Muses’ Library

Lawrence & Bullen (London, UK)
Series dates: 1891-1900

Charles Scribner’s Sons (New York, US)
Series dates: 1891-1900

Routledge & Sons (Routledge, Kegan & Paul) (London, UK)
Series dates: 1904-1940; 1950-1980
Size: 4.25″ x 6.75″

E.P. Dutton (New York, US)
Series dates: 1904-1940

Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, US)
Series dates: 1950-1971
Size: 4.25″ x 6.75″

muses_1950s_routledge_logoThe Muses’ Library of poetry was initially issued by London publisher Lawrence & Bullen in 1891. The series was noted for it’s high quality editing and book design and production. Scribner’s Sons published the series in the US beginning the same year. Lawrence & Bullen folded in 1900 and the series ceased active publication. Routledge revived the series in 1904 and with Dutton in the US began publishing the old titles as well as new titles until the late 1930s. A.H. Bullen continued to be listed as editor of the series. An advertisement by Dutton for its Muses Library appeared in 1905, listing available titles:

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US Dutton Muses Library advertisement from The Independent, (Oct 19, 1905)

 

muses_ad_The_Dial_1908Browne’s Bookstore in Chicago acquired the entire stock of remaining Scribner’s / Lawrence & Bullen Muses’ Library in 1908, and was selling them for half price (.75 cents, see below). Many of the poets were issued in the series in multiple volumes. The advertisement is from the January 16, 1908 issue of The Dial.

 

 

 

 

 

 


After the WW2, around 1950, Routledge reissued the series in newly designed books and jackets, co-published in the U.S. by the Harvard University Press. Series titles were being printed as late as 1980.

The jackets and bindings remained similar throughout the post-war series. Jackets were common to the series with an elaborate design surrounding the series name and book title and author. Routledge is indicated on UK jacket fronts and spines and Harvard University Press on US versions. The title is described on the front jacket flap. The price for this copy of The Poems of Andrew Marvell (1956, first printing 1952) is 12s/6d.

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Additional titles are listed on the jacket back. The rear flap is blank.

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Bindings are blue cloth with silver stamping.

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Blank endpapers, of interest here only for the most inconspicuous bookseller’s stamp ever (bottom, just left of center):

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The half title page:

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A portrait of the author faces the title page:

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Copyright page:

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The Harvard University Press jackets and books are similar in design. This copy of The Collected Poems of Sir Thomas Wyatt is a 1950 first printing in the U.S. The colors used on the jacket vary from title to title. In this case, a few additional titles in the series are advertised on the rear flap of the jacket.

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By 1963 Harvard had issued some of the Muses’ Library in paperback form. Hardcover editions are still available:

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Ad from Poetry, Vol. 103, No. 1/2, 1963