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Anthony Smith BooksWhile browsing in my local independent bookshop, the wonderfully welcoming Wimbledon Books and Music, I noticed a flyer promoting a Pop-Up Bookshop. Anthony Smith, Associate Member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, will be having his second (how come I missed the first?) Pop-Up Bookshop on Thursday 28th May at the offices of the publishers, John Murray at 50 Albemarle Street.   Smith promises to offer a range of rare and collectible books, including art & architecture, fiction, biography, history and travel with a thematic highlight on the lives of Anglo-Americans in Italy in the 20th century, featuring the editor’s copy of Iris Origo’s autobiography, Images and Shadows, with their correspondence, and a presentation copy of Lina Waterfield’s Castle in Italy.


World Classics Series Books Hardcovers with Dust Jacket


But it is perhaps his selection of pre-1978 Oxford World Classics that will tempt me to go along.  Many of course will be familiar with the red and white branded modern paperback Oxford World Classics series, with their scholarly but accessible apparatus, but the series dates back to 1901 when it was founded by the publisher Grant Richards.  The imprint was purchased by Oxford University Press in 1904. Some 620 titles (plus some small spin-off sub-series such as the ‘Boys Classics” issued between 1904 and 1908 and the omnibus volumes of the 1930s) were published in dust-jacketed hardback prior to 1978 before the series was relaunched in paperback in 1980. If you haven’t discovered these lovely little clothbound books yet, there’s a treat in store for you.  As the publisher’s catalogue proudly proclaimed in 1907 “The best recommendation of ‘The World Classics’ is the books themselves, which have earned unstinted praise from all the leading critics and the public…. Only the world’s literary masterpieces have been, and will be, included series”.  But what gives them more appeal to me is their handy yet elegant pocket-size, achieved without compromising the contents and making them perfect for reading on the go. Anthony Smith’s pop-up bookshop will have some 150 of these perfect little volumes on offer!

Do let me know if anyone is thinking of going. Delighted to meet up. I shall, hopefully, be popping along during my lunch hour.

Anthony Smith Pop Up Bookshop will be a John Murray, 50 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BD from 10am to 6.00pm on Thursday 28th May 2015. Nearest tube station is Green Park