Category Archives: Archive

Reprinting lost books…

NOTE: This a reposting of something I wrote a while back, but as the website it is hosted on will soon be closing, I wished (aptly enough) to preserve it here. I’m afraid that the pictures will only last until the host website goes down, since I haven’t been able to extract them easily.

Of late, I’ve had to study many books that have been out of print for a hundred years of more. Some I can find in the reserves of libraries close to me, others have been digitised. However, in neither case is it really possible, I feel, to get to grips with the volume: scribble on it, mark its pages, leave it on your bookshelf until you have a revelation…all this is only possible with a printed edition of your own. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, the personal, bespoke republication of an out-of-copyright book is now very easy, This guide will show you how.

For this example, I intend to republish Volume One of Charles Collé’s memoirs on the reign of Louis XV. Any book no longer bound by the copyright laws of your country can be used for this process. To check the copyright status of a book, I recommend asking a librarian or using the Public Domain Calculators.


I – Preliminaries
II – Obtaining a PDF
III – Preparing the PDF
IV – Publishing on
V – Examples

I – Preliminaries

1 – Go to and click on the ‘My Lulu’ tab to create an account.

2 – Click ‘Start a New Project’ on the left, under the ‘My Projects’ headline, then select ‘Hardcover Book’ from the options that appear.

3 – On the next screen, fill in the form using the title and author of your chosen work, then select how visible you wish the final product to be.

4 – Select your preferred Paper Type, Size, Binding and Colour. I recommend ‘Black and White Printing’ for both cost and visibility reasons. Click ‘Save and Continue’.

5 – We now need to obtain an electronic version of the chosen text. Before leaving, note down the page-size of your chosen book type. This will be essential later.

II – Obtaining a PDF

1a – Check to see if the text you wish to publish is online, either after being scanned (which allows a facsimile to be reproduced) or after being treated with an OCR program. I can recommend the following sites for this:

1b – Download it either as a PDF or as a format you can convert to PDF here:

2a – If your chosen text is not online, find a library that has it:

  • Some libraries will be able to produce PDFs for you for a charge
  • Others will only photocopy the work for you

2b – If you have a photocopy of the work, you can convert it to PDF as follows:

  • Either use another photocopier that photocopies to PDF
  • Or, much more laboriously, scan each page, setting the output format to PDF

III – Preparing the PDF

In order for the PDF to be used as the proofs for a book, the page size must be altered to match the format required by at step I.4. In my case, this is 15.24cm x 22.86cm.

1 – Download the free program Primo PDF and install it.

2 – Download Acrobat Reader, if you do not have it already.

3 – Open the PDF of your chosen work in Acrobat Reader, and select File > Print…

4 – Change the Printer to PrimoPDF, then click Properties.

5 – In the ‘Document Properties’ window, go to the Paper/Quality tab and change Color to ‘Black & White’, then click ‘Advanced…’

6 – In the ‘Advanced Options’ window, select ‘PostScript Custom Page Size’, a new window will appear.

7 – In the ‘PostScript Custom Page Size Definition’ window, change the width and the height values to those you noted down from earlier (I.5), then close the window by clicking OK.

(7b – Optional: Back in the ‘Advanced Options’ window, change the ‘Print Quality’ to 96dpi. This prevents the finished PDF from becoming too large.)

8 – Click ‘OK to close ‘Advanced Options’ and click OK to close ‘Document Properties’.

(8b – Optional: If you wish to remove certain pages from the PDF, like the scan of the book cover, use the ‘Pages to Print’ option to create a selection once you’re back in the ‘Print’ window. Note that Adobe Reader’s page-numbering can be confusing: use the preview function and the page numbers inside brackets as a way of guiding you.)

9 – Click Print. This may take some time, and may ask too much of your computer. If the latter is the case, try closing all other programs, and, if the problem persists, consider altering the print quality of the PDF as outlined in step 7b.

10 – When Adobe Reader finishes, Primo PDF appears. Click on the Custom icon.

11 – In the ‘Custom PDF Setting’ window, select ‘Average’ in the Downsampling drop-down menu, and then make sure all images above 70PPI are downsampled to 50PPI (the higher this last number is, the larger the final file).

12 – Click on the ‘Grayscale’ icon and repeat step 11 here. Click OK to close the window.

13 – Click ‘Create PDF’ and choose a suitable filename and location. The conversion process may, again, take some time: ignore Windows’ declarations that Primo PDF is not responding.

