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Early Tauchnitz catalogues

For the first 30 years or so of the Tauchnitz Editions, the firm listed all of the titles in the series on the wrappers of each book.  For the early volumes in 1843, the list fitted easily onto the back cover in a single column, but as the number of titles grew, it had to become a two column list, then three columns.  The type became smaller and smaller, but by 1859 with the series having grown to over 450 volumes, the struggle became too much.  The list was then extended over both inside wrappers as well as the back, going back to a two column list and a more readable type size.

  Tauchnitz 381 rear wrapper    Tauchnitz 1218 back wrapper

An early issue (1857) with all titles listed on the back and a later one (1872) with the list extending over inner wrappers as well

That format kept them going for quite a while longer, but by 1872 the number of volumes had grown to over 1200 and this too was becoming impossible to manage.  The decision was taken to start printing separate monthly catalogues of all the titles published so far.  A copy would be tipped in at the end of each volume, or for books published in two or three volumes, at the end of the final volume only.

Tauchnitz 1230 Catalogue June 1872

It was not an entirely new idea – the firm had earlier experimented with catalogues inside their books.  Even as early as 1845 a single sheet had appeared in volume 76 listing the volumes issued to date and in 1854 a 4-sided catalogue was included in at least one volume.

  Tauchnitz 76 advertisement page    Tauchnitz 310 Bound-in catalogue

Early one-off examples of catalogues from 1845 and 1854

But by 1872 catalogues began to appear in all volumes, with a new version being printed every month.  To start with they had sixteen sides, which gave a lot more room than the three sides of wrappers previously available.   The layout could be improved, and titles included from other series as well as from the main ‘Collection of British Authors’.  The layout of the rear wrapper of the book could also be improved, now showing only a small number of recently published or forthcoming volumes, with the inside wrappers left blank.

Tauchnitz catalogue sample page

A sample page from an early catalogue

How effective the catalogues were as advertising is difficult to tell.  They were rarely bound into volumes taken to a bookbinder, but some copies may have been detached and kept for reference.  Catalogues survive in many of the paperback copies, but often the pages are uncut, so presumably were not even looked at.  They were printed on a single sheet and then folded into a sixteen page booklet, but as with the books themselves, cutting and separating the pages was a task left to the buyers.

Advertising can sometimes be effective though, even if only a small proportion of people take any notice of it and given that the catalogues continued for roughly the next 60 years, they must have been judged a success.  The Todd & Bowden bibliography records copies dated for almost every month from May 1872 to the end of 1899.  I can fill in several of the gaps as well from my own collection, so I think it’s likely that copies were updated every month over that period.   After 1900 it became more complicated, although they did continue for more than another thirty years.  I’ll come back to those later issues another time.

In most cases the catalogue date is the same as, or very close to, the date on the back wrapper of the book it’s tipped into.  But not always.   It’s not uncommon for the dates to differ by a few months and sometimes the difference can be several years, in either direction.  The catalogue date may be earlier than the wrapper date or vice versa.

I’ve never quite understood how this worked.  Were books in some cases prepared and bound into a wrapper, but then held in the warehouse, perhaps for several years?  Then perhaps an up to date catalogue was added in when they were ordered by booksellers?  That might explain catalogues later than the wrappers, but how to explain wrappers later than the catalogues?

  Tauchnitz 2828 rear wrapper  Tauchnitz 2828 catalogue

This copy of volume 2828, first published in May 1892 has a catalogue for May 1892, but wrappers dated October 1895

Was there at some stage a change of practice so that copies were stored in the warehouse with pages and catalogue bound together, but no wrappers?   If catalogues were being sewn in with the pages, rather than just tipped in with glue, that might make sense.  I can’t easily tell the difference, but looking at copies I have, I think it’s possible that at some stage, catalogues started to be sewn in rather than glued in.

In practice the rule I use for my own collection is that for a paperback copy to be considered a first printing, it should have wrappers with the first printing date on, whatever the date of the catalogue.  In practice though, many copies with later dated wrappers may also be first printings in terms of the pages, and a catalogue with the first printing date may be a good indication of this.   On the other hand copies with the first printing wrappers, seem likely to be first printings even if they contain later catalogues.  It’s hard to imagine earlier dated wrappers being added to a later printed book.  Much easier to imagine later dated wrappers being added to an earlier printed book.

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The peace of Godolphin

It was Charles Dickens who quickly became the star writer of the Tauchnitz Collection of British Authors, but when the series launched in 1841, Dickens was only 29 years old and had published relatively few works.  He had already written ‘The Pickwick Papers’, ‘Oliver Twist’ and ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ all of which appeared early on in the Tauchnitz series, and he was at work on ‘Master Humphrey’s Clock’.   These on their own were more than enough to cement his reputation in literary terms, but in terms of quantity, they were not enough to sustain the new series.

