Continuing our theme today of bookcovers I wanted to share photos of two books I ordered recently after I saw them on "Handsome Books." I feel duty bound to give them a plug because after looking at everything on their site, I ordered my copies from cheaper sources. Well, the real prize for me is this one, The Spell of England (The Page Company, Boston, 1912) and the "Handsome Books" copy had been sold anyway.
This arrived while I was off on my recent trip and I was very happy to find it wating upon my return. Needless to say, sucker for Romantic England that I am, I love the cover, and the spine too, though it is a little faded. The Handsome Books website has a nice bit of information about this "Spell of" series of books, aimed at American tourists in the early part of the 20th century, and lots of wonderful images of these beautiful covers.
I just started reading this and it's interesting in a sociological sort of way. The author,one Julia deW. Addison, begins by recounting a discussion she had with a friend about whether England had any "spell" to speak of. England was too practical for spells, was the main point of contention. The author concluded the argument this way:
"If I write about the spell of England will you promise to read it?"
"Yes, I will see what I can make of it," answered my matter-of-fact friend.
"Very well, it is a bargain. And if you don't make anything out of it either you or I will be to blame. It will not be England."
I liked that. There's a lovely fold out map just inside the cover that shows the main cities of England and the surrounding bodies of water. No roads or anything so practical. Anyway, it is charming object and that was the reason I wanted to have it and now I do. Total cost was about $15.00, delivered. Very fair, although I see it has been previously price marked at $3.75. Oh well.
The other book, In the Days of Giants by Abbie Farwell Brown (Boston 1902) was a bargain find. My copy does not look so glamorous as the one on Handsome Books - what looks like an embossed cover and gilding on the Handsome Books site looks like yellowish ink on my cover. This is what happens when you go trawling for bargains. (There was no picture on the abe.com listing from whence it came). Still, it is a very nice book, I paid about $12.00 for it and I think that was just fine. It has wonderful illustrations of Norse giants by "E. Boyd Smith." This is the kind of thing that inspired Tolkein and maybe I'll find some inspiration too.