14 – Make sure to check how readable your new PDF is: if the text is too blurred, you may have to increase the resolution by reversing steps III.7b and III.11.

15 – Once you have a legible, properly-sized PDF, you’re now ready to republish…

IV Publishing on

There are numerous print-on-demand services available online, and this guide has been using simply because the service is extremely simple and familiar to me. It also has frequent sales, during which time printing costs can drop by 15% or more.

1 – Return to, log in and navigate to the ‘Upload’ screen of your project.

2 – Click on choose file and navigate to your prepared PDF. Then click upload. Once again, this may take a moment. If your file is too big, consider following lulu’s instructions about using FTP.

3 – The rest of the lulu process is fairly self-explanatory, so I’ll finish with a few tips:

  • Make sure you use high-resolution images for your covers. If you need to edit the dimensions of an existing image, consider the freely-available GIMP editor.
  • When publishing the work give as many keywords as possible; if you can, use a CC BY 3.0 Creative Commons licence too.

And that’s everything! If you follow this guide and publish something, do let me know about it. Either by commenting or by telling me on twitter.


Here are a few of my efforts:

The Complete Works of Jean-François Ducis (1827)

Antoine de la Place, Théâtre Anglois (1749)

Shakespeare Interleaved

At the end of my post on the collection of Richard Warner’s notes in the Beinecke, I mentioned that his editions of Shakespeare, complete with working notes on interleaved pages, had been digitised and was available online. With a day between returning from America and planning out my work for the term with my supervisor, I decided to take a look at this digital edition. This post gives some of my findings, and some of my unanswered questions.

Warner interleaved Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra and Cymbeline. The four texts used are all single-play edition brought out by Tonson in 1734 as part of a campaign to drive the entrepreneurial Walker out of business. Antony and Cleopatra still has the denunciation of Walker’s claim that he was printing ‘stage’ versions of Shakespeare that Tonson extracted from the Drury Lane prompter Chetwood.

This choice of text is a little unusual, since – as far as I know – there was little editorial oversight of this edition, given that Tonson rushed it out to counter Walker’s opportunistic printing of cheap single-play editions. As a result of this relatively rough text, many of Warner’s notes are simply copies of comments made by other eighteenth-century editors such as Johnson, Pope or Theobald. Warburton appears too, but always to have his ideas countered in a style not too far from the Canons of Criticism.

On top of Warner’s copying of other editors and his close attention to the variations of words between editions (doubtless something of a problem for someone who wanted to offer his glossary as a ‘Shakespeare lexicon’), these interleaved texts are also remarkable for the insertion of new scene divisions. The 1734 edition of Tonson remains close to the First Folio and has relatively few scene divisions, while it was normal for eighteenth-century editors from Rowe onwards to add new divisions in accordance with the practice of the Georgian stage. Warner, however, adds more divisions than any editor I have encountered.

In a published Letter to David Garrick, which presents the project of his glossary, Warner claims that his scenes have followed the structure established by Rowe, but even brief comparison reveals this to be false. Instead, Warner appears to be following the French convention of starting a new scene with each entry or departure from the stage.

At least, that’s what I thought at first, but then I noticed that Warner is not consistent. When a servant or minor character enters (or leaves), for example, no new scene is marked. Instead, Warner seems to divide his scenes according to the theatrical effect of what is occurring in the play. This is most visible in Julius Caesar when Warner marks scenes VI and VII of the fifth act so that the visit of Caesar’s ghost to Brutus on the eve of battle becomes a distinct scene.

A page of Warner's copy of Julius Caesar, adding a new scene for the entry of Caesar's Ghost.
A page of Warner’s copy of Julius Caesar, adding a new scene for the entry of Caesar’s Ghost.

Now, I must admit that I did not have time to check these scene divisions against all the eighteenth-century editions of Shakespeare that Warner could have known so he may well have been copying someone else. Whether Warner was or was not following another’s practice, however, these divisions still pose the larger question of their motive: was it to facilitate the extraction of ‘beauties’ for the time-poor reader? Or was it to reflect the most spectacular moments of performance? Of course, it could also sometimes be both.

Beinecke: Warner

This is my last and shortest post from the Beinecke materials for now, and it will focus exclusively on the notes of Richard Warner, a friend of David Garrick who began an edition of Shakespeare but abandoned his efforts when he learnt of preparations for the Steevens edition. What remains of Warner’s attempt to become a Shakespeare editor includes various letters proposing emendations (including one to Garrick about what was meant by a ‘periwig’ in Elizabethan England), a published Glossary to Shakespeare, dedicated to Garrick, and a large pile of manuscript notes, held at Yale and unlike anything else I was looking at on my visit. Given the connections between Warner and Garrick, my hope was that these notes would reveal the embryonic form of an edition of Shakespeare’s works more sympathetic to the stage than that of Pope.

