Twice Told Tales

As a book collector, there are several things I look for when I purchase books:

  1. Author (I always look for classic authors first)
  2. Cover
  3. Date published
  4. Condition

Sometimes, I buy solely on one of the first three categories.  I have no rhyme or reason, and this can get me in trouble (I have more books than bookcases at the moment!!) One of my recent finds at a book sale, based solely on cover, was this Arlington Edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Twice Told Tales.


While quickly browsing the shelves, consciously trying to stay out of everyone’s way, the unusually sea blue spine glistened next to the earthy browns and reds on the shelves. After carefully pulling it off the shelf, (gasp! The cover was adorned as well!) I realized the book was by Nathaniel Hawthorne with a title I’d never heard of.  For some reason, this book reminds me of an H.G. Wells short stories book a friend gave me when I lived in England.  I’m not exactly sure why though, because my H.G. Wells book is completely unadorned, unlike the cover of this one:



I love the lack of theme to which the cover adheres. Geometric patterns and floral motifs fit seamlessly together, creating an aesthetic amalgamation of art nouveau amazingness.

Unfortunately though, this book isn’t in the greatest condition.  It is sun damaged, which has lead to the washing out of the spine.


Additionally, the pages are extremely brittle, as a result of poor paper quality.


Thomas Hurst, an electrotyper, founded Hurst & Company in 1871, and was known for using the cheapest materials when publishing and binding books.  This book was most likely published between 1883 and 1892.

Books in general are one of my weaknesses, but books with beautiful covers…well, I can certainly say I judge a book by its cover.  Stay tuned for more covers of this caliber!

Further Reading:

Huttner, Sidney F. ‘Hurst and Company.’ The Lucile Project. 2010. Web. 15 July 2013

Huttner, Sidney F. ‘Arlington Edition of Standard Classics.’ The Lucile Project. 26 March 2013. Web. 15 July 2013


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Filed under 1880s, 1890s, Art Nouveau, Books

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