That task fell instead in large part to Edward Bulwer Lytton, perhaps the most popular writer of the 1830s, filling the gap between Walter Scott and Dickens.  His reputation has not survived in the same way, but in his time he was seen as a master storyteller (before Dickens came along to redefine the term).  Bulwer Lytton’s books were widely pirated in continental Europe, and in publishing them in his new series, Tauchnitz was following in the footsteps of several other publishers.  It was a natural way to keep the series going, while he prepared his revolutionary plans to pay authors for permission to publish authorised editions of their latest works.

Tauchnitz 1 frontispiece

Frontispiece from the Tauchnitz Edition of ‘Pelham’

Three of the first ten volumes in the Tauchnitz series were by Bulwer Lytton, including ‘Pelham’ as volume 1.  By volume 25, he accounted for 12 volumes and by the time the series moved away from piracy to publishing editions sanctioned by the author, the tally had increased to 15 volumes.  Almost all of Bulwer’s previous works had by then appeared, and later works appeared in authorised editions as they were written, over the next 30 years.

As the author most ‘pirated’ in the early years of the series, Bulwer might reasonably have borne Tauchnitz some ill will, but this seems not to have been the case.  The grand gesture Tauchnitz made in offering to pay for authorisation, when there was no legal requirement to do so, seems to have silenced all his critics and established his reputation as a man of principle from then on.

In that rush of early pirate editions, one book that stands out is ‘Godolphin and Falkland’, which appeared as volume 23 of the series in 1842.  It combines two works – ‘Godolphin’, a satirical novel from 1833, and ‘Falkland’, a shorter work written in the form of a series of letters.

Tauchnitz 23 half-title

Very unusually for Tauchnitz, the first printing is marked by a major printing error on the title page, where the title is shown as ‘Codolphin and Falkland’.  As it is written correctly on the front wrappers and half-title, on the fly-title which follows the main title page, and throughout the novel, this seems to be a simple error in typesetting and proofreading.  Such errors are rare though in Tauchnitz Editions and no doubt this one caused a good deal of distress to Dr. Fluegel, who according to the wrappers was responsible for ‘the corrections of the press’.  It reminds me of the error allegedly committed by a priest saying Grace who referred to ‘the piece of Cod that passeth all understanding’.

Tauchnitz 23 Title page

The title page was corrected in later printings, but all early copies seem to have this misprint.  Corrected copies appear only with the more modern typeface adopted in 1848, and are marked as copyright editions, so misprinted copies continued to be sold for around six years.   It’s hard to imagine such a fundamental error being allowed to continue for so long these days.  If nothing else, the author would surely insist on the book being withdrawn and pulped, but as this was initially a pirate edition, the author had no say.

Tauchnitz 23 Bound in paperback

Any copy of the book with the misprint is from those first 6 years, but as usual with Tauchnitz, the only way of being sure that a copy is a first printing, is if the original wrappers are still present.  Tauchnitz bibliographers Todd & Bowden were unable to find any copy in original wrappers earlier than 1875, which hardly helps us.  But the copy in my own collection is in a makeshift binding for the Jens & Gassmann circulating library in Solothurn, Switzerland, matching the similar copy of ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’, that I believe could be the earliest copy of this novel in book form anywhere in the world.

In particular, although these volumes are privately bound, the original paper wrappers are bound in, and provide the evidence for precise dating.   In the case of ‘Godolphin and Falkland’, the rear wrapper lists just the first 25 volumes in the series, which makes it almost certainly the earliest wrapper, and the book therefore a first printing.

Tauchnitz 23 Rear Wrapper

Handwritten book covers

Who today would consider buying a new paperback, where the cover had been replaced by a standard blank cover with the title and author written in by hand?  And what bookshop would consider asking the publisher to replace the normal cover with a blank one so that they could write on it?

Tauchnitz 1881 Front Wrapper

Yet that seems to be exactly what happened in the 19th and early 20th century with at least two booksellers and one publisher.  I’m writing again about the Tauchnitz Editions, published in continental Europe for around 100 years from 1841.  They were published in Leipzig and sold through a huge number of continental bookshops.  The vast majority of these of course used the standard Tauchnitz paperback wrappers.  But the Nicolaische Buchhandlung , and later the Kaufhaus des Westens (KDW), both in Berlin, opted for a different arrangement.  Oddly both shops still exist today, which is not true of many bookshops from over 100 years ago, so perhaps it was a commercially successful idea.

For each of them, Tauchnitz used special wrappers with the name of the shop on, but blank spaces on the front and the spine, where they could write in the series number, title and author.  I’m assuming it was Tauchnitz who used the special wrappers, and not the booksellers who stripped off the normal wrapper and rebound the books themselves?

