Yesterday, we looked at some of the good reviews our books have recently received. Today we look at the rest!
Covering the period from about 330AD to the mid-14th century in only 500 pages, one understands that this in not a full-scale history of libraries over 1000 years in the West. Rather it is an overview, focusing on particular themes and vignettes that illustrate the evolution of library collections, management, architecture and users during this period. This is not to say that this work lacks scholarship; like the preceding volumes in the series, it is indeed a work of scholarship, with copious notes, in one instance nine pages of notes for 34 pages (and with copious illustrations), showing how deeply the author has read, synthesized and interpreted his knowledge of the facts.
Overall this work, like others in the series, offers a good overview and in this sense will stand the test of time.
-G. E. Gorman, Australian Library Journal
Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly: Book Collecting in a Golden Age by Joel Silver
Silver’s story is interestingly told, and he relies heavily on the letters exchanged by the two principal characters in it.
We do get an inside look at the back and forth negotiations between a major antiquarian bookseller and entertainer, and a major collector, and that is useful information to have. The book is generously illustrated, and since it reproduces the typography of the letterpress edition printed by the Bird & Bull Press in 2010, it is a more than usually handsome book for a trade edition.
-Bruce Whiteman, SHARP News
Arthur Miller: A Descriptive Bibliography by George W. Crandell
Well bound and printed, there is an attractive dust jacket designed by Laura R. Williams.
It should be purchased by all libraries collecting twentieth century American literature and cultural achievements.
-William Baker, Emerald Journal, Reference Reviews
Historical Types from Gutenberg to Ashendene by Stan Knight
Like its predecessor Historical Types a modest book in scale and appearance that deceptively hides a wealth of information, all of it solidly researched.
Promises to become an essential resource for anyone studying or teaching typography
-Paul Shaw, Codex Magazine
Christina Rossetti: A Descriptive Bibliography by Maura Ives
Nobody will doubt that Maura Ives’s meticulous bibliography is a much-needed contribution to the study of English literature.
Even scholars who have worked on Rossetti’s publishing history will find much that is new here, especially in the three central sections which detail many previously unrecorded appearances in print.
Ives’s documenting of the printings of Rossetti’s work by Robert Brothers of Boston, beginning with Poems (1866), is, by itseld, a notable contribution to understanding Rossetti’s publishing history and one which should encourage further research.
Maura Ives’s bibliography, evidently based on years of determined and careful research, should prove both an incitement to further scholarly work an and important resource for those undertaking that work.
It should be put beside Rebecca Crump’s edition of the poems in every university library.
-Simon Humphries, Victorian Poetry
Books as History: The Importance of Books beyond Their Texts by David Pearson
Chapter 1 (Books as History) raises questions regarding books in the suture, where the bookworld is going and how we will manage the book if we see it only as content and not as artifact. But does this diminish the content that matters most to the hoi polloi? Pearson challenges in a gentle, oblique way.
The other chapters, dealing with provenance, binding, ownership marking, marginalia, etc. are interesting and not overly precious. They convey the author’s message clearly and with excellent illustrations, as well as humour.
-G. E. Gorman, Australian Library Journal
Rudyard Kipling: A Bibliography by David Alan Richards
Richards describes Livingston’s bibliography as “monumental” and Stewart’s as “magisterial”, and both adjectives can be applied to his own, which now replaces them.
The entries are by no means dry bibliographical details, but often contain lengthy notes of biographical interest
Unlike many bibliographies, this is therefore often a readable and interesting text, even for a non-specialist.
-David Geall, Emerald Journal, Reference Reviews
David Alan Richards has produced a masterful example of modern bibliographical research.
Rudyard Kipling: A Bibliography is an incredible resource to collectors of Kipling’s works and to bookbinders who are looking to identify binding copies of his first editions.
-Frank Lehmann, Guild of Book Workers
The book is an aesthetic treasure and a fine resource. It reveals the long, rich history of Greek writing and its role in the formation of the modern Greek nation.
-Carol G. Thomas, SHARP News
Small Books for the Common Man: A Descriptive Bibliography edited by John Meriton
Perhaps the first ironic detail to note about Small Books for the Common Man is the sheer bulk of this bibliography, containing as it does over 800 individual entries of nineteenth century chapbooks from the National Art Library’s collection. However, the book itself is a delight to behold and vastly informative on many levels.
Students, librarians, and archivists will all find something of interest
-Sarah Powell, Emerald Journal, Reference Reviews
Book-Jackets: Their History, Forms, and Use by G. Thomas Tanselle
Tanselle (Columbia Univ.) offers one of the very few books devoted to the study of the book jacket or dust jacket.
The text features 24 color plates and is superbly printed and bound.
Highly recommended. A general audience of book lovers, interested undergraduates, and researchers/faculty.
