Broadway Library of Eighteenth-Century French Literature

aka/ Broadway Library of XVIII Century Literature

Routledge & Sons (Routledge, Kegan & Paul) (London, UK)
Series dates: 1927-1930
Size: 6″ x 9″

Brentano’s (New York, US)
Series dates: 1927-1928
Size: 6″ x 9″

Books for Libraries Press (Freeport, N.Y)
Series dates: 1971-1972

The Broadway Library of Eighteenth-Century French Literature is certainly in the running for the longest reprint series name. The 19 titles in the series were edited by Richard Aldington (who translated some of the titles) with a general introduction by Sir Edmund Gosse. The series was co-published, beginning in 1927, in the UK by Routledge and Brentano’s in the US. Brentano’s offered the series for two years, publishing the first 13 titles (and announcing, but not publishing 8 more) before handing it off to the Dial Press, who changed the series name to the Bourbon Classics and published an additional 6 titles (those titles not published by Brentano’s), in 1929 and 1930. Routledge published new titles in the series through 1930, reaching a total of 19 titles (and 4 ghost [announced, but not published] titles). Rutledge issued the occasional reprint afterwards (1937, 1960).

A similar series, XVIII Century French Romances, provided translations of 12 titles and was published between 1925 and 1928 by Chapman & Hall in the UK and Robert McBride, Inc. in the U.S.

This copy of Prevost’s Adventures of a Man of Quality was published in 1930 by Routledge in the UK. Dust jackets are common to the series, printed on heavy linen paper in two colors (green and black in this case). The spine includes the series name as well as the price (10/6 net). The series name and title are printed in dark green, the rest of the text in black. The jacket front contains a blurb about the book as well as the title and series name (or part of it) also printed in green. The front jacket flap advertises A Dictionary of European Literature.

The rear of the jacket lists 18 titles in the series, with titles in green ink:

* Dialogues, by Denis Diderot (trans. Frances Birrell). 1927. 10/6 net.
The Sofa, a Moral Tale, by Crebillion fils. (trans. Bonamy Dobrie). 1927. 12/6 net.
Letters of Voltaire and Frederick the Great (trans. Richard Aldington). 1927. 15/- net.
Memoirs of the Bastille, by Latude and Linguet (trans. J. and S.F. Mills Whitham). 1927. 10/6 net.
The Reveries of a Solitary, by Jean Jacques Rousseau (trans. John Gould Fletcher). 1927. 10/6 net.
Private Life of the Duc de Richelieu (trans. F.S. Flint). 1927. 10/6 net.
Short Stories by Crebillion fils, Voisenon and Montesquieu (trans. Mrs. Wilfrid Jackson). 1927. 10/6 net. Reprinted in 1937.
Letters, and Memoirs, by the Prince de Ligne (trans. Leigh Ashton). 1927. 10/6 net.
* Joubert’s Pensees and Letters (trans. H.P. Collins). 1928. 10/6 net.
Memoirs of a Nun (La Religieuse), by Denis Diderot (trans. Frances Birrell). 1928. 10/6 net.
* Memoirs of Madame de Pompadour, by Madame de Hausset (trans. F.S. Flint). 1928. 10/6 net.
* Memoirs of the Duc de Lauzun (trans. C.K. Scott-Moncrieff). 1928. 10/6 net.
** Adventures of Zeloide and other Tales, by Paradis de Moncrif (trans. W. and E. Jackson). 1929. 12/6 net.
** Picture of Paris Before and After the Revolution, by L.S. Mercier (trans. W. and E. Jackson). 1929. 12/6 net. Reprinted in 1970.
** / *** Love Letters of Mlle de Lepinasse To and From the Comte de Guibert (trans. E.H.F. Mills). 1929. 21/- net.
** / *** Memoirs & Correspondence of Madame D’Epinay (trans. E.G. Allingham). 1930. 12/6 net.
** / **** Memoirs of Marmontel (trans. Brigit Patmore). 1930. 15/- net.
** / **** Adventures of a Man of Quality, by the Abbe Prevost (trans. Mysie Robertson). 1930. 10/6 net.

One title was published in 1927 but is absent from the lists on the jacket and in the catalog in the rear of the book:

* Letters of Madame de Sévigné by Marie de Rabutin-Chantal Sévigné (translated by Richard Aldington). 1927.

Additional titles listed under “Volumes in Preparation” in the catalog in the rear of the book. All seem to be ghost titles (announced, but never published):

# Letters of Voltaire and Madame du Defland (trans. Richard Aldington)
#* Memoirs of Madame de Staal-Delaunay (trans. Raymond Mortimer)
# The September Massacres of 1792 (trans. Ralph Partridge)
# Man the Machine and Other Philosophical Pieces, by Julien de la Mettrie (trans. Harold Monro).

* included in the Brentano’s (US) edition of the series (1927-1928)
** included in the Dial Press Bourbon Classics edition of the series (1929-1930)
** listed as “Nearly Ready” in the catalog in the rear of the Prevost book
*** listed under “Volumes in Preparation” in the catalog in the rear of the Prevost book
# ghost (announced, but unpublished) title

Given this accounting, the Routledge UK series included a total of 19 titles published from 1927 to 1930. 4 additional titles were announced but not published.

