Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Lost Books of Jane Austen by Janine Barchas

Happy Thursday, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC tour for Janine Barchas's beautiful release, The Lost Books of Jane Austen.

So this is not quite the book you might think. This isn't a collection of unpublished Austen works, aka Lost Books of Jane Austen. Instead, this is a (not a true pictorial history, but verging on one) history of literal lost books—lost editions of Jane Austen's work.

From the author's preface, "In the latter half of the nineteenth century, cheap and shoddy versions of Jane Austen's novels performed the heavy lifting of bringing her work and reputation before the general public...Few of these hard-lived books survive.  Yet such scrappy versions of her novels made a substantial difference to Austen's early readership. These were the books bought and read by ordinary people...These are the lost books of Jane Austen."

Cover art, typography, even stories behind the ownership of some of the surviving editions, are all a part of this fascinating book. I especially love the look at how evolving cover treatments affected the readership of Austen's classics. Perceptions of her work and who the actual targeted audience is has basically been altered by marketing. Which is not uncommon or surprising at all, but makes for truly compelling reading here.

The Lost Books of Jane Austen is a really wonderful find. And it's released at the most absolutely perfect time—what better to buy the Janeite or the serious bibliophile in your life than an absolutely gorgeous coffee table history of her books?!

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

Purchase Links: Johns Hopkins University Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


1 comment:

Sara Strand said...

I love learning why aspects like the cover and typography are chosen. I didn't realize until my mid-20's how much times goes into deciding the typography alone. Absolutely fascinating. Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours