[ModLib] Buckram Modern Library Ediitons

Roger Lathbury lathbury at gmu.edu
Tue Jun 22 20:55:08 EDT 2010

Dear Experts:

I'm a listening member of this group. I love books, am a publisher myself (Orchises Press), a college professor, and a reader. To brag: I do have a nice _Gatsby_ first in dust jacket in the Modern Library, as well as a signed and annotated (by Fitzgerald himself!) _Gatsby_ (in rust colored balloon cloth), but I'm not centered on, as you folks are, the Modern Library itself. I did make one general post earlier, on the letterpress plates used to print Modern Library volumes.

Anyone who reads and appreciates the purveying of culture in America must come to terms with this series. Therefore, without collecting them, I have a number of volumes, including a rather nice, if not textually sophisticated or aware, _Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley_ (ed. Carlos Baker), in a brown buckram binding, and, as of last Thursday, thanks to 25¢ and a library sale, a buckram _Bernard Shaw's Plays_ (_Saint Joan, Major Barbara,_ and _Androcles and the Lion_). I bought it for the last two, not otherwise in my library. It didn't have a dust wrapper.

My questions are about the buckram versions of the Modern Library. Buckram is a lovely cloth. _Bernard Shaw's Plays_ looks like C grade rather than the F grade buckram I bought for my one venture into this cloth at my publishing company. The Shelley, however, seems of a higher grade--D. Are the earlier versions of buckram tighter weave than the later?

Also, I notice that _Bernard Shaw's Plays_ has a continuous endpaper whereas the Shelley is more elaborately and strongly produced, with a separated endsheet. The design of _Bernard Shaw's Plays_ is also later, of course. It still seems like a sturdy volume, but are all the later ones one endpaper, whereas the earlier ones separated?

Finally, was the grade of paper used for buckram volumes higher than that for the regular Modern Library? I note that _Bernard Shaw's Plays_ has a miscut signature--perhaps the result of a higher grade sheet?

Have I asked this clearly?

Grateful for any information.

With thanks.


Roger Lathbury

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