Star Editions Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1945-1953
Size: 5″ x 7.25″
Star Editions, first issued in 1945, filled the same market as the German Tauchnitz Editions – English language, paperbound titles originally published in the UK and reissued for sale on the European continent. Tauchnitz ceased publications when their facilities were damaged in a bombing raid in 1943.
The Star Editions series was a collaboration between publishers Jonathan Cape, Cassell, Chatto and Windus, Hamish Hamilton, and William Heinemann. A few additional publishers participated: Chapman & Hall, Falcon Press, The Hogarth Press, Herbert Jenkins, and Secker & Warburg. Books in the series were printed from the original plates and issued, it seems, by the original publisher while including the Star Editions imprint.
According to Amy Flanders “This new company allowed these small firms to pool their resources – their copyrights, their finances, their paper reserves and their knowledge of foreign sales – and engage in paperback production for the home and export markets in a significant way. Without a separate paper ration, the venture had to begin humbly, with a list of ten titles.” (source)
The books were paperback, with a dust jacket, larger format than pocket paperbacks, and did not seem to vary in design in the eight years they were published.
The Writers And Artists Year Book 1949 listed Star Editions Ltd. at 99 Great Russell St., W.C.1. Its directors were Miss Louisa Callender, Jonathan Cape, H. Aubrey Gentry, Hamish Hamilton, and Harold Raymond.
I’ve found almost no mentions of the series and no list of titles in my quick research. The firm was announced as “wrapping up” (going out of business) in the London Gazette (Nov. 1966). The last titles I can find were published in 1953.
Below find an attempt at a list of titles issued in the Star Editions. I pieced this list together using WorldCat with searches of used book sites, Google, and Google Books. A few kindly book dealers included scans of the back of the jackets, which included lists of selected ranges of titles. Regardless, the list is woefully incomplete.
The highest serial number I have seen is #143 in 1953. But there are two documented 1953 titles and only one series number with an unidentified title. One might speculate that there were at least 144 titles, then.
I could not match known titles to serial numbers in a significant number of cases (they are listed after the numbered titles for each year below). The later in the series, the more absences there are.
I included the publisher when it was documented, but not if I could not confirm.
I’ve indicated two series titles I’ve seen in what seem to be publisher’s hardcover bindings.
The years in the listing below are rough: Some books have dates that are out of line with the years and series sequence. This may be an error or just books that were delayed or published early. Series numbers with an unknown title may not be in the correct year: for example, while #51 has a 1948 date, I put #50 under 1947. It could be 1948. It had to go somewhere. Thus, dates are guesses in these cases. It’s also possible that the dates on particular titles are not the date of issue but the copyright date. Finally, some of the titles have no dates on them.
I am always happy to hear about corrections and additions to these sketchy lists.
#1. The English People, by D.W. Brogan (Hamish Hamilton)
#2. Pleasant Valley, by Louis Bromfield & Kate Lord (Cassell)
#3. The Impudence of Youth, by Warwick Deeping (Cassell)
#4. Time Must Have a Stop, by Aldous Huxley (Chatto & Windus)
#5. Young Bess, by Margaret Irwin (?)
#6. Cass Timberlane, by Sinclair Lewis (?)
#7. Private Angelo, by Eric Linklater (Cape)
#8. Three Men in New Suits, by J.B. Priestley (?)
#9. The Song of Bernadette, by Franz Werfel (Hamish Hamilton)
#10. Dr. Bradley Remembers, by Francis Brett Young (?)
#11. Mr. Skeffington, by “Elizabeth” (Elizabeth Von Arnim) (Heinemann)
#12. House Under Mars, by Nora Hoult (?)
Mrs. Craddock, by W Somerset Maugham (Heinemann) (also, 1947)
*Nothing Serious, by P.G. Wodehouse (Jenkins)
#13. Man in the Modern World, by Julian Huxley (Chatto & Windus)
#14. Then and Now, by W. Somerset Maugham (Heinemann)
#15. Maquis, by George Millar (?)
#16. Eclipse, by Alan Moorehead (?)
#17. Bright Day, by J.B. Priestley (Heinemann)
#18. Household in Athens, by Glenway Wescott (?)
#19. Queen Victoria, by Lytton Strachey (Chatto & Windus)
#20. Ho! The Fair Wind, by I.A.R. Wylie (?)
#21. Curious Relations, by William D’Arfey
**#22. Stephen Hero, by James Joyce; Theodore Spencer, ed. (Cape)
#23. B.B.C. War Report – 6 June 1944 to 5 May 1945, by B.L. Montgomery (Oxford University Press)
#24. The Demon Lover and Other Stories, by Elizabeth Bowen (Cape)
#25. Brighton Rock, by Graham Greene (Heinemann)
#26. Rudyard Kipling, by Hilton Brown; Frank Swinnerton (Hamish Hamilton)
#27. Laura, by Vera Caspary (?)
#28. The Hands of Veronica, by Fannie Hurst (?)
#29. The Pursuit of Love, by Nancy Mitford (?)
#30. So Long at the Fair, by Anthony Thorne (?)
#31. The Romance of Casanova, by Richard Aldington (?)
#32. Journey to Red China, by Robert Payne (Heinemann)
#33. Earth and High Heaven, by Gwethalyn Graham (?)
#34. The Chequer Board, by Nevil Shute (?)
