Literary condescension

Sep. 25th, 2017 02:29 pm
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"The vicissitudes of old books furnish a romantic chapter in the history of literature. About the end of the eighteenth century, the library of an old Lincolnshire house was overhauled by someone who weeded out a lot of what he no doubt considered rubbish. These were destroyed, except for a few which were begged by the gardener, who probably wanted them to use as stands for plant-pots, or to give a false air of literary distinction to his cottage."
--- J. Arthur Hill, 'Old Books and their Printers', The Imprint, 17 June 1913, p 407.

This periodical celebrated the beauty of good craft for its own sake as well as for the benefit of the businesses of its readers, but it seems the appreciation of good printing could not be expected from all. (in this case 'The Book of St Albans', which came into the possession of Thomas Grenville a few steps after the gardener, and is now in the British Library.)

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