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Introducing The Alphabet Library: An A-Z of Forgotten Books


As far as we’re concerned, a good book never dies. It’s just hard to remember them all. Now, some forgotten books are going to be returning to the limelight as the Daily Telegraph has just published the first installment of The Alphabet Library: an A to Z of forgotten books.

AbeBooks.co.uk is sponsoring this online series of columns as breathing new life into forgotten books is something close to our hearts.

The Telegraph’s Tim Martin has kicked off the series with Ariel by Andre Maurois – the first title published by Penguin, which helped launch the paperback revolution in 1935. Ariel is a biography of the poet Percy Shelley first published in 1923 in French.  

Tim also notes how Ariel was significant for its depiction of Shelley’s life.

When it appeared in 1923, André Maurois’s Ariel was one of a new breed of what reviewers of the time took to calling “romance biographies”. The trend was begun in 1918 by the acidulous Bloomsburyite Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians, which treated the lives of Florence Nightingale, Cardinal Manning, Thomas Arnold and General Gordon with the irreverence, verve and gossipy enthusiasm of popular fiction.

This might sound odd but we love books with a good story behind them. Historical and social context means a lot when you are trying to single out books from the millions that have been published over the decades. So thanks to the Telegraph and we look forward to the rest of the series.

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