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Everyman's Library

Life of Johnson, Metaphysics

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Englefield Green Surrey to William Faulkner Biography

a series of 1,000 pocket-sized volumes established in 1906 by the publisher Joseph Malaby Dent, who envisaged it as ‘the most complete library for the common man the world has ever seen’. Dent devised the project in consultation with the poet Ernest Rhys, who edited the series until his death in 1946. Fiction, poetry, drama, biography, philosophy, and history were among the thirteen original sections of the library, which was composed exclusively of reprints of masterpieces from the literatures of the world. Boswell's Life of Johnson was the first title to appear; other early volumes included works by Euripides, Plato, Francis Bacon, Coleridge, Jane Austen, and Tennyson. By 1939 more works by twentieth-century authors were included. In 1956 the fiftieth anniversary was marked by the publication of Aristotle's Metaphysics as the thousandth book in the series. Sales of the volumes making up the library since its inception were recorded as exceeding 60,000,000 in 1975. Everyman's Reference Library and Everyman's University Library were introduced in 1951 and 1971 respectively.

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