[ModLib] Plates and Paper

pecksgrove at aol.com pecksgrove at aol.com
Fri Mar 5 09:54:26 EST 2010

now this is interesting

-----Original Message-----
From: Roger Lathbury <lathbury at gmu.edu>
To: aa3401 at wayne.edu; For collectors of Modern Library books <modlib at thuban.owu.edu>
Sent: Thu, Feb 25, 2010 1:01 pm
Subject: [ModLib] Plates and Paper

In line with Barry's remarks about printing plates in _Theory of the Leisure 
lass,__ I thought it might interest this group--whose posts I read regularly 
ut who are more expert about many details than I ever will be--that many Modern 
ibrary titles are printed from plates from the first or early printings and can 
ave bibliographical interest.
I teach English, among other activities, and sometimes use Modern Library texts 
o teach from. They provide a base text that I can annotate for bibliographical 
nd scholarly reasons. I guess I commit the sin of writing in the books. One 
ives only once, though, and I am more of a reader than a collector.
The most remarkable such Modern Library edition I have is what looks to me to be 
 1984 or so Modern Library edition of _Sister Carrie_ printed letterpress from 
he much battered 1900 plates used for the first Doubleday edition. The very 
ear and distortions seem proof of the enduring qualities of _Sister Carrie._ 
ome pages have been reset, and the original first edition has a passage that 
reiser plagiarized and was consequently changed in the second (B. Dodge 1907) 
rinting, but it's pleasant to work from this hard-to-read but vintage setting 
f the novel. It's fun to compare these pages with a mid 1920's Boni and 
iveright _Sister Carrie,_ to trace the wear on the plates. Dreiser, as you may 
now, bought them from Doubleday. He owned them for most all of his life.
_Winesburg, Ohio_ and _The Catcher in the Rye_ and _The Great Gatsby_ and _The 
un Also Rises_ and _A Farewell to Arms_ and _The Naked and the Dead_ plus a 
ost other titles use original plates and are all printed letterpress (I think 
The Naked and the Dead_ is offset--and done from a later 1948 Rinehart printing 
s p. 33 has been reset).
Offset printing requires a harder surface sheet and is harder to make notes on 
han letterpress paper. It seems less authentic to me, in some way. (Running my 
wn small press, I notice these details).

oger Lathbury

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