Backblock Ballads and Other Verses. C. J. DENNIS, 'Den'.
Backblock Ballads and Other Verses

Backblock Ballads and Other Verses

Melbourne, E.W. Cole, Book Arcade, [1913].

Octavo, 200 pages.

Red and black pictorial cloth lightly marked and rubbed, with minimal wear to the extremities; contemporary gift inscription on the front flyleaf (and a later signature on the front and rear flyleaves); light red pencil underlining or marginal emphases to eight pages (and a short light red pencil mark near the title of eleven poems); trifling signs of use and age; overall a very good copy.

The author's first published book. The front cover illustration is by David Low; the last six pages are a Glossary, 'for the use of the thoroughly genteel'. McLaren 243. The Institute of Australian Culture contains on its website some interesting information about this book, contributed by Neil Glover (who made much more sense of McLaren's notes than this cataloguer). The book was issued in wrappers, in cloth (as here), and in leather (a deluxe boxed edition). Glover writes: 'McLaren speculates that 5000 copies in total were printed by E.W. Cole. Possibly 4400 Paperback, 500 Cloth and 100 Leather'. In early May 1916, Cole advised Dennis the remaining stock comprised 1977 copies in wrappers, 60 copies in cloth, and 35 copies in leather. 'This highlights the slow sales. Following a dispute with Cole over the Bloke stories appearing in "The Sentimental Bloke" without permission, Dennis purchased the remaining stock which is thought to have been pulped by George Robertson. It can therefore be assumed that approximately 2500 Paperbacks, 450 Cloth and 60 Leather bound copies were sold'. Certainly, one hundred years later, copies in cloth are very scarce, and the leather-bound edition is an absolute rarity.

Item #118817


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