Tauchnitz 2529 front wrapper

The earlier bookstore to use handwritten wrappers was the Nicolaische Buchhandlung, roughly from the 1880s to around 1910.    I have two examples in my own collection, pictured here, but there are multiple examples in other collections, including around 70 of them in a state collection in Berlin itself.  Both of the examples I have are missing the half-title page at the front, which is unusual for paperback copies.  That makes them difficult to date accurately, but may be evidence that suggests the original wrapper was removed and replaced, rather than the books being bound in the special wrapper from the start.

Tauchnitz 1881 Rear Wrapper

The wrappers for the Kaufhaus des Westens are known in only a single copy, post World War 1, but presumably there must have been others.

Kaufhaus des Westens wrapper

Handwritten wrapper for Kaufhaus des Westens – from the Todd & Bowden collection now in the British Library

The question is why would booksellers do this?  To my eyes the books with their scrawly handwriting look significantly less attractive than with the normal neatly printed Tauchnitz wrappers.  The writing is not always easy to read, so it wouldn’t be easy for customers to scan them and decide quickly which books they might be interested in.  That would be particularly true if the books were placed on shelves with only the spine showing, which would presumably be the usual position.   There’s barely room on the spine to write in the title, so the writing is inevitably cramped and often almost illegible.

    

The advantage is perhaps that the books can carry advertising for the bookseller.  In particular the back wrapper is used for bookseller advertising rather than the usual list of other titles in the series, which is really publisher advertising, although in the bookseller’s interest as well.  But was it really worth it?

Thomas Hardy in Tauchnitz Editions – Part 2

At the end of Part 1, I left the story  in 1882 after Hardy’s first five novels had been published in the Tauchnitz series in two volumes each.  His next novel, ‘Two on a Tower’, published that year in the UK, followed in the Tauchnitz Edition in 1883.

For the previous novel, Hardy seems to have considered leaving Tauchnitz to return to the Asher’s Series, but with that unpleasantness behind him, he now expresses full confidence in the firm in a letter of 12 December 1882.   The price offered returns again though to the lower level of £40, earlier paid for ‘Far from the madding crowd’.  ‘Two on a tower’ appears in two volumes in February 1883, as volumes 2118 and 2119 of the Tauchnitz series.

Tauchnitz 2118 title page and half-title verso

Tauchnitz at this point also asks Hardy to name a price for two of his earlier novels, ‘Desperate remedies’ and ‘A pair of blue eyes’.  The first of these never appears in the Tauchnitz series, but ‘A pair of blue eyes’ does appear the following year as volumes 2282 and 2283 of the series.  The first printing is dated September 1884 in paperback and copies in hardback should list only 6 other Hardy titles on the half-title verso of the second volume.

  Tauchnitz 2283 front cover  Tauchnitz 2283 back cover

Front and rear wrappers of a rare first printing paperback copy of vol. 2283

After this though there’s a long gap before publication of anything further by Hardy in the Tauchnitz series.  Between 1884 and 1891, Hardy publishes ‘The mayor of Casterbridge’, ‘The Woodlanders’ and ‘Wessex Tales’ in the UK, but none of these appear in continental editions.   It’s not until August 1891, with publication of ‘A group of noble dames’ that Hardy is taken up again.  This collection of short stories appears in a single volume as volume 2750, shortly after its UK publication.

The more significant event of 1891 though is the publication of ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ in serial form in the UK publication ‘The Graphic’.  Tauchnitz seems to realise quickly that this is a major work and pays Hardy £100 for the continental rights, a significant increase on earlier payments.  The book appears in January 1892 as volumes 2800 and 2801 of the Tauchnitz Edition, shortly after UK publication in book form at the end of 1891.   The first printing lists 8 other Hardy titles, from ‘The hand of Ethelberta’ to ‘A group of noble dames’, on the back of the half-title of volume 2.  There are multiple reprints, listing different numbers of titles (usually between 9 and 12) on the half-title of either volume 1 or volume 2, over the next 40 years.

  Tauchnitz 2801 front wrapper  Tauchnitz 2801 rear wrapper

First printing copy of Tess of the D‘Urbervilles, volume 2 in original wrappers

Another collection of short stories, ‘Life’s Little Ironies’ is published in a single volume in May 1894 as volume 2985, before the appearance of ‘Jude the Obscure’ in early 1896.  This is again in two volumes as volumes 3105 and 3106, only very shortly after UK publication and dated January 1896 on the first printing in paperback.   Hardback copies are even harder than usual to date.  They should certainly list ten other Hardy titles in the first printing, but should also show ‘Printing Office of the Publisher’ at the back (page 296 in volume 1).   Copies that instead show ‘Printed by Bernhard Tauchnitz, Leipzig’ are much later reprints, even if they list only ten, or even fewer, titles.

