"May blessings be upon the head of Cadmus, the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invented books." -Thomas Carlyle
Welcome to my virtual book collection. Since collecting actual books is somewhat cost-prohibitive, I've begun to amass all of the books I would love to have if I had the means. Some are new, lots are old, all are unique or beautiful or unusual or in some other way have captured my fancy. Enjoy browsing!
Special Collections: Fine Bindings ~ Fairies and Fairy Tales ~ Terror and Madness ~ Poetry ~ Food, Drink and Apothecary ~ Science Fiction ~ Illuminations, Lettering and Hand-Coloring ~ Magic ~ Supernatural and Occult ~ Alchemy ~ Science and Technical ~ Maritime ~ Costumes ~ Humor ~ Children's books ~ Legend of King Arthur ~ Americana ~ 18th Century ~ 19th Century Authors and illustrators: Edgar Allan Poe ~ Jules Verne ~ Edmund Dulac ~ Kay Nielsen ~ Arthur Rackham ~ Edward Gorey ~ Charles Dickens ~ H.P. Lovecraft ~ William Hope Hodgson ~ Mark Twain ~ Lewis Carroll ~ Salvador Dali ~ George Cruikshank ~ Emily Dickinson ~ Geoffrey Chaucer ~ H.G. Wells
An Antarctic Mystery
Jules Verne. Sampson, Low, Marston, 1898.
First edition in English, half-title, 64 plates (one coming loose and slightly torn without loss on inner margin), marginal note in ink, publisher’s olive green pictorial cloth, slightly rubbed at extremities, 8vo,
Jules Verne. (P’tit Bonhomme) 8vo, 1895.
A very scarce Jules Verne title. First English edition, 76 plates, small bookseller’s label to front pastedown.
The town of Westport, in the privince of Connacht, is situated on Clew Bay. This bay is one of the most beautiful along the entire seaboard of Ireland; its capes, promontories, and points are ranged like so many sharks’ teeth which bite the incoming rollers. It is at Westport that we are to find little Mick in the dawn of his life’s story; we shall see where, when, and how that story comes to its end. ~Opening Paragraph
In honor of Book-Aesthete’s membership reaching 20,000! Thank you all for your interest and for spreading the word.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Jules Verne. Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1873.
This is the true American first edition. This Osgood edition, although dated 1873, was actually published in November 1872, the same month as Sampson Low’s British edition. An edition was then produced by George M. Smith, also of Boston, in a very similar binding (Smith’s has Captain Nemo using a sextant and reads “Under the Seas”), and it is this edition that is more frequently seen. The Osgood edition has decidedly sharper images. Although the reason for the scarcity is unknown, it is speculated that most of the Osgood copies were destroyed in the Great Boston Fire.
“The year 1866 was signalised by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and puzzling phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten. Not to mention rumours which agitated the maritime population and excited the public mind, even in the interior of continents, seafaring men were particularly excited. Merchants, common sailors, captains of vessels, skippers, both of Europe and America, naval officers of all countries, and the Governments of several States on the two continents, were deeply interested in the matter.
For some time past vessels had been met by “an enormous thing,” a long object, spindle-shaped, occasionally phosphorescent, and infinitely larger and more rapid in its movements than a whale.”
Part One, Chapter One.
The Master of the World
Jules Verne. Sampson Low, Marston & Co. 
(Original publication date of story: 1904)
Description: FIRST ENGLISH BOOK-FORM EDITION, 30 plates, a neat early pen scribble to half-title and front endpapers, one plate and facing page with a small stain, a little light foxing to edges, pp. 317, , 8vo, original green cloth, pictorial spine and front board blocked in colour, spine also lettered in gilt (dulled), a little rubbed (causing slight loss to colouring on front board), spots of wear to joint ends and a short split at head of spine, good
Notes: One of Verne’s last novels - originally published in French in 1904, it was only followed by ‘Invasion of the Sea’ before the author’s death in March 1905. A poor-quality anonymous translation was included as part of a 1911 New York set of Verne’s works, and then this much better translation (also anonymous, but by Cranstoun Metcalfe) was serialised in the Boy’s Own Paper before this first publication in book format. The cover departs from the traditional black-and-gilt pictorial blocking style of earlier Verne translations with a dramatic colour gradient.
Dr. Ox’s Experiment
Jules Verne. Boston: James R. Osgood and Co., 1875
Profusely illustrated. First fully-illustrated american edition from the sheets of the first English edition.
- Dutch pulp magazine abt Jules Verne, c. 1910
posted to Flickr by Hillebrand Komrij
An Under Pressure Art Production ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea’
Moving Mechanical Sculpture Cast Silicone, Internal Mechanics, Digital Media & Bronze
19.8 cm x 12.9 cm (book)
On Perspex Display
£3,000 plus vat
B-A Note: Oh wow, folks, you have got to take a look at this exhibit: Never Judge…? at Stolen Space Gallery. Several artists have interpreted and designed over 100 book covers (and I use “cover” loosely here). This image of Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination is pretty awesome as well.
Thanks to We Made This for the article and link to this exhibit.
The Tour of the World in 80 Days
Jules Verne. Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, [July] 1873
First American edition and first edition in English, first issue, with no mention of the translator, George M. Towle, on the title-page. Small octavo (5 13/16 x 4 1/8 inches; 148 x 105 mm.). vii,[1, blank],-291,[1, blank] pp. Frontispiece illustration of ‘Le Saint Michel’ (included in pagination), with tissue guard.
This famous tale of the circumnavigation of the globe by Phileas Fogg and Passepartout was first published in French in 1873 as Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingt jours. James R. Osgood published this unillustrated edition in English by early July of that year. It was reprinted in 1873, 1874, and 1875, with the same collation and size, but with the added note on the title-page ‘Translated by George M. Towle.’ Within a few months, Osgood published a more elaborate illustrated edition with the title Around the World in Eighty Days.
A Journey to the Centre of the Earth Verne, Jules. 52 illustrations by Edouard Riou. New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co., 
8vo, first state of the Scribner deluxe edition binding with terra-cotta cloth pictorially decorated in gold and black featuring three underground explorers on their raft while the spine illustration shows the explorers in an underground crystal cave and with “Scribner, Armstrong & Co.” at lower spine, variant, without beveled edges, cocked, only light rubbing along edges; endleaves lightly foxed and a few lightly creased corners occasionally throughout text. 6 pages of publisher’s ads ending with “From the Earth to the Moon Direct.
Jim Tierney has finished more illustrative designs for his ambitious Senior Thesis Project of redesigning Jules Verne book classics. We were impressed when we saw earlier versions of the cover designs. Now that the full packages are revealed (complete with interactive parts), we are blown away. Jim Tierney is working towards a BFA in Illustration at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.