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AN ACCOUNT OF RARE, CURIOUS, AND USEFUL BOOKS, PUBLISHED
NOTICE TO PART THE SECOND.
It was not the Publisher's intention to write any more premonitions until the conclusion of the work, when all he might have to say would be included in a general preface; but numerous communications, public and private, seem to require earlier recognition.
Some well-meant advisers have suggested the omission of what they deemed unimportant articles of past literature, and the substitution of works of modern date. But they overlook the declared principle of the present edition, which is, that it shall be a faithful, though revised and enlarged, reprint of its predecessor, withoutomissions of any kind, and that Modern Literature (whether omitted by Lowndes or subsequent to the period when he wrote) is to form a Supplementary Volume. Besides which, were it even advisable to omit anything on account of worthlessness, it would be extremely difficult to determine what belongs to this category.
Every bibliographer knows the importance which an apparently worthless volume sometimes acquires by adventitious circumstance. It may establish a date or a fact, and settle a vast amount of controversy. A supposed piece of waste paper might fix an im. portant epoch in the history of engraving or printing, and an old book cover, (such as was once heedlessly thrown away) determine, with an approximation to certainty, the period of the first block-books. These reasons must serve as an answer to those who advocate omissions.
Some have regretted the paucity of literary and critical notices ; but these are far more numerous in Lowndes than in any other book of the kind, and do not, besides, strictly belong to bibliography, but rather to literary history and biography. No doubt an alphabetical arrangement of pithy extracts from reviews would be a very agreeable as well as convenient repertory, but such a work, to answer its purpose, would require to be four times as large as it is proposed to make the present.
Other critics or correspondents, who are pleased to admit my capabilities, wonder that I should tie myself to Lowndes,