  Tauchnitz 3105 front wrapper  Tauchnitz 3105 rear wrapper

First printing copy of Jude the Obscure, volume 1 in original wrappers

After ‘Jude’, Hardy gave up on novel writing and concentrated on poetry, although it’s not entirely clear whether that was because of the critical reception and the controversy generated by his last novel.  He wrote a handful of further short stories and in 1913 a collection of short stories was published in the UK under the title ‘A Changed Man and other tales’.  Tauchnitz as usual bought the continental rights, but rather than publishing it as a single two-volume work, obtained Hardy’s agreement to use two different titles.  The first seven stories were published in volume 4458 as ‘A Changed Man … ‘, dated December 1913, and the other five stories appeared under the title ‘The romantic adventures of a Milkmaid’ in volume 4461, dated January 1914.

  Tauchnitz 4458 front cover  Tauchnitz 4461 front cover

It’s worth noting that six of the twelve stories had originally been published before 1891 and were no longer under international copyright protection by this point.  In line with the practice that had originally made the reputation of Tauchnitz, there was no attempt to capitalise on this.  Hardy received an advance of £30 on each volume, with an agreement to pay a further £10 for every additional 1000 copies sold over 3000.

In terms of the main Tauchnitz series, that was that. Nine novels, in two volumes each and four volumes of short stories, adding up to 22 volumes, published over a period of almost 40 years.  Other than a few verses in a later student textbook, Tauchnitz never published any of Hardy’s poetry.

DSCF9668

The full set of Hardy volumes in Tauchnitz, in the usual ragged selection of bindings

During the First World War, when Tauchnitz could publish almost no new works, they did publish a short volume reprinting an excerpt from ‘Life’s little ironies’.  After the war there were also two schools volumes of excerpts from his work (volumes 4 and 20 in the Students Series, Neue Folge’), and another selection again after the Second World War (volume 8 of the Tauchnitz Students’ Series, published from Hamburg).  But these were just postscripts in the long collaboration between publisher and author, from 1876 to 1914.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Hardy in Tauchnitz Editions – Part 1

In the early 1870s, when Thomas Hardy’s first novels were published, the Tauchnitz Editions were well established as the leading continental publisher of English language novels, but their position was not uncontested.  The Berlin bookseller Adolf Asher started a rival series in 1872 and for the next few years the market was fiercely contested between the two publishers.  The ‘Asher’s Collection of English Authors’ tried to tempt away as many established authors as it could from Tauchnitz and of course tried to identify and sign up the most promising new authors.

Some authors, including notably George Eliot, were able to play one publisher off against the other and for a few years did very well out of it.  Hardy seems to have been less successful.  He was certainly not an established author when the Asher series launched and hardly even seems to have been identified as a promising new author.

Thomas Hardy 2

But ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’, published anonymously in 1872, had some success, and attracted the attention of Asher, who published it as volume 53 of the Asher’s Collection in 1873 (under Hardy’s own name).   Sales were probably disappointing as neither Asher nor Tauchnitz rushed to publish Hardy’s subsequent novels.  ‘Far from the madding crowd’, published in the UK in 1874, seems to have been ignored at first by both publishers.

It was Hardy himself who took the initiative to approach Tauchnitz, writing to them on 2 April 1876, after suggesting to his UK publisher that it might be useful to enter the Tauchnitz list as ‘a sort of advertisement for future works’.  Tauchnitz was happy to oblige, but as usual wanted to publish the latest work, rather than bringing out one of the author’s previous novels.   By 22 May, Tauchnitz was sending Hardy a cheque for £50 and an agreement to publish ‘The hand of Ethelberta’, which then appeared in two volumes as volumes 1593 and 1594 of the series in June 1876 – less than three months after the initial approach.

A damaged copy of the first printing of ‘The hand of Ethelberta’, vol. 1, dated June 1876

Emboldened by this success, Hardy pressed on, with further letters on 20th September and 22 October 1876, suggesting that Tauchnitz might follow up by publishing ‘Far from the madding crowd’.  Tauchnitz agreed, but was clearly in no hurry, and was not willing to pay the same £50 fee.  Noting that ‘you will be perhaps kind enough to consider that the book is not a new one and thereby has not the charm of novelty’, he proposed to reduce the fee to £40.  ‘A new work of the usual length would be entitled to the same sum as for ‘The hand of Ethelberta’, he went on.

Hardy accepted. but even so, the book did not appear until early 1878, again in two volumes, as volumes 1722 and 1723.  There is no recorded remaining copy of the first volume in its original wrappers, which would be dated March 1878, although a single copy of volume 2 survives at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich.

As usual with Tauchnitz paperbacks from the 19th Century, copies rebound in hard bindings are easier to find, but harder to date.  First printing copies should certainly list only one other Hardy title (‘The hand of Ethelberta’) on the back of the half-title of volume 1.  It can’t be said with confidence that copies meeting this condition are first printings, but it’s certainly the case that any copies listing more titles are not first printings.

