly's “Euphues,” Lodge's “Rosalind,” and all the early attempts at romance are deserving of reproduction in a decent modern dress which would place them within reach of students, libraries, and the general public. The novels of Samuel Richardson are not now obtainable in a handy form, and it is surprising that no publisher of good reprints has thought of issuing nice illustrated editions of these classics. Mrs. Aphra Behn's novels are not perhaps the very best of their kind, but they are celebrated, and should be obtainable. Other well‐known (or rather notable) novels are Johnston's “History of a Guinea,” Greaves' “Spiritual Quixote,” a very clever satire on the early Methodists which has considerable value; Brooke's “Fool of Quality,” Amory's “John Buncle,” and all the best novels of this period, which have been allowed to drop into oblivion. Brooke's “Fool of Quality,” it is true, was issued in the edition prepared by Kingsley, but a cheaper one‐volume edition is also wanted, especially as I believe the other is now out of print. Then it is very remarkable that such a powerful book as Godwin's “Caleb Williams” is not to be had in a worthy edition. Mrs. Shelley's “Frankenstein,” which is a very early and good example of the horrible in fiction, has yet to be issued in a properly illustrated and handy form. Hope's “Anastasius” does not appear in a modern form, and is not easy to obtain in a nice edition; and such Eastern tales as Fraser's “Kuzzilbash,” seem to have dropped completely out of notice. Morier's “Hajji Baba” has been reissued, so far as the Persian part is concerned, but the sequel, containing the humorous account of the embassy to England, also awaits issue. To many minds, the picture of the conflict between Eastern and Western ideas presented in “Hajji Baba in England” makes it much more interesting than the original Persian story. More recent works, like Croly's “Salathiel” and Savage's “Bachelor of the Albany,” should certainly be reprinted, and kept in print, as they deserve. The latter is a work which is frequently quoted, and yet it seems to have been forgotten. It would be possible to specify many good and deserving books which are worth reprinting, but, as they are mentioned in the accompanying list, it is needless to repeat their titles.


(1901), "The Library World Volume 3 Issue 11", New Library World, Vol. 3 No. 11, pp. 280-308.




Copyright © 1901, MCB UP Limited

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