Solid cloth bindings have gold typography on the spine. The Routledge (UK) titles in the series were consistently bound in green cloth.

The endpapers are the same heavy grey linen paper used for the dust jackets:

The two-color (blue and black) half-title page includes the series name:

A catalog of the first 18 titles is printed, again in two colors, on the verso of the half title page. The same titles are included, but with slight variations in the titles:

An illustration from the book faces the title page. The title page is printed in two colors and includes the series name.

The copyright page includes the date of initial publication (1930, in this case) and an indication of the book being printed in Great Britain by Purnell and Sons. The contents are printed in two colors:

An index of illustrations, in two colors, follows the contents:

The first page of text.

A rather elaborate catalog for the series follows the bibliography for the book. It is printed in two colors, again blue and black like the rest of the book (with the jackets printed in green and black). The catalog begins with a prospectus for the series and a quote from a review.

A full page of extracts from reviews of the series faces the first page of series titles, each including the title, author, translator, price and a quote or two from reviews of the specific title. 14 titles are included in this catalog as available. Another 2 are announced as “Nearly Ready.” 7 are announced as “in preparation.” This includes a total of 23 titles, of which 19 were eventually published.


The jackets for Brentano’s version of the Broadway Library were somewhat different from the UK Routledge series. This copy of the Letters and Memoirs of the Prince De Ligne was published in 1927. The jackets were common to the series, heavy on text describing the book. The price of $4 is included on the jacket spine. The front of the jacket includes a relatively lengthy description of the book. Additional Brentano’s biography titles are listed, with prices, on the front jacket flap.

The rear of the jacket provides a prospectus for the series and lists Spring 1927 and Fall 1927 titles:

Spring 1927 titles:
Letters of Voltaire & Frederick the Great (translated by Richard Aldington)
Dialogues by Denis Diderot (translated by Francis Birrell)
The Sofa, A Moral Tale by Crebillon Fils (Translated by Bonamy Dobree)

Fall 1927 titles:
The Private Life of the Duc de Richelieu (translated by F.S. Flint)
Memoirs of the Bastille by Latude and Linguet (translated by J.M. Witham)
Memoirs of Madam de Staal-Delaunay (translated by Raymond Mortimer) (this is a ghost title, never published)

A catalog after the half title (see below) lists 8 additional titles, and 7 “ghost” titles in the Brentano’s series (no evidence Brentano’s issued these titles):

Additional 1927 titles:
Memoirs of the Prince de Ligne (translated by Leigh Ashton)
Reveries of a Solitary by J.J. Rousseau (translated by John Gould Fletcher)
Short Stories by Crebillon Fils, Abbe de Voisenon, and Montesquieu (translated by Wilfrid Jackson)

1928 titles:
Letters of Madame de Sévigné by Marie de Rabutin-Chantal Sévigné (translated by Richard Aldington)
Memoirs of Madam de Pompadour by her waiting woman, Madam du Hausset (translated by F.S. Flint)
Memoirs of the Duc de Lauzun (translated by C.K. Scott-Moncrieff)
The Nun by Denis Diderot (translated by Francis Birrell)
Works of Joubert (translated by H.P. Collins)

Ghost titles (no entries on WorldCat):
Letters of Voltaire and Madame du Deffand (translated by Richard Aldington)
Pictures of Zeloide by Paradis de Moncrif (translated by C.K. Scott-Moncrieff)
Pictures of Paris by Louis Mercier (translated by Wilfrid Jackson)
Memoirs of Madam D’Epinay (translated by E.G. Allingham)
Memoirs of Marmontel (translated by Brigit Patmore)
Memoirs of Mlle. de Lespinasse (translated by E.H.F. Mills)
The September Massacres of 1792 (translated by Ralph Partridge)

Given this accounting, the Brentano’s series published 13 titles and announced (but did not publish) 8 titles. Some of the titles varied in name from the UK versions. The remaining titles, issued by Routledge in the UK, were published by the Dial Press as the Bourbon Library.

The rear jacket flap lauds the quality publications of Brentano’s and provides a form to mail in if one wants to receive notices of future publications.

The books are quarter bound in cloth and a stiff colored cardboard. The decorated titles from the jacket are printed on the book spine and front. The series colophon is debossed in the lower right corner. The series name is not included on the book cover.

The two color half title page includes the series name.

Also in two colors is a catalog of titles in the series. Seven of the titles don’t seem to have been published by Brentano’s.

A portrait of the rather dour-faced Prince faces the nicely designed two color title page. Brentano’s is the imprint.

The copyright page includes a statement “First published in 1927.” The book was printed in the UK by Billing and Sons, Ltd. Most likely, Routledge printed the books for Brentano’s in England, along with their version of the series.


Books for Libraries Press (a reprint firm) issued at least three titles from the series in 1971-1972.