Tauchnitz 1722 Half-title and Title

A (possible) first printing of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ vol. 1

When Hardy shortly afterwards came out with a new novel, ‘The return of the native’, Tauchnitz was perhaps honour bound, not only to publish it, but to pay the higher fee of £50.  It appeared early in 1879 as volumes 1796 and 1797 (paperback first printing dated January 1879, hardback first printing distinguished by the list of the only two earlier Hardy titles at the front of volume 2).

But still it seems that continental sales were disappointing and the upper hand in the negotiations remained with Tauchnitz.  When Hardy offered ‘The Trumpet-Major’ to Tauchnitz in January 1880, he was disappointed by the offer of £50, but Tauchnitz would go no higher, noting that he was still carrying a combined loss of around £112 on the three earlier published novels.   With the benefit of hindsight, we don’t need to feel too sorry for Tauchnitz – both ‘Far from the madding crowd’ and ‘The return of the native’ were still in print over 50 years later and amongst the company’s best selling books, so we can be pretty sure that he eventually turned a profit.

Hardy must have been considering a return to the Asher’s series, at that time enjoying a renaissance under the ownership of a new publisher, Grädener & Richter.  But Tauchnitz issued a barely veiled threat.  If he were to go elsewhere ‘I shall very much regret it – the more as it is a principle with me now, if an author gives a book of his into other hands for the Continent, not to issue also any of his future books’.

Tauchnitz 1951 Title page and half title verso

First printing of ‘The Trumpet-Major, showing three earlier Tauchnitz titles

Hardy did not defect, although it is worth noting that Tauchnitz did accept back others who did.  ‘The Trumpet-Major’ eventually appeared as volumes 1951 and 1952 in January 1881 and just over a year later, Tauchnitz was not only happy to accept ‘The Laodicean’ for publication, but asked to put a value on the work, offered an increased fee of £60.  It appeared as volumes 2053 and 2054 of the Tauchnitz series in April 1882.  As the fifth Hardy novel to appear it showed four other novels (from ‘The hand of Ethelberta’ to ‘The Trumpet-Major’) on the back of the half-title in first printing.

So after his first decade as a published novelist, Hardy had five novels and a total of ten volumes in print in the Tauchnitz Edition.  For a novelist whose works had frequently been controversial that represented both success and respectability of a sort.  I’ll come back to the publication history of his later novels in a second post.  (Follow this link for Part 2).

Thomas Hardy first five

The Spanish Albatross

The Albatross editions in Portuguese that I wrote about in my last post, were far from being the business’s only experiment in foreign language translations of English novels.  Perhaps not surprisingly they also tried Spanish, publishing about ten translations between about 1947 and 1950.

Spanish Albatross 8 Polonesa

The Spanish books looked completely different, although the design is clearly a development of the classic Albatross design.  The same colour coding is used, but the writing around the border becomes much larger and rather dominates the central section.  It produces a design that is quite striking, but to me seems to lose the simple elegance of the original.  The books are also larger than the standard Albatross size, again losing in elegance what they may gain in impact.

They were published by Ediciones Albatros, a Spanish company based in Madrid and presumably set up for the purpose.  Unlike most of the other post-war ventures by Albatross, there is no evidence in the books of this being a joint operation with a local partner, although it may have been.

Spanish Albatross 1 Diplomaticos en Pekin

The series started with ‘Diplomaticos en Pekin’, a translation of ‘Peking picnic’ by Ann Bridge, a book that had not previously been published in English by either Albatross or Tauchnitz.  It was followed by translations of ‘Highly inflammable’ by Max Saltmarsh, which had been published as Tauchnitz volume 5242 in 1936 and ‘Soldiers from the war returning’ by Jerrard Tickell, which had appeared as Albatross 552 in 1946.  Six of the seven other books I know about had previously been published by either Tauchnitz or Albatross.

Spanish Albatross Spines 2

The books are numbered from 1 to 13 but I have never seen books numbered 4, 7 or 12 so I only know of ten titles.  Although the series lasted only for a couple of years and I doubt that any new titles were published after 1950, it appears that some of the books were reprinted later under different covers – showing even less respect to the traditional Albatross design.

Polonesa

Dating Tauchnitz paperbacks

Bound copies of the Tauchnitz Edition are very difficult to date.  Most of the key dating information is on the original wrappers that have usually been discarded by the bookbinder.  But what if the wrappers are still present?  Surely then it’s easy to date them, and to identify first printings?

In most cases, it is – the date, both month and year, is shown at the top of the back wrapper.  But not always, and even when it is, there can still be complications.  Firstly the early editions were undated and by early, I mean for the first 30 years of the series, roughly from 1842 to 1872.  Copies from this period in their original wrappers do still turn up from time to time, and although all are 150 years or so old and certainly rare, they’re still often a long way from first printings.

