Eclectic Library

T. Werner Laurie Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1905-1931
Size: 4.35″ x 6.75″

Thomas Werner Laurie was small London publisher known for some of his more avant-garde authors, including Yeats, Wilde, and Moore. Along with those luminaries, Laurie also published the Eclectic Library series which was quite eclectic – literary classics (Hawthorne), back-catalog titles (such as Selma Lagerlöf, below), a title on the history of engraving, a compendium of censored books and operas, and so on. There seems to be an earlier (1905-1920) and later (1928-1931) redesigned version of the series.

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The Eclectic Library was first announced in spring of 1905, here in The Publishers Weekly (vol. 67, April 22, 1905, p. 1158):

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The copy of Selma Lagerlof’s The General’s Ring is a 2nd printing from 1930 (and was first issued in 1928). Dust jackets from this era of the series are common to the series, with a decorative border and somewhat odd display typography used for the author and title. The series is indicated at the top of the jacket front. The price is the only thing printed on the front jacket flap.

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The rear of the jacket includes a list of other titles by Lagerlöf, not all in the Eclectic Library series.

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Red cloth binding with black typography and a colophon, most likely of the front of the Publisher’s building in London. Unlike the jacket, the series name is included at the base of the spine.

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The half-title page also includes the publisher’s colophon.

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Facing the title page is a list of Lagerlöf novels, along with three titles in the Eclectic Library. This short list indicates that the series was redesigned and reissued (with The General’s Ring as serial #1) in 1928. Titles include:

#1: Selma Lagerlöf, The General’s Ring (1928)
#2: Edgar Middleton, Banned by the Censor (1928)
#3: Jack London, Before Adam (1928)

Unknown serial numbers:

Selma Lagerlöf, The Queens of Kungahälla (1930)
E.C. Bentley; G.K. Chesterton, Biography for Beginners (1930)
Upton Sinclair & Eugène Brieux, Damaged Goods (1931)

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The copyright page includes the original Swedish title for the book and its translator. Also include are the original and 2nd printing years and printer information.

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An advertisement for the publisher’s Selma Lagerlof titles is inserted at the end of the book.

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