Limited Editions

A publishing season of the Atlantic Monthly Press is generally marked by the appearance of at least one of its books in a limited edition. The autumn of 1922 was an exception. A month hence Dr. Johnson: A Play, by A. Edward Newton, will appear in such an edition.

There are those who regard these books as unworthy productions, since they appeal to one of the meanest instincts of mankind — the desire to possess something which cannot be shared. To take this lofty ground would be to dispose at a single stroke of the noble company of collectors. Besides the gatherers of rare and beautiful books there are the collectors of paintings and prints, of every artistic expression of the human soul, even to the spoils of Egyptian tombs. The ‘ subjects ’ on which collectors collect are infinite in their variety. In a list of these published several years ago by a dealer in old books and autographs the Shop-Talker even recalls the item, ‘ oneeyed men’ ! Imagine collecting the biographies and portraits of such worthies from Polyphemus down! Imagine also the disappearance or even the discouragement of contemporaries of our own with enthusiasms embodied in the innocent employment of assembling ‘finds’! This would be a public no less than a private loss, for surely a goodly percentage of the notable collections in the world eventually find their way into libraries and museums for the delight and improvement of all. No, we are not to be deflected from our conviction that the publication of limited editions is an entirely commendable enterprise. This sentiment appears to be widely shared, for the only safe time to order a ‘ limited ’ Atlantic book is found to be immediately upon its announcement.