Mudie’s Select Library

MS11412

Our 1892 edition of Walter Crane‘s Claims of Decorative Art features the trade label of Mudie’s Select Library to the front.

Between 1842 and 1894 Charles Edward Mudie’s lending library influenced Victorian literature, particularly fiction. Mudie had first opened his lending library to make available nonfiction, and in fact, he always devoted a large part of his stock – usually about a third – to such works. But he soon realized the market potential for novels. The guinea yearly subscription fee allowed a customer to borrow an unlimited number of volumes one at a time. By demanding that publishers produce only three-volume novels, he could divide each novel among three subscribers. This had important effects on the structure, plot, style, and even imaginative worlds of the Victorian novel.

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