1 June

James Baldwin's The Book Lover: A Guide to the Best Reading was published in fifteen editions, 1884-1910. Probably.... Its bibliographic history is hard to come by online, as tends to be so with older books. The version I have access to is certainly the fifteenth; and is supposedly the 1910 (and thus final) edition. It's copyrighted 1902; however, given that only four copyright dates are given, every edition did not bring with it a renewal of the copyright. Indeed, the entries at World Cat suggest that the 1902 version was the thirteenth (thus, the Preface to the Thirteenth Edition still included in the fifteenth) while the fourteenth came in 1904.

The Book Lover is doubly useful for this project. In transcribing Lubbock's 1886 list, it also makes note of several responses to that list, though unfortunately does not note if these responses were among those published in the Pall Mall Gazette. Regardless, those discussed are not germane to this project; one is a list of novels only (by F B Perkins, in the Library Journal, presumably the same U S publication still publishing today); another is the negative response of John Ruskin, who apparently only stated the many books that needed to be excluded from Lubbock's list; and a third—oddly enough—is a list of books the African explorer Henry Stanley claims he took with him on his expedition of 1874-77. We know from the Carnochan article noted in the 18 January post that Ruskin's response was published in the the Pal Mall Gazette, as was a response by Frederick W Farrar [see 27 January post]. Quoted in Baldwin's book, Farrar gives a longer list than what we drew from his Great Books book, but since the latter came later chronologically, and given the informal nature of the Pall Mall response, we're only noting that larger selection here:

"If all the books in the world were in a blaze, the first twelve which I would snatch out of the flames would be, the Bible, Imitatio Christi, Homer, Aeschylus, Thucydides, Tacitus, Virgil, Marcus Aurelius, Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth. Of living authors I would save first the works of Tennyson, Browning, and Ruskin."


More importantly, in two chapters of the book ('On the Choice of Books' and 'Books of Power'), Baldwin gives us his own lists of books; the one found in the former chapter is short, and nearly every entry in it is found among the Books of Power, thus making the creation of a single list easy enough. That list will be posted later in June.