Constable’s Miscellany

aka/ Constable’s Miscellany of Original and Selected Publications in the Various Departments of Literature, Science, & the Arts
aka: Constable’s Miscellany of Original and Selected Publications

Constable and Company, Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1928-1939
Size: 4.5″ x 7″

Constable and Co. was founded in 1795 and were the publisher of Sir Walter Scott and Stoker’s Dracula. Constable’s Miscellany of Original and Selected Publications in the Various Departments of Literature, Science, & the Arts was an early serial publication with a complicated history due to bankruptcy and the shifting of publishers. The series initiated a flurry of inexpensive reprints in the 1820s and is in some ways an important precursor to all reprint series. The initial run of the series was from ca. 1825-1834. A version of the series was revived in the mid 1850s, the early 1880s, and, finally, in 1928 for about a decade, from which the books here are representative.

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Titles in the revived Constable’s Miscellany from 1928 to about 1933 had a commonly designed jacket printed in different colors with an overprint of the title and author in a small box on the front of the jacket. The series name is at the top of the jacket, and on the dust jacket flap with the series number for the title. In this case, Godwin’s Memoirs of Mary Wollstonecraft (first printed in series, 1928). Price, on the jacket flap, is 3/6.

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The rear of the jacket advertises the first 12 titles in the revived series. The back jacket flap is blank.

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Bindings are cloth with no decoration on the front of the book. The spine mimics the decoration on the jacket. The series name is on the book spine.

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Facing the title page is an advertisement for additional titles in the series. The title page expand on the name of the series to include part of the older, longer series name.

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Copyright pages include publication data, in this case first printing in the series in 1928.

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Around 1934 jackets are redesigned with images or other artwork unique to each title. This copy of Mansfield’s The Doves’ Nest is a 1934 reprint (first in the series, 1929). An expanded list of titles in the series is on the back of the jacket. The binding and book remain unchanged from the earlier design.

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A catalog from a 1928 title indicates press reactions to the revived series:

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A list of titles categorizes the series in to Anthologies, Fiction, Philosophy, Politics & Sociology…

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…Literature & Essays, and Revival Reprints (reprints of books long out of print).

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Advert from The Times (London, England), Friday, Mar 07, 1930; pg. 10