Something else for the New York Book Fair, I think. It may not look all that special, but this is an extraordinary production: a book composed by the author straight into type. The writing method is alluded to in a printed inscription on the leaf preceding the title-page:
The explanation is provided in full in a long dedication to John Wilson (a.k.a. ‘Christopher North’), the Scottish critic who edited Blackwood’s Magazine: ‘Of the little volume before you, one individual has been the composer, and compositor and imprinter throughout … The pen has been a stranger to the prose part of its composition, and the scribe’s office subverted: — with the exception of acknowledged quotations, I have been unaided by a line of manuscript or other copy. There is a rhythmical extravaganza in the sixth chapter, which I very reluctantly signalize in this place, because the skeleton of twenty lines of it, or thereabouts, was pen-traced; the composing-stick has otherwise been my sole mechanical “help to composition”’.
Included are ‘colloquies’ about Wordsworth and Shakespeare, and ‘twenty minutes talk about Milton’. The text was published in a trade edition the following year, where it was described as ‘the first unwritten book’. The identity of the printer, J. Lordan of Romsey in Hampshire, has not been specifically determined; the typography looks fairly normal throughout, save for the first leaf and the colophon, which are printed in a rather primitive typeface. The name of the author, C. L. Lordan, appears in the imprint of a number of later books of Romsey interest, but as a publisher rather than a printer.