Warner's 'address book' of Shakespeare's contemporaries.
Warner’s ‘address book’ of Shakespeare’s contemporaries.

Unfortunately, this proved not to be the case. The notes themselves consist largely of methodical lists of words in need of glossing or of apparent meanings that lack an authority. There’s also a little volume which looks like an address book and lists the dates and works of Shakespeare’s contemporary writers under the first letter of their surname. Amongst all these lists, however, there is precious little to support my starting hunch. Words from the theatre are rarely marked out for a gloss: only ‘abridgement’ and ‘excursions’ get this treatment. Similarly, it is tempting to see some sympathy for the stage in the way Warner leaves out ‘players’ from the possible sources of mistake he’s spotted in As You Like It, it being simply the fault, in his view, “of the author or editor”. Any conclusions based on this, however, may well be forcing things.

What I did get from going through these piles of notes, however, is a sense of the labour such an edition would need. This post therefore will be largely made of captioned pictures, and I’ll finish simply by saying that some of Warner’s editorial work can be seen online in the Beinecke’s digitisation of his interleaved Shakespeare.

Warner's list of words to be glossed, including 'excursions'.
Warner’s list of words to be glossed, including ‘excursions’.


A fair copy of a list of words beginning with ‘C’ in need of authorities for their supposed meaning.


A rare draft of a gloss; this one is for 'cothurn'.
A rare draft of a gloss; this one is for ‘cothurn’.

Beinecke: Garrick

This post is only going to deal with the Beinecke’s William Smith papers, as its topic is nostalgia. I quoted Loftt’s reminiscences about how Garrick inspired him in an earlier post, and this time I want to explore other similar instances in letters sent to William Smith. Of course, it is not surprising to find such letters in Smith’s possession: he trained under Garrick and, even after his retirement, still represented something of a bastion of the golden era of acting at a time when the state of the stage was deplored more and more often.

That the best years of British theatre were over is the larger idea behind, for example, Thomas Coutts’ report to Smith of a reading given by an ageing Sarah Siddons in 1808.

Mrs Siddons has been reading Hamlet & The Merchant of Venice at the Hotel here & had many auditors – but I had no desire to be of the number – it seems to me one of the porrest of all amusements – and, I should think to understand an Author it is best to read to yourself – unless you were at liberty to interrupt & to discourse with the reader, & compare your feeling of a passage with his – I saw her as Catherine in Henry VIII last monday and was very tired of her – it is time for her to have done.

Similarly, albeit with considerably more measured tones, Sir George Beaumont wrote the following to Smith in 1805.

I still continue a warm admirer of the theatre, but it is of the old school. I have seen fine spectacles,
but very little nature of late years, measured steps, super exalted looks, & something approaching recitation, may surprise, but will never be eagerly followed, & I have frequently prophesised whenever nature revisits the stage, people will exclaim there is the old school again! & rush like madmen to the theatre.

This picks up on the oft-used way of praising Garrick as someone whose art was “nature”. What is important here too, though, is that Garrick’s way of acting has become generalised into the “old school”. In part, this is a compliment to Smith, who was part of the “old school”, but it also suggests something about Garrick’s longevity, that he lived on not just in specific details of performance, but in a wider style of acting. The proof for this is in the various modifications brought to the name of David Garrick across Smith’s correspondence, a body of work in which he figures so frequently that I started wondering at one point if Smith was actively soliciting his friends for memories of the theatres good old days.

Here are a few of these modifications. Beaumont in November 1807 praises the actor Bowles as “a firm stickler for nature & the old school & I believe as correct a Garrickean as any living”, conflating Garrick and the “old school” and coining an adjective in the process. Thomas Coutts in 1791 wishes for “a Garrick” to rejuvenate the stage in a phrase where the addition of the indefinite article turns the specific actor into a type. John Byng uses the same trick when he praises Smith as “a Garrick” while a poem from Lofft in praise of Smith speaks more tenderly of “thy Garrick”.

