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The Reader, by Alexander Ver Huell, c. 1880

Book of the Month -- May 2024

  Cats, by Francois-Augustin de Moncrif

Lady and her cats

This charming book of anecdotes and poetry about cats was published in 1728. Moncrif, a member of the French Academy,  is largely forgotten except as its author.  Nowadays such a work would be quite ordinary, but it was the first ever of this kind. In that Augustan age, writing on such a subject was considered a trivial waste of time for an author with any pretensions to gentility; Augustin was subjected to so much mockery that he withdrew the book from circulation. Nonetheless, we can enjoy it as it was intended; even cat-haters will find entertainment here.

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The Ex-Classics project was founded in 2000 to fill an unmet need.  When reading the blurb etc. to a book by Charles Dickens or Charlotte Bronte, say, we would often come across sentences like "Favourite reading included . . ."  If  it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us. So off we go to the library or bookshop, to be met first with blank stares and then with the information that the book has been out of print for decades. Our first two books were Gil Blas and Hudibras, which are prime examples of this This web site is dedicated to rescuing these works from obscurity and making them available online, both for reading directly, and for downloading.

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