Series in Literature

Doubleday, Doran and Co. (New York, US)
Series dates: 1935-1937
Size: 5″ x 7.25″

sil_logoNot unlike Scribner’s Modern Students Library, Doubleday’s Series in Literature was a scholarly series aimed at the higher education market. The Series in Literature was published after the Modern Student’s Library had been discontinued. The series reached 19 titles in 1937. No new titles were published after 1937.

There were few changes in the dust jackets and bindings for the Series in Literature over its relatively short span of publication. This copy of Gissing’s Workers in the Dawn (two volumes, first published 1935 in the series) is an example of an actual first American edition of this Gissing title. It had been published in the UK only in 1880 and not reprinted; an attempt was made by the Bowling Green University Press to publish the title in 1930 but problems with author’s of the introduction (George Moore and, subsequently Rebecca West) halted publication. A few copies, possibly printer’s proofs, in two volumes survive, but it seems as if it was never officially published.

The jackets were unique to each title, with an illustration on the front of the jacket, in this case, a photograph of Gissing. The series title is indicated across the top of the jacket front. A description of the title is on the front jacket flap. Price is $1 per volume.


The back of the jacket is devoted to titles published and forthcoming titles in the series. Robert Shafer is the general editor of the series. As of 1935, 12 titles were available. The rear jacket flap offers a prospectus for the series. The series seems to be by and large meticulously edited with substantial introductions, notes, and other scholarly apparatus.


High-quality semi-plasticised bindings are deep blue with gold stamping. The series name is not indicated on the book cover itself. The design on the book’s spine carries over from the jacket spine design. The paper used for the books is of high quality, smooth and not yellowed over the years.


The half-title page includes the series name and editor.


The image of the author faces the title page. The image used on the jacket front is reproduced on this page in each of the titles.


In this case, the copyright date (1935) is the date of printing. “First Edition” is also indicated. As said, this is actually a first American edition of Gissing’s novel.


The jacket from the 2nd volume of Gissing’s Workers in the Dawn.


Another 1935 copy from the series, a two-volume edition of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. Both copies indicate “First Edition” (first printing).


A 1935 “First Edition” in the series of Byron’s Don Juan and Other Satirical Poems and a 1936 “First Edition” in the series of Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and Other Romantic Poems. Both indicate First Edition (first printing).


A 1937 “Second Impression” (first is also 1937) copy of Milton’s Paradise Regained, The Minor Poems, and Samson Agonistes. The back of the jacket lists 18 titles available, and 14 “for later publication.” Of those 14, I can only find one (in WorldCat) that was published (Wordsworth, Representative Poems).