Marley Was Dead: To Begin With.

3D front cover of A Christmas Carol by Charles DickensAn arresting start to a novel: note especially the strange punctuation, copied exactly from the first edition of 1843.

There are no prizes for identifying the author and the title of this work – though you can win a prize if you visit Cambridge University Press’s ‘winter wonderland’. Every day between now and 20 December, you might win a book, and on 18 December the prizes will be books by/about Charles Dickens.

This is therefore exactly the right moment to foreshadow the publication of our new Cambridge Library Collection series of Fiction and Poetry. Twenty titles will be available in the new year, and (a first for us) will be reissued in hardback and well as paperback. The inevitable star of the show is A Christmas Carol, with, on the cover, John Leech’s haunting image of Marley’s rigid, shackle-bound ghost appearing at Scrooge’s meagre fireside. I had never noticed before that not only is Scrooge’s nightcap standing on end in terror, but the very candle flame has an expression of surprise and apprehension on its face. (As always, we can’t (yet) print the four original colour plates in colour, but you can view them on the book’s web page, by clicking on the ‘Resources’ link.)

All the books are first editions, and all are single-volume works. You may think the choice of titles is idiosyncratic (or just plain crazy), but the selection was partly guided by the subject areas where our non-fiction publishing is notably successful: the Romantics, the Pre-Raphaelites, the Brontës, George Eliot

All the covers can be seen here in their wonderful new livery:
Front covers of the new CLC Fiction and Poetry rangeIf you want to get a sense of what Thackeray or John Buchan saw inside their books when the printer delivered their gratis copies, these books are just what you need!


This entry was posted in Biography, Cambridge, English Men of Letters, Literary Studies, Printing and Publishing History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Marley Was Dead: To Begin With.

  1. Pingback: Christmas Books | Cambridge Library Collection Blog

  2. Faisel K says:

    Hi Caroline, again a wonderful piece. I was not aware that these were first edition reprints. How wonderful; I will have to get these. Oh and do look at the link to “Fiction and Poetry” and Resource link – they seem to be broken

  3. Thanks, Faisel! Almost all our books are reissues of first editions, unless there is a cogent reason for using a later edition, such as major revisions and additions, but we always make this clear in the book’s blurb. I have (I hope) fixed the links…

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