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Book-Jackets: Their History, Form, and Use, by G. Thomas Tanselle

Book-Jackets: Their History, Form, and Use, by G. Thomas Tanselle

Oak Knoll Press announces a  new publication

Book-jackets (or "dust-jackets," as they are often called), have been regularly used in America and some European countries since the early part of the 19th century. Historians of publishing practices, however, have not accorded these detachable coverings with the scrutiny that one would expect for such a noticeable phenomenon. The new book by G. Thomas Tanselle examines dust jackets as resources for biography, bibliography, cultural analysis, and development of graphic design, while surveying their use by publishers and scholars of literature, art and book history.

Richly illustrated, a list of pre-1901 examples of British and American publishers' printed book-jackets is also included.  This list, with 1,888 entries, is the outgrowth of a process the author began in 1969. He has kept a record of every pre-1901 jacket that he came across or learned about. Because surviving jackets from the 19th  century are scarce (most having been thrown away by the original booksellers or purchasers of the books), and because the large majority of those that do survive are known in only a single copy, it is important to have a listing that indicates their whereabouts, or at least the basis for knowing that they exist or once existed.

G. Thomas Tanselle, former vice president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and adjunct professor of English at Columbia University, is president of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia and co-editor of the Northwestern-Newberry Edition of the writings of Herman Melville. He has previously served as president of the Bibliographical Society of America, the Grolier Club, and the Society for Textual Scholarship. His collection of American imprints is in the Beinecke Library at Yale, where his assemblage of 19th century book-jackets will soon be placed as well.

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Published since 23 Nov 2011