The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editions of important works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torch-bearer created by Lucian Bernhard in and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inaugurating a new program of selecting titles.
The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices. In shaping its stories, he developed that mastery of naturalistic detail and symbolic design which is the hallmark of his mature fiction. Membership Benefits. Gift cards can be used online or in-store. Popular Fiction.
Circe Paperback. By Madeline Miller. Published: Back Bay Books - April 14th, By Ann Patchett. By Ta-Nehisi Coates. Published: One World - September 24th, Red at the Bone: A Novel Hardcover. By Jacqueline Woodson. Published: Riverhead Books - September 17th, By Tracy Chevalier. By Kevin Barry. Published: Doubleday - September 17th, A Tall History of Sugar Hardcover. By Curdella Forbes. Published: Akashic Books - October 1st, The earliest bindings were imitation leather Croftleather ; in this became flexible boards covered with balloon cloth, and in linen-covered hard boards.
This was no cheap throw-away series borrowing title-pages, fly sheets, and everything else except profits from former publishers; these were real books.
- Classics | Strand Books?
- Dominated by the Librarian (Romantic male submission erotica) - The Complete Series (Part #1-6)?
- The Wish House and Other Stories.
- Cash to Spare: A Simple Guide for Anyone (students, stay-at-home-moms, people between jobs, senior citizens, people who need a bit more money) Willing to Work.;
- Shop with confidence;
- HPL Bibliography.
- La bru et le poisson pilote (French Edition).
The earliest dust jackets were typographic. In the s new titles began to be issued in pictorial jackets, and from then on jacket design became an increasingly important marketing device. Many titles show a delightful sequence of jackets demonstrating the changing styles in advertising design from art deco to the most recent. The sequence of books in the early Modern Library also makes up a record of the evolution of printing styles in the publishing of an extensive series.
The Modern Library was Boni and Liveright's first major publishing venture, and it is tempting to see in the bewildering variety and combination of printing and binding styles from to , a record of education on the job. No less than five major styles of title-page combine with two types of endpapers and three bindings in nine so-far-discovered combinations.
- Fatal Freedom: The Ethics and Politics of Suicide.
- Search form.
- Best Friends for Frances;
- Texts of Choice: The Books of the Modern Library!
Eight early titles have been found each showing four of these combinations by itself. Two more minor one unique title-page styles create two additional combinations. Does any title come in all of these styles? Good hunting. The Cerf and Klopfer years from to were more orderly. Nonetheless, three types of binding material, seven styles of lettering and decoration variously applied to those bindings, three endpaper designs, two regular, and a large and unknown number of individually designed post title-pages give ample scope for the enthusiast.
The collector of an individual major author, a Flaubert or Butler for example, will find the Modern Library rewarding.
For Love of Books: William Faulkner | News from the San Diego Becks
These are admittedly minor additions to the bibliographies of these authors, but what dealer will gainsay the specialist? Although primarily a reprint series, the Modern Library boasts a number of true first editions, as well as several First Modern Library Editions FMLE being the first appearance of the text as the author wished it. Three notable examples follow.
Rockwell Kent. From "A Second Preface," p. From "A Very Personal Explanation," p[viii]:. Jerzy Kozinsky. The following appears on p[ii]:. In addition, many of the collections and anthologies listed in the catalogue under Miscellaneous were original with the Modern Library.
Some of these anthologies were prepared by authors interesting in their own right, such as Conrad Aiken and W. Many Modern Library books had introductory material written specially for the Modern Library by prominent critics and scholars; the following had special Modern Library introductions written by the author:. In writing these introductions, several authors mention their pleasure at having their work included in the Modern Library.
For instance, Sherwood Anderson:. And in the series even received the slightly condescending praise of A. Edward Newton:. He nonetheless apparently did accept the smaller royalty. Four of the most popular titles were issued in clearly identified new Modern Library editions. From the copyright page:. Many other titles were issued in new or revised editions but carry no such identifying citation. Relative Scarcity An attempt to establish the current relative scarcity or availability of the various titles may be in order.
Estimating scarcity is always a risky business.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, First Edition
If a title has been seen often, it is not too scarce; if it has not been seen very often, all that can be said is that it may have been looked for in the wrong places. On the basis of visiting a fair number of mostly New England and middle Atlantic bookstores and libraries, the following remarks are hazarded; other localities may yield different results. The number of years a title remained in the Modern Library catalogue may possibly be an indication of the number of copies issued, but it is often a very poor measure of the frequency with which that title now appears in used book stores.
Some titles seem to appear on the market out of all proportion to their probable sales. As for the first issue of the original 12 titles, the Ibsen, France, and Schopenhauer seem to be the most common; the Wilde, Stevenson, and Wells the scarcest; the other six fall somewhere between. Original dust jackets for any of these are, of course, very rarely seen.
The availability of a title, especially as an FMLE, does not depend on its age in any obvious manner. Asking prices for Modern Library titles at present seem to be mostly a matter of dealer whim. All titles have gotten more difficult to find over the past five or so years, but whether this will lead to a corresponding significant increase in price is not clear. Scarcity vs. Price It is often imagined that because the price of most items decreases as their supply increases the converse is also true, that the scarcity of an item will guarantee a high price. This can only be true if the item is in demand.
The Modern Library series clearly illustrates this. Roberts , to pick an easy half-dozen.
These are not especially common items, yet they are never offered for sale at any particular premium. Scarcity in and of itself does not promote value.
Because of the Modern Library's special niche in American publishing history, its content is as important as its form. Taken as a whole, the series is an important record of our nation's changing literary values and tastes from the first World War through the Vietnam experience. Even the least expensive and easiest to assemble collection of titles constitutes an important reference library on mid-2Oth-century American literary sociology.
It is humbling to consider the literary range of the Modern Library; perhaps the comparison is unfair, but in breadth it certainly exceeds Charles W. Lawrence and Margaret Mead, and the immense scope of the Modern Library becomes evident. For both collector and dealer, assembling a set of the works of a major author or school of authors is a commonplace collecting objective, an objective which grows ever more difficult and expensive as the number of items available for sale or purchase becomes fewer and fewer. The important authors have replaced the major ones as public and private collecting steadily inflates the market; in its turn important will no doubt yield to seminal or some other euphemism for the minor.
Collecting the imprints of important printers or publishers from Canton to Aline, to Ticknor and Fields, to Stone and Kimble has also always been considered a legitimate enterprise. The acquisition of an extensive publisher's series is certainly as worthy a goal for the collector who wishes to document the literate past, or printing history, or public taste and who wishes to exercise intelligence, taste, and care in the process.
Texts of Choice: The Books of the Modern Library
In part, this practical consideration is one reason why the Modern Library provides an ideal and almost inexhaustible collecting challenge. Collecting these inexpensive and in some respects almost ubiquitous volumes requires knowledge, patience, and persistence though not especially deep pockets.
The Modern Library collection resembles a mosaic; the significance of the whole is indeed much different from that of its individual parts; and the value of the individual volumes are much greater in the company of their fellows. In comparison to its size there are few "high spots.