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Herein I attempt some deduction.

My edition of Howards End is a decaying Penguin Modern Classics paperback once owned by a Warren Cocking. I don't think he would mind my publicizing this, since he wrote his name the inside front cover, followed by both his address and his phone number.

In which our hero spends a perhaps surprising amount of time describing a hypothetical felt pen. )

What I really came here to do, though, was to talk about the blurb on the back of the book. )

I can see what the blurbist is going for: you are meant to really value and appreciate this book, not just consume it. It's just that they seem to be telling you this while backing away, slowly and mournfully, into the void.

Here is someone else's entertaining mention of the self-same blurb (on a slightly earlier edition). In this blog post, Robin Stevens mentions "the 60s, era of charmingly hilarious back-cover blurbs", and a similarly misguided blurb for The Waves.4

Was that a thing? Was it just a Penguin thing? A British thing?3 I don't remember my other paperbacks of the era having anhedonic and passive-aggressive blurbs.

What I'm asking is -- where can I find more?


{rf}

footnotes )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth (http://radiantfracture.dreamwidth.org/3521.html), where there are comment count unavailable comments. Comments either place are great.

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