Constable’s Miscellany

aka/ Constable’s Miscellany of Original and Selected Publications in the Various Departments of Literature, Science, & the Arts
aka: Constable’s Miscellany of Original and Selected Publications

Constable and Company, Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1928-1932
Size: 4.5″ x 7″

Constable and Co. were founded in 1795 and were the publisher of Sir Walter Scott and Stoker’s Dracula. Constable’s Miscellany of Original and Selected Publications in the Various Departments of Literature, Science, & the Arts was an early serial publication with a complicated history due to bankruptcy and the shifting of publishers. The series initiated a flurry of inexpensive reprints in the 1820s and is in some ways an important precursor to all reprint series. The initial run of the series was from ca. 1825-1834. A version of the series was revived in the mid-1850s, the early 1880s, and, finally, in 1928, until 1932 (with reprints until at least 1951), from which the books here are representative.

The final, revived series was often advertised in the Times Literary Supplement as new titles were issued. Four advertisements appear below. The first (top left, March 8, 1928) alludes to the first Constable’s Miscellany series and announces the series by listing the first four titles with series numbers. This is the only advertisement I’ve found with series numbers included. Quotes from reviews that praise the series also appear, as with the advertisement on the top right (March 21, 1929)

An advertisement published in the Times Literary Supplement on February 20, 1930, once again, alludes to the original series and lists four new titles. The advertisement below, right is from the TLS on February 25, 1932, the last year titles were issued in the series. Calf Love (Bartlett) and Motley (de la Mare) were among the last titles issued in the series (I believe one more was issued that year, Ten More Plays of Shakespeare, by Stopford A Brooke.


Titles in Constable’s Miscellany were published between 1928 and 1932, with reprints as late as 1951. I cannot determine the series numbers for many titles, as the series numbers were only included on the dust jackets, and not listed in advertisements or back-of-the-book catalogs. At least two titles were published in two volumes, and in one case (Life of Mary Queen of Scots) it seems that both volumes shared the same series number. That’s probably likely to be the case with the second two-volume title (Frederick the Great, Memoirs of his Reader, Henri de Catt, 1758-1760). If I count unique titles, I can document 49 titles in the series. Two are dual volume titles, so 51 volumes in all.

#1. Spiritual Adventures, by Arthur Symons
#2. Memoirs of Mary Wollstonecraft, by William Godwin; preface by John Middleton Murry.
#3. Apostate, by Forrest Reid.
#5. The Garden Party and Other Stories, by Katherine Mansfield
#7. Selections from Ancient Irish Poetry, edited by Kuno Meyer.
#8. The Poems of Adam Lindsay Gordon, Arranged by Douglas Brooke Wheelton Sladen.
#9. A Treasury of English Prose, edited by Logan Pearsall Smith.
#10. The Jews, by Hilaire Belloc.
#15. Fallodon Papers, by Viscount Edward Grey of Fallodon.
#16. The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, by George Gissing.
#17. The Cruise of the “Nona,” by Hilaire Belloc
#18. Bliss and Other Stories, by Katherine Mansfield.
#19. Mary Glenn, by Sarah Gertrude Millin
#23. The Dark River, by Sarah Gertrude Millin
#24. The Jordans, by Sarah Gertrude Millin
#25. Life of Mary Queen of Scots, vol. 1, by Henry Glassford Bell
#25. Life of Mary Queen of Scots, vol. 2, by Henry Glassford Bell
#27. Piccadilly, by Laurence Oliphant; with a foreword by Michael Sadleir.

One Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems, by Juyi Bai; translated by Arthur Waley.
The Corner of Harley Street, by Sir H.H. Bashford.
The Ultimate Belief, by A. Clutton-Brock.
Isles of Illusion: Letters from the South Seas, by Robert James Fletcher; edited by Bohun Lynch.
What Is and What Might Be, by Edmond Gore Alexander Holmes.
Orvieto Dust, by Wilfranc Hubbard;  introduction by R.B. Cunninghame Graham.
Adam’s Rest, by Sarah Gertrude Millin.
Middle Class, by Sarah Gertrude Millin
Sweet Waters: A Novel, by Sir Harold George Nicolson.
The Student Life and Other Essays, by Sir William Osler, with an introduction by H.H. Bashford.
Words and Idioms: Studies in the English Language, by Logan Pearsall Smith

#29. A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Charlotte Charke, Daughter of Colley Cibber, by Charlotte Charke.
#31. The Narrative of the Persecution of Agnes Beaumont in 1674, by Agnes Beaumont; edited and with an introduction by G.B. Harrison.
#33. The Doves’ Nest and Other Stories, by Katherine Mansfield.
#34. The Icknield Way, by Edward Thomas; illustrations by A.L. Collins.
#37. The Fortunate Mistress; or, Roxana, by Daniel Defoe.
#38. In a German Pension, by Katherine Mansfield.
#40. Something Childish and Other Stories, by Katherine Mansfield.

Frederick the Great, Memoirs of his Reader, Henri de Catt, 1758-1760, vol. 1,   translated by F.S. Flint.
Frederick the Great, Memoirs of his Reader, Henri de Catt, 1758-1760, vol. 2, translated by F.S. Flint.
The Art of Life: Gleanings from the Works of Havelock Ellis, selected by Fanny S. Herbert.
The Piazza Tales, by Herman Melville.
Redburn: His First Voyage, by Herman Melville.
God’s Step-Children, by Sarah Gertrude Millin.
Ghosts of Piccadilly, by G.S. Street.
Human Nature in Politics, by Graham Wallas.

#43. Some People, by Harold Nicolson

On Ten Plays of Shakespeare, by Stopford A Brooke.
The Listeners and Other Poems, by Walter De La Mare

Motley: And Other Poems, by Walter De la Mare
The House of Cobwebs, by George Gissing; introduction by Thomas Seccombe

Calf Love, by Vernon Bartlett
Ten More Plays of Shakespeare, by Stopford A Brooke

Titles in the revived Constable’s Miscellany from 1928 to 1932 initially had a commonly designed jacket printed in different colors with an overprint of the title and author in a small box on the front of the jacket. The series name is at the top of the jacket, and on the dust jacket flap with the series number for the title. In this case, Godwin’s Memoirs of Mary Wollstonecraft (first printed in series, 1928). Price, on the jacket flap, is 3/6.


The rear of the jacket advertises the first 12 titles in the revived series. The back jacket flap is blank.


Bindings are cloth with no decoration on the front of the book. The spine mimics the decoration on the jacket. The series name is on the book spine.


Facing the title page is an advertisement for additional titles in the series. The title page expands on the name of the series to include part of the older, longer series name.


Copyright pages include publication data, in this case, first printing in the series in 1928.


About the time new titles stopped being issued in the series (1932) some jackets are redesigned with images or other artwork unique to each title. This copy of Mansfield’s The Doves’ Nest is a 1934 reprint (first in the series, 1929). An expanded list of titles in the series is on the back of the jacket. The binding and book remain unchanged from the earlier design.


A catalog from a 1928 title indicates press reactions to the revived series:


A list of titles categorizes the series into Anthologies, Fiction, Philosophy, Politics & Sociology…


…Literature & Essays, and Revival Reprints (reprints of books long out of print).


Advert from The Times (London, England), Friday, Mar 07, 1930; pg. 10