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Exhibition Catalog

In the exhibition's catalog, the noted scholar Christopher de Hamel (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University) provides an entertaining overview of this fascinating, if arcane, chapter in the history of books. Joel Silver (Lilly Library, Indiana University) focuses on 46 examples from some of the great rare-book libraries in the United States, as well as from outstanding private collections. The leaf specimens range from the Middle Ages to the modern era; from Europe, the American colonies, and Mexico, to Hawaii and the Far East. Like a detective, Daniel Mosser (Virginia Tech) pieces together the story of the Caxton Club's 1905 leaf book, which involved breaking up an incomplete copy of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales,the first book printed in England, by William Caxton. In tracing the history of this leaf book, Mosser illuminates the consequences for scholarship resulting from the "cannibalizing" of old books to make "complete" volumes and the breaking up of these to make leaf books. This process raises a number of historical, ethical, and legal issues, which attorney and leaf-book collector Michael Thompson examines.

The book concludes with a checklist of 242 leaf books, as many as are currently known to the compiler, John Chalmers, based on previous bibliographies and new research. Indexed. Contains 41 images, many in color.

The catalog may be purchased by sending a check for $45 to The Caxton Club, c/o The Newberry Library, 60 West Walton Street, Chicago, Illinois 60610 (US). The catalog is also distributed by Oak Knoll Books.




Copyright notice | Acknowledgments