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Penny Library of Famous Books
Sadlier 3643  
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  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID

  • Title: Penny Library of Famous Books
    Call number: Sadlier 3643
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 177 volumes (19-24 cm (crown-demy 8vo))
    Date: 1896-1899
    Abstract: Series of unabridged versions of classic works of English literature, published weekly--beginning with number 1 published on January 14, 1896--by George Newnes, and sold for a penny apiece. The "Penny Delightfuls" in the Penny Library of Famous Books were intended to counteract the pernicious effects of the "Penny Dreadfuls" so popular at that time.
    Physical Location: Stored on-site in the YRL Special Collections Booth Room. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.


    Published weekly from January 1896, Nos. 1-46 were crown 8vo in size and issued in cream wrappers, lettered in red, blue, green or violet; Now. 44-177 were demy 8vo, issued?as to Nos. 47-170 in pale blue wrappers pictorially printed (after Menzies) in dark blue, as to Nos. 171-177 in pink wrappers pictorially printed after an unnamed artist.
    This series, wholly without issue-importance and of an undistinguished appearance suitable to a popular library of the last decade of the century, is here recorded for the sake of the titles included in it. Each number has an Editorial Note signed 'C.S.C.', and every student of nineteenth-century fiction will admit that the selection of texts (for a penny-market in the 'nineties) shows both intelligence and enterprise. The list which follows omits certain titles?either obvious or eighteenth century or too recent to be relevant (e.g. a few Scott novels; such Dumas perennials as Monte Cristo and the rest; translations of Eugene Sue, Merimée, Féval, etc.; and an occasional copyright English text?by Conan Doyle, Grant Allen and others?introduced to give topical flavoring to a dish mainly revivalist). This has been done in order to emphasize the overwhelming majority of reprints of significant nineteenth-century fiction. I know of no better evidence than this series of the survival power of novels well known in their day but (one would have thought) forgotten by the mid-nineties. C.S.C. knew his subject; Messrs Newnes had the courage to trust his judgment. The longevity of the series is their justification; though it is clear the courage to trust his judgment. The longevity of the series is their justification' though it is clear that as time went on they were fighting a losing battle. It is interesting to observe that only on Jane Austen was included (evidently her revival was not yet), no Morier or Trollope of Le Fanu or Collins, and very little Marryat. Also that C.S.C. successfully resisted G.P.R. James until the eleventh hour.

    Scope and Content

    Library has nos. 1, 3-8, 11/12, 14-19/20, 22-23/24, 26-35/36, 38-45/46, 49/50-65/66, 68-79, 81/82-90, 92/93-148/149, 151-152-170, 172, 176.
    Editorial note in each volume signed "C.S.C." [Charles Stuart Calverley?].
    Numbers 1-46 were crown 8vo in size, and issued in cream wrappers printed in red, blue, green or purple; numbers 47-170 were demy 8vo and issued in illustrated pale blue wrappers printed in dark blue; numbers 171-177 contain the religious stories of the Rev. Charles M. Sheldon, a popular American pastor, and were issued in pink wrappers. A note in number 177 states that the series is now at an end; see XIX century fiction: a bibliographical record based on his own collection by Michael Sadleir. London: Constable & Co. Ltd. ; Berkeley and Los Angeles : University of California Press, 1951, volume II, pages 61-62, number 3643.
    Advertisements on front and rear wrappers.
    Spec. Coll. copy: numbers 1-48 housed in eight green cloth phase boxes in matching green slipcases; numbers 9-176 housed in 24 red cloth phase boxes in red and brown flowered paper slipcases. Forms part of the Michael Sadleir Collection of 19th Century British Fiction.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 7444889 

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    English fiction--18th century.
    English fiction--19th century.