Tauchnitz 80 rear wrapper

Some of the earliest paperbacks are best dated by comparing the other titles listed on the back.  This one is from 1846.

Todd and Bowden in their Tauchnitz bibliography, introduced a system for classifying and dating these early editions, which relies in large part on the dictionary adverts on the back wrapper.  In a reversal of their practice with novels, Tauchnitz always recorded the printing date and the edition number for their dictionaries.  So if the wrapper advertises the 16th edition of the English-German dictionary, it comes from 1865 /66, if it advertises the 20th edition, it’s from 1869/70, and so on.

Tauchnitz 464 rear wrapper

This paperback is one of the first to advertise Tauchnitz Dictionaries on the back.  Reference to the Eleventh Stereotype Edition dates it to 1859-1860

This method is fairly reliable, but it’s not the full story.  When a book was rapidly reprinted, it can exist in two different wrappers, both advertising the same edition of the dictionary.  Then the only way of identifying the first printing is the laborious process of checking through the list of other titles to make sure that the wrapper doesn’t include any later-published titles.

From June 1872 until December 1934, the process gets much easier, as the back wrappers are dated.  If the wrapper date is later than the year shown on the title page, it must be a reprint.  If it’s in the same year, then it comes down to checking the month against the bibliography.   For much of this period though, there’s a simpler way, because Tauchnitz adopted a different style of wrapper for first printings and reprints.

The new style for first printings appears around volume 2990 in 1894.  The front wrapper is still identical, but the list on the back switches to a much larger typeface for the titles, with a very short description underneath – often just ‘A new novel’.   Instead of being just on the back wrapper, this list, on first printings only, stretches over the inside wrappers as well.   In fact the distinction that first printing wrappers have a list extending over the inside and back wrappers, whereas reprints have the list only on the back wrapper, seems to predate the change to the new format by  a year or so.  The first example I’ve seen of this is dated May 1893.

Tauchnitz 2990 New format Continued from page 3

An early example of the 1st printing format – June 1894

The picture below shows a comparison between the style of wrapper used for first printings and the style for reprints, that continued from 1894 through to 1903.   Throughout this period a quick glance at the style of the back wrapper can identify first printings much quicker than a comparison of dates or volume numbers.

Tauchnitz 3220 rear covers July 1897 1st printing and reprint

1st printing style on left, reprint on right

Then at the beginning of 1904 a new two-column style was introduced for first printings, now with a slightly longer description of each book, still extending over the inner wrappers as well.   The comparison below of first printing and reprint formats shows them still easily distinguishable.   In some cases, as below, where books were reprinted very quickly after first printing, both first printing and reprint exist with the same month at the top of the back wrapper.  Then only the difference in format can distinguish which is the true first.

Tauchnitz 4578 rear covers June 1922 1st printing and reprint

‘Back to Methuselah’ by George Bernard Shaw (volume 4522).  1st printing and reprint both from June 1922

So far as I know, this rule for identifying first printings is almost always respected.  There is one known example on volume 4700 where the first printing in the correct format is dated September 1925, but copies also exist in reprint format dated August 1925.  Todd & Bowden still give first printing status to the copies dated September 1925, partly on the basis of the bound-in catalogues.  I’m inclined to agree and to think that one or other is mis-dated, but there must be some doubt about this.  Other than that, the rule seems to be a cast iron guide.

This second first printing format continued from about January 1904 (volume 3705) through to December 1934 (volume 5178).  By this point Albatross had taken over editorial control of the series and was starting to apply the more modern design principles of its own series.  Adverts on the back cover had no place in this, and after a brief period of totally plain back covers, Tauchnitz adopted a completely new cover design and the Albatross system of colour-coding by genre.  Dates as well as advertising for other titles moved to inside pages.  In many cases a printing date and sometimes even an indication that a book is a second printing can be found on the back of the title page.  It was only five years though before the Second World War effectively ended the series and so relatively few volumes from this period were reprinted anyway.

Victorian women novelists – racier than you might think

It’s a persuasive and persistent myth that in Victorian times it was difficult for women to get novels published.  It doesn’t help that some of the best known women novelists of the period, notably George Eliot and the Brontë sisters, used pseudonyms that were male, or at least in the case of the Brontës, gender neutral.  From there it’s a small jump to conclude that it was only by pretending to be male that they could get published.

NPG 1405; George Eliot (Mary Ann Cross (nÈe Evans)) replica by FranÁois D'Albert Durade

George Eliot from a portrait in the National Portrait Gallery

Nothing could be further from the truth, at least in the mid-Victorian period.   I use as evidence the Tauchnitz Collection of British Authors, which is as near as you can get to a representative coverage of English Literature at the time.   For the 25 year period from roughly 1864 to 1889 the collection included more volumes by female authors than male authors.   In the early Victorian period, it’s true that female authors were much less common (and undoubtedly subject to some prejudice as well), and after 1890 the balance also swung back some way towards the men.  But overall the evidence is clear – there were large numbers of Victorian women novelists – and they did get published.

