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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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Charles Cooke's Pocket Library

Charles Cooke's Pocket Library

Chapter:
(p.227) 8. Charles Cooke's Pocket Library
Source:
The Most Disreputable Trade
Author(s):

Thomas F. Bonnell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532209.003.0009

This chapter discusses Charles Cooke and his idea of a pocket library. The chapter argues that Cooke's concept combines Bell's idea of a national library and Wenman's insight for inexpensive books. The chapter explains Cooke's ‘important object of easy purchase’ and his advertising apparatus. Cooke's advertisement stresses that his books were better illustrated and printed on better paper than any works of the poets at three times the price. Cooke positioned himself in the market by coupling his undeniable compromises in page layout with a generous schedule of ‘embellishments’. Cooke launched his series with poets whose pictures, scenery, and imagery were more amenable to constructions of British nationalism and evocative of a bardic interplay with landscape. The figure of the bard served as a vehicle for bringing together a community as wide as Cooke's network of distribution. Features of portability and ornamental potential were consistent promotional themes of Cooke's editions.

Keywords:   portability, ornamental potential, Cooke's editions, pocket library, Charles Cooke, easy purchase, advertisement, bardic interplay, embellishments

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