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 Bookplate of Bob and Epsie Morse, by Luis Agassiz Fuertes, c. 1910

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The Reader, by Alexander Ver Huell c. 1880

Latest Additions

  • More Crimes from the Newgate Calendar
    Another batch of  18th Century pirates and  highwayme to add to our existing collection from the ex-classic compendium of crime. These are all taken from Johnson's History of Pirates and Highwayman etc. 
    Added 15th Feb. 2019.

  • Gerard's Herbal.
    This vast and exhaustive work of early modern botany, illustrated with nearly two thousand woodcuts,  had its final edition in 1633.  Almost every plant known to European  herbalists at the time is included, with a picture, description, uses, and   anecdotes of the plant, its discoverers and much more. Volumes 1 & 2 are now available - the rest will follow.  Part of our Gossip in a Library project -- see here for Gosse's  article.
    Volume 2 added 3rd March 2019.
    Volume 1 added 21st August 2018.

  • The History of the Human Heart.
    The History of the Human Heart, or The Adventures of a Young Gentleman was published anonymously in 1759, the same year as John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Fanny Hill), and is another high point in 18th Century erotica. It is set in the same milieu of seduction and brothels, it is however written from a male point of view. The protagonist Camillo, like many young men, is led by his penis, and being from a wealthy family, has the means to go where it leads him. He is not a wicked person, but he is headstrong, impulsive and thoughtless, and he undergoes sexual adventures and misadventures which are variously hilarious and horrifying.
    Added 6th November 2018.
  • The Diary of a Lover of Literature by Thomas Green
    Green was a bibliophile who flourished at the end of the 18th and start of the 19th Century. This is his diary of his everyday doings, and of the books he read, with his comments on them. A great insight into the mind of a pre-romantic self-taught intellectual.  Part of our Gossip in a Library project -- see here for Gosse's article.
    Added 13th  February 2018.
  • Gossip in A Library, by Edmund Gosse
    The noted bibliophile's reviews of some of his favourite books. Many are ex-classics, and some are already on our site. We plan to publish all of them we can find. 
    Added 11th November 2017.

  • The Memoirs of Colonel Monro
    Originally entitled Monro his expedition with the Worthy Scots Regiment called Mac-Keys Regiment. It describes his seven years' service as a mercenary in the Thirty Years' War from 1626 to 1634, where he served under Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, and took part in many battles.  Colonel Monro himself is not wholly unknown to those who have read A Legend of Montrose by Walter Scott; for it was he who provided a good deal of the material for character of  Dugald Dalgetty—the valorous soldier of fortune and military theorist, who returned to Scotland just in time to take part in Montrose's campaigns, and to edify his brothers-in-arms with endless reminiscences of the time when he followed "the invincible Gustavus Adolphus, the Lion of the North, and the Bulwark of the Protestant Faith". 
    Added 30th October 2017.
  • The History of Pompey the Little by Francis Coventry
    Pompey the Little was an Italian lapdog. At an early age he was carried away from the boudoir of his Italian mistress by Hillario, an English gentleman  illustrious for his gallantries, who brought him to London. The rest of the history is really a chain of social episodes, each closed by the incident that Pompey becomes the property of some fresh person. In this way we find ourselves in a dozen successive scenes, each strongly contrasted with the others. It is the art of the author that he knows exactly how much to tell us without wearying our attention, and is able to make the transition to the next scene a plausible one.
  • Added 20th July 2017

  • The Complete Cony-catcher by Robert Greene
    The cozeners of Elizabethan England, and their artful ways of robbing and swindling. By the author of A Groat's-worth of Wit.
    Added 14th May 2017.

  • Studies in the Art of Rat-Catching, by H. C. Barkley
    The classical education provided by English schools in the 19th century was hated by the pupils and did nothing to qualify them to make a living. Barkley proposes to solve both these problems by teaching them rat-catching, which boys love and which is an honourable and useful profession. This is the definitive text-book of the art.
    Added 26th January 2017.
  • The True Story of John Carteret Pilkington
    The early adventures and misfortunes of the youngest son and amanuensis of Laetitia Pilkington, whose memoirs are also on this site. Also contains the correspondence of Laetitia Pilkington and Lord Kingsborough, and some poems and a play scene by J.C. Pilkington.
    Added 11th January 2017.
  • The Memoirs of Mrs.Margaret Leeson
    The leading courtesan and madam of late 18th Century Dublin, she published these memoirs in old age. Funny and frankly written, they show a wide panorama of life from debtors' prison to the Ascendancy at the height of their power and irresponsibility.
    Added 8th October 2016.
  • More Crimes from the Newgate Calendar
    Another batch of 172 18th Century pirates, highwayman, forgers and sundry malefactors to add to our existing collection from the ex-classic compendium of crime
    Added 26th July 2016.

  • Radical Pamphlets from the English Civil War 
    During the English Civil War and in the republic which followed, a wide range of radical ideas and movements flourished. There were Seekers and Ranters, Diggers and Levellers,  Quakers, Fifth Monarchists and Muggletonians; and a flood of remarkable pamphlets promoting their ideas poured from the printing presses.  Our selection includes such classics as A Fiery Flying Roll,  The Lamb's Officer is Gone Forth with the Lamb's Message, and the wonderfully-titled Tyranipocrit Discovered.
    Added 14th February 2016.
  • The Emperor's New Clothes -- Original Version
    Hans Christian Anderson rewrote this mediaeval Spanish tale for the more fastidious audiences of the 19th Century. The original is well worth reading. 
    Added 3rd February 2016.
  • Lives and Anecdotes of Misers, by F. Somner Merryweather
    As read by Silas Wegg to Mr. Boffin in Dickens' Our Mutual Friend.
    Added 18th January 2016.

  • The Metamorphosis of Ajax by Sir John Harington
    The first flush toilet, described together with a wealth of cloacal learning and philosophy by Queen Elizabeth I's scapegrace godson.
    Added 4th September 2015.

  • The Poems of John Skelton
    John Skelton (1460?-1529) is a poet whose works have hovered on the edge of the canon, never being forgotten or lacking advocates, but never making it into the schools. Robert Graves thought him better than Milton. Howard Fish, now the Grand Old Man of American Literary Criticism (and proud to be the model for David Lodge's Morris Zapp) published a book-length study of Skelton in 1965, and more recently, Helen Cooper, professor of English at Cambridge, called him "one of the great figures of English poetry."
    Added 13th July 2015.



Bookplate of Urling Sibley, by Frances W. (Fanny) Delehanty, 1910

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