I suppose I pick up on this nostalgia, and its strange coalescence around the figure of David Garrick because it strikes me as an interesting way of looking at the legacy of the ephemeral actor. Garrick lives on in these texts not as a specific character but rather as a kind of generalised model. This distinguishes him from other eighteenth-century figures like Sterne, who found immortality as a version of a character (or characters) they created. We think of Yorick or of Tristram when we try to picture Sterne; but when we think of Garrick there is no single image, but rather a hoard of Richard IIIs, Hamlets, Romeos, Benedicks, Able Druggers and more, united only in a sense that Garrick somehow acted in a way more true to nature. It is that fidelity that many of these letters mourn.

The invitation to Garrick's funeral, kept by William Smith amongst his personal papers.
The invitation to Garrick’s funeral, kept by William Smith amongst his personal papers.

Beinecke: Performance

This post is dedicated to the various passages found in those papers of David Garrick and William Smith, held at the Beinecke, which deal with the more theoretical side of performance. I already touched on this when writing about attitudes to French actors, so this piece will, in some ways, extend ideas already evoked there.

Along with letters to and from Garrick, the papers I examined also include various figures’ poems in praise of the English actor. One of the most notable of these is by Warren Hastings, the governor-general of Bengal . I won’t quote the text in its entirety, but rather extract the passage that piqued my interest:

Why should our Roscius grieve the want
Of Practice and of art
To bid each pitying bosom pant
To wring each feeling heart?
These found excuses sure degrade
Intrinsic merit here:
Art could have but an actor made
‘Twas nature form’d him Lear!

This short piece is based on the continuing preoccupation of whether technique or inspiration is most central to the actor, which is the theatre’s particular version on the eternal debate of the roles of art and nature in creative endeavour. What I find interesting here is Hasting’s unusual claim that whilst art (i.e. technical skill, “practice”) provides the general qualities an actor needs, it is only nature that provides the specific touches necessary to create the character of King Lear. To my ears (and to theorists such as John Hill or Remond de Saint-Albine), this seems back-to-front in that one would expect nature to have granted the actor the general qualities that make him an actor (sympathy, imagination, physical beauty and strength, etc.) and that art would polish and perfect these qualities into what was appropriate for the role. Instead of this, however, Hastings proposes that Garrick taught himself the general skills and then relied on nature for the authentic recreation of the particular. This reversal depends on a conception of the actor where it is the natural that makes a person unique, something that looks forward to romantic ideas like the egotistic sublime where it is your personal emotional response that counts and not so much your specific use of an established technique.

Quite what Garrick would make of this, I’m not sure. Interestingly, there are very few letters from him about the art of performance. A copy of one of them, sent to the painter Hayman when he was preparing to paint a series of Shakespearean murals, is in the Beinecke, but the main thrust of Garrick’s efforts to describe how the painted figures should be posed so as to express the chosen scenes fully is that a written account cannot possibly do justice to everything involved in the performance and composition of such moments.
Garrick Papers-06-Hayman,F-ShakespearePictures-Transcript-1
Moving from Garrick’s papers to Smith’s (not a large jump, as Smith was often seen as one of the last survivor’s of the ‘Garrick school’), I found a few other scattered thoughts about performance. Some of these pick up things I’ve already seen elsewhere, such as the use of Shakespeare as a theatrical instructor in the epilogue John Byng wrote to mark Smith’s retirement from the stage in 1788, or Smith’s own quotations from Shakespeare to strengthen his satirical prologue on “the intent and business of the stage”. A letter, however, from Capell Loftt to Smith in June 1798 stood out from the rest. I give the relevant section below.

There is much of Mr Grarick’s acting that I think will always live in my remembrance. It is the felicity of very strong impressions, that, depending on the high pleasure they convey to the mind, they serve more forcibly to identify our being, and to give a familiarity, a kind of apparent unity of ideas, to the very remote parts of it. The time when I saw him was that part of my life which was full of hope and of spirits: and if there has been any spirits of any utility in the rest of it, I flatter myself the animation derived from the hearnig and seeing him has had no small share in it.
I do think dramatic representation and specially of the great tragic characters, one of the very powerful exciters of the public mind.

What I find so powerful about this letter is the observation that the actor, whether he is inspired or not, can inspire others, be one of the “exciters of the public mind”. Of course, this is not a new observation (Bacon has a fantastic description of the audience as a violin on which the actor plays), but it is a rare one with regard to Garrick, who is normally seen as resurrecting Shakespeare rather than inspiring contemporaries. Indeed, it is the next generation of actors – Sarah Siddons, Dora Jordan – who are thought of as muses. Here, though, with heavy nostalgia and in a letter to one of Garrick’s inheritors, Loftt makes Garrick (and dramatic representation in general) not into an inspired act but an inspiring one.