We’re currently cataloging a collection of books by the prolific Spanish novelist Benito Pérez Galdós (1843-1920), donated by Professor Joseph Schraibman, a renowned authority who has written widely on this subject.
The collection includes a wide variety of early editions, including Galdós’s series of historical novels (the Episodios Nacionales), his contemporary realist works of social criticism, and plays. Most of the books are represented by multiple editions, which provides a glimpse into the world of popular publishing in late 19th-early 20th-century Spain. Inexpensive paperbacks were produced in large runs, sometimes sloppily printed, with text blocks slanting nearly off the page. These were then bound together, often in two-volume sets, for durability. There was obviously high demand for these books, as print runs often reached the tens of thousands.
Also interesting is the presence of Galdós’s own copyright stamp in many of the books, an indication of the author’s conflicts with his publishers over rights and royalties.
Guest post by Masha Sapp, cataloger in the Rare Book unit and the Libraries' bibliographer for Russian Studies and Romance Languages & Literatures (Spanish and Portuguese).