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The Most Disreputable TradePublishing the Classics of English Poetry 1765-1810$
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Thomas F. Bonnell

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532209

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532209.001.0001

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Epilogue: A Library to Every House

Epilogue: A Library to Every House

Chapter:
(p.344) Epilogue: A Library to Every House
Source:
The Most Disreputable Trade
Author(s):

Thomas F. Bonnell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532209.003.0012

This chapter summarizes some of the important contributions of the publishers discussed in the book, and discusses the ventures of John Alden in bringing the ‘Elzevir’ tradition to millions of people. The essential purpose of the Elzevir is to put the classics into a multitude of hands. This line of publishing grew exponentially from the very start of the nineteenth century. While Bell envisaged the idea of bringing ‘a library to every house’, the ‘Elzevir’ remained popular into the 1820s with Sharpe's publications. Aiming to produce ‘a unique cyclopedia of the world's choicest literature’, John Alden of New York published a ‘Cyclopedia of Poetry’ starting in 1882 and began a series called The Elzevir Library in 1883. He proved to be the champion of mass culture by bringing cheap books to millions of readers. The book trade had undergone convulsive change.

Keywords:   Elzevir, Bell, Sharpe, John Alden, cheap books, The Elzevir Library, Cyclopedia of Poetry

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