Maximum: 15 students
Venue: Senate House

The intention of the course is to explore in a very broad way the huge contemporary market in literary first editions of relatively ‘modern’ vintage – the era commencing approximately from the demise of the three-volume novel (produced in the main for libraries rather than individuals) in the 1890s. There will be discussion of the problems and problematic nature of this market, but the course will range across and touch upon a number of different facets – from an overview and delineation of the origins of this phase of collecting and academic interest, to an examination of its current workings in the early twenty-first century. It is intended to provide a thorough grounding and background for librarians, academics, collectors, booksellers and others, who (either professionally or privately) need to engage with this market, and require a more detailed insight into the nuances and subtleties of the field.

Key Texts

Barnard, Megan – ed. :  Collecting the Imagination : The First Fifty Years of the Ransom Center. Austin, 2007
Carter, John : Taste & Technique in Book-Collecting. 2nd edn. London, 1970
Carter, John : ABC for Book Collectors. 8th edn. with corrections. ed. Nicolas Barker. London, 2006
Carter, John : Books and Book Collectors. London, 1956
Cave, Roderick : The Private Press. 2nd edn. New York & London, 1983
Franklin, Colin : Private Presses. 2nd edn. Aldershot, 1991
Gekoski, Rick : ‘Tolkien’s Gown’ & Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books. London, 2004
Lindsey, Robert : A Gathering of Saints : A True Story of Mormon Money, Murder and Deceit. New York, 1988.
Heller, Steven & Chwast, Seymour : Jackets Required : An Illustrated History of American Book Jacket Design, 1920-1950.  San Francisco, 1995
McLean, Ruari : Modern Book Design. London, 1958
Powers, Alan :  Front Cover : Great Book Jacket and Cover Design. London, 2001
Rendell, Kenneth W. : Forging History : The Detection of Fake Letters & Documents. Norman, 1994
Rota, Anthony : Apart from the Text. Pinner, 1998
Rota, Anthony : Books in the Blood : Memoirs of a Fourth Generation Bookseller. Pinner, 2002
Wilson, Robert A. : Modern Book Collecting. New York, 1980
Zempel, Edward N. & Verkler, Linda A. : First Editions : A Guide to Identification,Statements of Selected North American, British Commonwealth, and Irish Publishers on their Methods of Designating First Editions. 4th edn. Peoria, 2001