But there’s another myth that needs puncturing – the myth of Victorian Values.  It’s easy to think that Victorian women novelists were a straight-laced bunch, upholding in their lives as well as their writing, a strict moral code, that certainly involved no sex outside marriage.   In practice many women writers were writing ‘sensation novels’, in which it seemed almost every character had a guilty secret.   The dramatic tension came from the contrast between the values that society seemed to expect and the rather messier lives led under the surface.

Maguerite,_Countess_of_Blessington

The Countess of Blessington, from a portrait by Thomas Lawrence

And the authors certainly had messy lives themselves. I’ve written before about the Countess of Blessington, the first female author to be published by Tauchnitz in 1843.  She was in an abusive marriage, then lived as the mistress of the Earl of Blessington, before eventually marrying him.   It was later strongly rumoured that she was in a relationship with the Count d’Orsay, who married her step-daughter.

Caroline_Norton_by_Frank_Stone

Caroline Norton from a portrait by Frank Stone in the National Portrait Gallery

Or take Caroline Norton, another of the early Tauchnitz authors (and the daughter of another women novelist).  She had left her husband in 1836 and was involved in a close friendship with the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne.  After attempting unsuccessfully to blackmail Melbourne, Caroline’s husband sued the Prime Minister for ‘criminal conversation’ with his wife.  This was rejected by the court, but the scandal nearly brought down the Government.  Caroline is then said to have had a five year affair with a Conservative politician, Sidney Herbert.  She was, perhaps pointedly, referred to on the title pages of her Tauchnitz novels, as The Honourable Caroline Norton.

NPG x21214; Florence Marryat by Unknown photographer

From the National Portrait Gallery

Florence Marryat, one of the most prolific Victorian authors, also left her husband to live with another man.  Her husband eventually sued for divorce, citing his wife’s adultery, and Florence re-married.  Mary Elizabeth Braddon, even more prolific with over 100 volumes to her name in the Tauchnitz series, lived for many years with John Maxwell who was already married to someone else.  And of course George Eliot famously lived with another married man (and another Tauchnitz author), George Henry Lewes.

Elizabeth von Arnim

Elizabeth von Arnim

One of the more prominent women authors towards the end of the Victorian era, Elizabeth von Arnim, writing as Countess Russell, was for several years the mistress of H.G. Wells.  And it wasn’t just the British.  Léonie d’Aunet, possibly the only French woman author whose work appeared in the Tauchnitz series (her work ‘Un mariage en province’ was translated / adapted by Lady Georgiana Fullerton), had a seven year affair with Victor Hugo, for which she was arrested and spent time in prison and in a convent.

Tauchnitz 1769 Leonie D'Aunet

Portrait of Léonie d’Aunet by her husband François-Auguste Biard

There are no doubt many other examples.  I don’t of course want to imply that the men were any better.  Amongst others, Dickens left his wife for an 18 year old actress and the unmarried Wilkie Collins seems to have split his affections between two women simultaneously.   My point is just that Victorian women writers were not only numerous, but racier than you might think.  Victorian Values were just another myth.

More Christmas Carols in Tauchnitz

I’ve looked in earlier posts at the first publication of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Tauchnitz in December 1843 (possibly the first printing worldwide of the book), and also at the Schools Edition of the story that followed in 1847.  Both editions are scarce today in first printing or even in early printings, although the book continued to sell for so long that later printings are not too difficult to find.

The individual issue of ‘A Christmas Carol’ remained in print with Tauchnitz for many decades, but it was also combined with the next two Christmas stories by Dickens, ‘The chimes’ and ‘The cricket on the hearth’, to form volume 91 of the Tauchnitz main series in 1846.  That volume too remained in print right up until the Second World War.

Tauchnitz 91 title page

As the Schools Edition was also sold over a long period, Tauchnitz had three different editions of ‘A Christmas Carol’ for sale simultaneously.  The Schools Edition was probably sold right through until the 1880s, when Tauchnitz expanded the concept into the ‘Students Series’.  Not surprisingly ‘A Christmas Carol’ appeared again in this series, as volume 25 in 1888 and remained in print in this format at least through until the First World War in 1914.

Tauchnitz Students Series 25

During the war, the firm was unable to publish much new material, but instead raided its back catalogue for shorter works or excerpts that could be published in a new series of slim paperbacks.  The series started life as ‘English Text-books’ and was later renamed as the ‘Tauchnitz Pocket Library’.  And sure enough, there was ‘A Christmas Carol’ again, as volume 45 in the series.