-W. Baker, CHOICE
It’s been a while since we’ve showed off the great reviews our books continue to get, and we have quite a stack for you to read. We’ll post half today and half tomorrow. These reviews have been featured in some of the leading journals in the field of books.
Ernest Hemingway: A Descriptive Bibliography by C. Edgar Grissom
One of the most significant decisions on the part of Grissom and the publishers was to take advantage of the benefits of modern technology and include a DVD-ROM with over 2,000 color images of various details such as dust jackets, covers, dummy copies, copyright pages, pages of text, slipcases, spines, and frontispieces. These high quality JPEG images allow one to make in-depth comparisons between different copies and in so doing offer an interesting glimpse into publishing practices at the time.
A writer of such stature deserves a comprehensive bibliography of his literary efforts, and this is exactly what Grissom has compiled. It is a masterful work of careful scholarship that will from time to time need to be updates, yet as a basic bibliography of Hemingway’s canon, it may never be surpassed.
-John Roger Paas, Wolfenbutteler Notizen zur Buchgeschichte
If your pulse quickens upon hearing that a new edition or printing or state has been discovered, then you should stop reading this review and lay hands on this new bibliography. You will find C. Edgar Grissom’s Ernest Hemingway: A Descriptive Bibliography to be the welcome product of a persistent and inquiring mind. One gets the sense that he has chased the sometimes confounding details of his tome to their source—or else pursued them as far as we could have possibly followed ourselves, leaving us with a trustworthy reference tool that answers, but also asks, questions.
The details and depth of this volume delight. Hanneman’s work may have been foundational for two generations of Hemingway scholars, but the foundation of Grissom’s work is Grissom’s work. He began over again, as it were, and concentrated. A self-taught bibliophile, he spent a dozen years at this task. What has resulted is not merely a description of historical artifacts, although it is precise and painstaking in its description. Grissom has produced the narrative of Hemingway’s primary bibliography by first describing, then annotating, and finally supplementing his text with appendices and illustrations. He observes in his introduction “a properly conceived and executed single-author bibliography chronicles the author’s writing career.”
Judged only by the virtues of the comprehensiveness and thoroughness of Grissom’s bibliographical descriptions, his work is without question the new standard for Hemingway scholars.
-Albert J. DeFazio III, The Hemingway Review
The American Antiquarian Society, 1812-2012: A Bicentennial History by Philip F. Gura
Philip F. Gura’s splendidly written bicentennial history is focused on an institution that has evaded fossilization. He describes the Society’s “evolution from a small library and cabinet museum started by local businessmen and scholars to an internationally renowned library and scholarly center”.
Gura’s chapters are full of such fascinating detail. They tell the tale of how, step by step, a provincial library became a mecca for scholars from all over the world.
William Baker, Times Literary Supplement
Beautiful Bookbindings: A Thousand Years of the Bookbinder’s Art by P. J. M. Marks
The eclectic, sensitive choice of materials makes this collection more interesting than similar works. The chapter content consists largely of illustrations of the bindings in full, and close-up. By Elizabeth Hunter, these photographs are stunning and evocative, encouraging the reader to pore over them for hours.
The work is beautifully printed on quality paper and solidly bound with a lovely dust jacket.
This is a worthy volume for study by scholars and students, and for the coffee tables of discerning laymen.
-G. E. Gorman, Australian Library Journal
This is the kind of book that even non-bibliophiles will look at and go: Wow. You can imagine then how much more of a delight it is to the connoisseur of the printed book, the lover of fine bindings.
This sumptuously illustrated book on bookbinding is also informed by fine scholarship. Most books on the subject of bookbinding tend to be either pretty pictures without the scholarship or scholarship (usually technical) without the nice pictures. By intelligently and deeply drawing from both, Beautiful Bookbindings becomes not just the most exciting, but also the most illuminating, introduction to the art and craft of fine bindings.
-Pradeep Sebastian, The Hindu
I Classici is a superb reference to be consulted repeatedly for its pithy insights.
Bibliophiles with knowledge of Italian undoubtedly will take delight in perusing this colossal accomplishment and identifying their own favorites.
-Madison U. Sowell, SHARP News
The Kelmscott Chaucer: A Census by William S. Peterson and Sylvia Holton Peterson
This meticulously documented and handsomely designed volume obviously belongs in most of the research libraries of the world concerned with fine printing, but it should be held more broadly than just in institutions whose acquisitions are guided by that subject interest.
They have created a fascinating survey of the major collectors of the period and the extended provenance of these volumes.
This is a social history, anecdotal and familiar, of seven generations of a grand publishing house.
There are good reasons for adding the volume to a personal or institutional library, beginning with the fact that a well-designed and well-made book is always worth holding in one’s hands.
