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AN ACCOUNT OF RARE, CURIOUS, AND USEFUL BOOKS, PUBLISHED IN OR RELA-
WILLIAM THOMAS LOWNDES.
NEW EDITION, REVISED, CORRECTED AND ENLARGED; WITH AN APPENDIX
HENRY G. BOHN, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
LOWNDES' BIBLIOGRAPHER'S MANUAL having become an extremely scarce and expensive work, selling at auction for upwards of seven pounds, with a prospect of its increasing in price, the present Publisher thought he should render an acceptable service to the Book-collector, and especially to Booksellers, by reissuing it in a cheap and popular form. With this view he purchased the copyright from the late Mr. Pickering's executors, intending to confine himself to a verbatim reprint, with the exception only of such corrections and additions as had already been made in his own business copy, or might chance to be communicated by friends. But, on examining the first few proofs, he unexpectedly found so much to correct and complete, that he felt it necessary to change his plans, and bestow considerably more care upon the editing than he originally contemplated. Accordingly every sheet has been read over at least four times, once by himself, the others by his assistants; notwithstanding which, he has reason to fear that many errors and omissions will remain.
It has not been attempted to make the book perfect, but merely to amend and improve it, by supplying manifest deficiencies, and completing the accounts of such works as were in progress when Lowndes wrote. Some of the additions are marked by brackets; but this plan having, in many instances,
been found inconvenient, by far the greater number are without any indication; such, for instance, as the articles 'Bible,' 'Blake (Wm.),' and 'Breviaries,' which have been entirely rewritten.
New editions of old or standard works are frequently, though not invariably, mentioned; but entirely new works, first published since the time of Lowndes, are intentionally excluded, being reserved for a Supplementary Volume of Modern Literature; on this principle Macaulay's History of England will be omitted, while new editions of Hume, and the elder historians, will be duly noticed.
Who have hitherto assisted, or may hereafter assist, either continuously or occasionally, must remain to be stated at the conclusion of the work; in the mean time, the communication of any corrections or additions will be thankfully received by
YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN,
Nov. 28, 1857.
HENRY G. BOHN.
NOTICE TO PART THE SECOND.
It was not the Publisher's intention to write any more premoni. tions 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, without omissions 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 important 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,