Tauchnitz Pocket Library 45

I have no idea how many copies of the story Tauchnitz sold in total between 1843 and 1943, but it must have been an enormous number by the standards of the company.  A more normal Tauchnitz novel might only have sold 2,000 copies, but it seems possible that sales of ‘A Christmas Carol’ could have been a hundred times that figure, or more.

It’s worth remembering that Tauchnitz did not pay royalties.  He typically paid a fixed lump sum for the continental rights to a novel, a practice he followed right from the start, when there was no international copyright agreement.  As there was no obligation on him to pay anything at that time, his offer of a lump sum payment was gratefully received, and he was able to define the terms of business for the future.

The gesture certainly bought him a lot of goodwill with Dickens, who forever after regarded him as a friend and as a trustworthy business partner.  It also gave Tauchnitz privileged early access to new work by Dickens, so that his editions were sometimes published ahead of the UK editions.  And the terms of the deals were determined by Tauchnitz, not only in terms of the price paid, which Dickens always allowed him to propose, but also in terms of the structure.

Letters from Dickens quoted in 1912 Anniversary history 2

A lump sum payment left Tauchnitz open to the risk of lower than expected sales, but with Dickens that was hardly a risk at all.  If on the other hand, sales were higher, Tauchnitz would make additional payments, at his discretion.   In this way he was able to extend his reputation for fair dealing and for generosity, while still managing his costs and his profits.

In the case of ‘A Christmas Carol’, he could certainly afford to be generous.  He had a very valuable property on his hands, particularly after copyright treaties restricted the issue by any other European publishers.  So he made the most of it.  There’s no record, so far as I know, of what Tauchnitz paid for the initial right to publish ‘A Christmas Carol’, or what later payments he may have made, but for a full length work by Dickens some  20 years later, he offered £35.   On that basis, the initial payment for ‘A Christmas Carol’ could possibly have been £20 or less.  If so, it must surely have been one of the best bits of business ever done.   I feel sure that Tauchnitz would have made regular additional payments to reflect its success, at least over the rest of Dickens’ lifetime.   Whether he continued to be as generous to Dickens’ estate after his death may be a little more doubtful.

Todd & Bowden

The phrase ‘Todd & Bowden’ means only one thing for me.  It’s a large red 1000+ page book that is practically the Bible of my book-collecting – the bibliography of Tauchnitz Editions.    For other people, the same phrase may refer to another 1000+ page tome, the bibliography of Walter Scott editions.   Underlying these two monumental works though, there are the two authors, William Todd and Ann Bowden, a husband and wife team of bibliographers, who spent years of their lives producing these two works.

Bibliography Todd & Bowden

The Todd & Bowden bibliography of Tauchnitz Editions

They had the good fortune to work at the University of Texas at Austin, which through the huge collections held at its Harry Ransom Centre and the associated literary research, has become perhaps one of the best places in the world for a bibliographer to work.  It was partly they who made it so, William Todd having been recruited by Ransom to work at Austin before there was such a thing as the Harry Ransom Centre.

William Todd Ann Bowden

Ann Bowden and William Todd

Todd had made his name through a series of pioneering works, including the standard reference work on Edmund Burke, as well as studies of the Nixon tapes and Mao Tse Tung’s Little Red Book.  He was already almost 60 years old and a well-respected professor and bibliographer, when he and Ann started to collect and study Tauchnitz Editions.  It was the beginning of a 10 year project that led to the Todd & Bowden bibliography, published in 1988.

William B. Todd

The two of them travelled around Europe and America to inspect all the major Tauchnitz collections that they were able to identify.  They recorded in detail 25 collections in Europe, many in National Libraries, and a further 21 in North America, mostly in universities.  In doing so, they were able for the first time to create a guide to distinguish different printings and editions and to start to date them.  Tauchnitz were notorious for leaving the first publication date on the title page of editions published many years later, leading to widespread confusion over dating.  Unfortunately for many of the libraries they visited, Todd & Bowden’s work had the effect of identifying their copies as reprints.

Todd & Bowden title page

At the same time they were building their own collection, which eventually grew to over 6000 volumes, covering both bound editions and paperbacks, first printings and reprints.  After publication of the bibliography, their collection was acquired by a German cultural foundation and presented to the British Library, which had previously held only a relatively small collection.  Todd & Bowden moved on to work on the equally comprehensive Walter Scott bibliography, published in 1998, by which time they were both well into their seventies, and Todd nearly 80.

Ann Bowden died in 2001 and William Todd in 2011, at the age of 92.  The two major bibliographies they worked on together serve as a monument to them.  They also inspired, through their teaching and their example, generations of other bibliographers.  And for me too their work has been an inspiration.  I might still have been interested in Tauchnitz Editions, but without their bibliography, I would never have embarked on the project to build a collection that has occupied me for the last 25 years and more.  And the collection itself is defined both in terms of scope and in terms of first printing status, by the parameters established in ‘Todd & Bowden’.