-Melvyn New, The Scriblerian
Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly: Book Collecting in a Golden Age by Joel Silver
It is another example of the fine printing and book design for which the Oak Knoll Press has a now well-established reputation. A word of praise for the outstanding dustcover with its excellent photos of Rosenbach and Lilly is appropriate.
Joel Silver writes in an engaging, readable style addressed to the ordinary reader. The result is pleasing in all respects and makes a gift to delight any booklover.
-R. L. Cope, Australian Library Journal
Historical Scripts from Classical Times to the Renaissance by Stan Knight
Historical Scripts is an essential reference book for anyone sincerely fascinated by the history of Western letters.
-Paul Shaw, Codex
Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly: Book Collecting in a Golden Age by Joel Silver was recently reviewed by Pradeep Sebastian in The Hindu Literary Review. Providing a brief summary of the book, Sebastian also explains why this book is thrilling for any bibliophile to read.
I think the enjoyment comes from the minutiae of book transactions that Silver knowledgably and engagingly describes in evocative prose: first reading about an individual copy in a catalogue or a bookseller’s description, the suspended-waiting while you decide, and then the rush from deciding you definitely want it no matter the cost, making the purchase, and finally getting the book in the mail or having the book dealer hand it to you.
The ritual is repeated with each new buy and the bibliographical pleasure derived is not from just the buyer-collector’s emotion but the emotion of the bookseller who acquires the hard-to-acquire copy, describes the book, prices it and then offers it to an individual collector who he knows might want it. Seldom have rare book transactions been written about with as much literary flair, controlled style, storyteller’s skill and scholarly passion.
This past Saturday, The Bookshop in Old New Castle hosted a mini-book fair sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the ABAA. Thirteen booksellers participated in the fair, and author Joel Silver signed copies of his new publication Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly. The day was very successful, and we were excited to see those involved enjoying the opportunity to sell and purchase books. One participating bookseller, George Krzyminski from Certain Books, had wonderful words to say about the event:
“Speaking only for myself, I did very well, in buying as well as selling – better than some all-day or all weekend events I’ve exhibited at in the recent past. I met at least 3 new customers, quoted them some other material afterwards and met several dealers with which I’d had no previous contact – all to the good. I believe others at the show had similar experiences. We also had the opportunity to purchase & have Joel Silver sign his newest book, “Dr. Rosenbach & Mr. Lilly.” And of course, we all dipped into shopping the shelves at Oak Knoll the entire time…
I repeat Penny’s compliments and thanks to Bob & Millie & Rob Fleck and their staff, to all the other Bookshop in Old New Castle dealers – Bordentown, Kelmscott, Between the Covers- for their willingness to ‘share the space’ and custom with us all – and to all the dealers and their partners and staff that showed up for the workshop & show, who fully participated and had a good, profitably-spent time!”
Thank you, George for your kind words. We are happy you had such a great experience, and we hope all the rest of the booksellers had a great time as well! We look forward to participating in other similar events in the future.
Click here to view more pictures on facebook.
Come out to The Bookshop in Old New Castle this Saturday between 10am and 2pm to check out the mini-book fair and sale held by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the ABAA. With thirteen booksellers showcasing their finest materials, you are sure to find some excellent books, all which will be available for purchase.
The event will also feature a book signing by Joel Silver of his new publication, Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly: Book Collecting in a Golden Age. This book is a microcosm of a great age of book collecting, in which choices were made by booksellers and collectors alike that shaped the contents of some of the greatest research libraries of today.
In addition to Oak Knoll, Antipodean Books, Between the Covers Rare Books, Black Swan Books, Brian Cassidy Bookseller, Certain Books, Hammer Mountain Book Hall, The Kelmscott Bookshop, Bruce McKittrick Rare Books, the Old Bookshop of Bordentown, Willis Monie Books, Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts, and Wellread Books will be participating in the fair.
Oak Knoll Books will be open all day Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
Click here for more information.
One of the best things about working for a small company like Oak Knoll is the opportunity to do a little bit of everything (also see Rob’s post on photography!). In addition to the day-to-day tasks involved with my job as publishing director, like drafting contracts, checking proofs, and correspondence with authors, editors, and designers, I occasionally have the chance to try my hand at some design work. This summer in particular, I’ve been able to get my creative juices flowing by designing dust jackets for two of our upcoming titles, Arthur Miller: A Descriptive Bibliography and Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly.
At Oak Knoll, every project is different in terms of schedule, budget, and project logistics. Sometimes our authors design their own jackets, sometimes we hire freelance designers who do the book and jacket design, and sometimes we have the privilege of doing it ourselves, in house. While I have no formal training in graphic design, I’ve picked up a lot of tips during my time at Oak Knoll as I’ve reviewed and imitated the work of more experienced designers. The two jackets below were a lot of fun for me to work on. Let me know what you think!
- Laura Williams, Publishing Director