Monday, April 11, 2011

Two book covers, 108 years apart

Bonus late-night post!

My wife and I sold these two books yesterday, and I wanted scan and share the covers -- which are both wonderful in their own way -- before shipping them off to their happy new homes.

It's fun to compare and contrast these two books, which were published 108 years apart -- one during the Ulysses S. Grant presidency and one during the Jimmy Carter presidency.

At the top we have the dark-green cover of Diocletian Lewis' non-fiction tome "Our Girls", which was published in 1871. Lewis spent much of his career promoting good hygiene, clean living and physical exercise. Some chapter titles in "Our Girls" include:
  • Girls' Boots and Shoes
  • How Girls Should Walk
  • The Language of Dress
  • Outrages Upon the Body
  • Stockings Supporters
  • Employments for Women
  • A Short Sermon About Matrimony
  • A Word About Baths

And then we have 1979's "Advanced D&D Monster Manual" by Gary Gygax.

I love the style of illustrations on this cover. It takes me back to my 1980s childhood, when I wanted to play Dungeons & Dragons but had to settle for getting my fantasy fix from Tom Hanks' "Mazes and Monsters" and Intellivision cartridges.

The chapters in the "Monster Manual" include:
  • Basilisk
  • Black pudding
  • Centaur
  • Gar, giant
  • Gelatinous cube
  • Kobold
  • Owlbear
  • Troglodyte
  • Wyvern
  • Xorn
Diocletian Lewis would shudder at all this, I fear.1

And so we have an 1871 book on the raising of proper young ladies and a 1979 book on terrible and fantastic creatures that might give those same young ladies nightmares.

That sets things up perfectly for Tuesday's post, which will mark the birthday of a somewhat obscure individual who secretly spent a lifetime weaving both of those themes together into a master work. Any guesses?

1. To which I would say: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

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