[ModLib] Lord Jim Mystery

Roger Lathbury lathbury at gmu.edu
Sun Apr 5 20:59:32 EDT 2009

Dear John Peterson:

At the risk of butting in like a fool amongst experts--I am not one of you cognoscenti on dust jackets and states of dust jackets and printings and have been reading the Modern Library group e-mails with a sense of knowing zilch--I have four points to make, however tentatively, on this _Wuthering Heights_ / _Lord Jim_ mystery:

1. One thing to do as a stop gap for your new, good condition _Lord Jim_ is to make a slightly enlarged color xerox of the dust jacket to fit the good conditioned book.

2. Another thing to do is to put a Brodart cover on the short dust jacket leaving 1/8" at the bottom and 1/8" at the top. It won't be too noticeable and will fix the problem if you can find a way to keep the dust jacket centered appropriately in the mylar sleeve.

3. As an habitué of junk shops and antique shops, I know that many times old books are thought of generically. One jacket is thrown on another if it fits. It reminds me of an old family joke: "We gave her a book for Christmas, but unfortunately she already had a book." Because your dust jacket is in good repair but the _Wuthering Heights_ was in bad shape, it is unlikely that it was a publisher's error, for had the two been married, the jacket would have suffered more than the book, and that is not the case.

4. The plates used to print some later editions of _Lord Jim_ were rented from a set of plates (electrotyped) Doubleday made for a uniform edition of Conrad's work. Those plates were a bit taller than the plates used to print the original edition of _Lord Jim,_ which might have been used for an earlier Modern Library printing of this novel. I can't say without seeing the original _Lord Jim_ that was presumably shorter than the one you just bought whether such was the case.


Roger Lathbury
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