#35. The Headmistress, by Angela Thirkell (?)
#36. Tambourine, Trumpet and Drum, by Sheila Kaye-Smith (Cassell)
#37. The Sea Is So Wide, by Evelyn Eaton (Cassell)
#38. Creatures of Circumstance, by W. Somerset Maugham (Heinemann)
#39. Nineteen Stories, by Graham Greene (Heinemann)
#40. Maids and Mistresses, by Beatrice Kean Seymour (?)
#43. England Made Me, by Graham Greene (Heinemann)
#48. One Fine Day, by Mollie Panter-Downes (Hamish Hamilton)
Stamboul Train, by Graham Greene (Heinemann)
Ysaye: His Life, Work, and Influence, by Antoine Ysaye & Bertram Ratcliffe (?)
#51. Jenny Villiers, by J.B. Priestley (Heinemann)
(?)#61. The Rage of the Vulture, by Alan Moorehead (Hamish Hamilton)
(?)#61. Chatterton Square, by E.H. Young (Cape)
#62. The Heart of the Matter, by Graham Greene (Heinemann)
#63. It’s a Battlefield, by Graham Greene (Heinemann)
#68. No Highway, by Nevil Shute (Heinemann)
*Back, by Henry Green (Hogarth Press)
Catalina, by W. Somerset Maugham (Heinemann)
Love in a Cold Climate, by Nancy Mitford (Hamish Hamilton)
Depends What You Mean by Love, by Nicholas Monsarrat (?)
**Brave and Cruel, and Other Stories, by Denton Welch (Hamish Hamilton)
They Fly South, by Chun-Chan Yeh (?)
#74. The God-Seeker, by Sinclair Lewis (Heinemann)
The Little Sister, by Raymond Chandler (Hamish Hamilton)
Chinatown Family, by Lin Yutang (?)
#117. Anywoman, by Fannie Hurst (Cape)
#118. Belles on their Toes, by F. Gilbreth & E. Gilbreth Carey (Heinemann) (1951?)
#120. The Ministry of Fear, by Graham Greene (Heinemann)
#130. The Old Reliable, by P.G. Wodehouse (Jenkins) (1951?)
#131. Star Quality, by Noël Coward (Heinemann) (1951)
*#134. Helena, by Evelyn Waugh (Chapman & Hall)
*#136. South Wind, by Normal Douglas (Secker & Warburg) (here)
The Snow Mountain, by Ludwig Bemelmans (Hamish Hamilton)
A Fearful Joy, by Joyce Cary (?)
The Simple Art of Murder, by Raymond Chandler (Hamish Hamilton)
**Operation Heartbreak, by Duff Cooper (?)
The Last Adventure of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle (?)
Across the River and Into the Trees, by Ernest Hemingway (Cape)
The Feast, by Margaret Kennedy (Cassell)
*Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell (Secker and Warburg)
Rule of Three, by Douglas Reed (Cape)
*The Body, by William Sansom (Hogarth Press)
*Place called Estherville, by Erskine Caldwell (Falcon Press)
Duplicate Death, by Georgette Heyer (Heinemann)
The God That Failed, by Arthur Koestler [and others] (Hamish Hamilton)
World So Wide, by Sinclair Lewis (Heinemann)
A Writer’s Notebook, by W Somerset Maugham (?)
Festival at Farbridge, by J.B. Priestley (Heinemann)
Look Down in Mercy, by Walter Baxter (?)
The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene (?)
Melville Goodwin, U.S.A., by John P. Marquand (?)
#141. The Schirmer Inheritance, by Eric Ambler (Heinemann)
#143. In the Wet, by Neville Shute (Heinemann)
The Flower of May, by Kate O’Brien (Heinemann)
A Town Like Alice, by Nevil Shute (?)
*Additional publishers not in the original compact
**Seen in hardcover binding
The copy of P.G. Wodehouse’s The Old Reliable came relatively late in the series (#130 in 1950 – or 1951). It was published by one of the additional small publishers (Herbert Jenkins), who added their titles to the series.
The only variance I’ve seen in jackets is the color – red, green, and blue. The jacket spines include the author, title, and series name. The front of the jacket includes the same, and the qualifier “To be sold on the Continent of Europe Only.” The front jacket flap describes the book.
The rear of the jacket includes quotes from reviews of this Wodehouse title. The rear flap blurbs the series.
Copies I’ve seen are uniformly paperbound with heavy, cream card bindings. The only variation from the dust jackets is a series number on the spine. I have not seen series numbers elsewhere (jackets or inside the books).
The half-title page faces the inside of the front cover:
A synopsis of the book faces the title page. The title pages include the original publisher. It’s possible that some publishers were binding leftover sheets for the Star Editions series. This seems to be the case with Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (source). In either case, sometimes the publishers of these books are listed as the original publisher, sometimes “Star Editions” in WorldCat and used book sites.
This title lists Star Editions on the copyright page, the London location, along with the “For sale on the Continent…” statement. “Printed in Great Britain by Wyman and Sons, Ltd., London, Fakenham, and Reading.”
A list of books by Wodehouse is inserted near the end of the book:
A subset of Wodehouse titles follows. It’s possible all were published as Star Editions or planned for the series. I’ve found only evidence of Nothing Serious (and this title, The Old Reliable).