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#166162 - 02/18/07 11:38 PM Old Books With Joined Pages
Hydra Offline
addict

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 631
Did it used to be necessary to cut the pages of old books? To be more precise, were every two contiguous pages joined along the top edge, which it was necessary to split with a knife?

Example.

I once bought a brand new "vintage look" edition of East of Eden in which pairs of pages were joined. I assumed it was a manufacturing error, and split them with a box cutter.

But then I read a description of a man reading with a silver knife and cutting all the pages as he went in Laughter in the Dark. Then, when I was browsing photographs of old first editions, I saw that it was sometimes the case that all or many of the pages were joined in pairs as described.

Was this done on purpose? If yes, why? If not, how did it happen? How common was it? When did books start being sold with all their pages "pre-cut" ?


Edited by Hydra (02/18/07 11:47 PM)

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#166163 - 02/19/07 07:08 AM Re: Old Books With Joined Pages
Alex Williams Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 1814
Loc: Spam Factory
Yes, books used to be sold unopened. Better to use a letter opener but no harm done since it was a reproduction. (another link on unopened pages.)

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#166164 - 02/19/07 07:27 AM Re: Old Books With Joined Pages
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
There is the old story of the tycoon who was called by an old friend, who said, "George, I am seriously down on my luck and I have to sell my vintage set of Shakespeare. I was wondering if you would give me a good price for it, since you always admired it on my bookshelf."

The tycoon offered him $500 and the guy began to wail, "George, these books are my oldest friends. I vist them every night and they comfort me in my penury."

So George upped the offer to $1000 and when he got the books home he discovered that they were "unopened." He sent his friend a note: "This was the uncuttest kind of all."
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TEd

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#166165 - 02/19/07 07:42 AM Re: Old Books With Joined Pages
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3286
Loc: R'lyeh
It was common enough. I once bought a book I wished to read (mid-19th century) that had uncut pages. I asked a friend who is an antiquarian book dealer if the book was worth more unopened, and he assured me that it would sell for the same price in either state. Come to think of it, I bought some books a decade back or so from Ireland (some printed as late as the '70s/'80s, that were unopened. It's not just the top edge which needs to be cut, but also the front edge (opposite the spine). This is a by-product of how books are printed on large pieces of paper which are then folded (called signatures or gatherings). The signatures are sewn and assembled into a book. Most books are then trimmed before being bound.
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Ceci n'est pas un seing.

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#166166 - 02/19/07 08:06 AM Re: Old Books With Joined Pages
Elizabeth Creith Offline
addict

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 500
Loc: Northern Ontario, Canada
There's a poem by Robert Service in which the poet, down on his luck and hungry is wandering along the bookseller's stall and sees a book he wrote. He picks it up and leafs through it, finding the handwritten dedication "To my adorable Odette"...

And then I stared in consternation -
The pages were unsevered yet.
Yet she inspired its finest numbers!
And then a memory awoke
From half a century of slumbers.
A note, a mille [thousand francs] did I not poke
Within its leaves? Who would believe it!
As fresh and fair it was today,
And so I hastened to retrieve it,
Put back the book and walked away.

They say bread cast upon the waters
Returneth after many days.
Odette was one of Joy's fair daughters,
Yet sadly fickle in her ways.
Now I've wherewith for bread and butter
And yet, somehow, my spirit grieves
As, paying garret rent, I mutter
"The trollop didn't cut the leaves!"

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#166167 - 02/19/07 10:31 AM Re: Old Books With Joined Pages
dalehileman Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 07/10/05
Posts: 1773
Loc: Apple Valley, CA, USA
In my lifetime I have encountered several newish books with one or two front-uncut pair
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dalehileman

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#166168 - 02/20/07 11:58 AM Re: Old Books With Joined Pages
wow Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 3439
Loc: New England, USA
I keep a lettter opener to hand in a block of wood a friend, Ralph Morang III, made for me. The top has six hole drilled for pens/pencil/opener/whatever, and the sides feature my initials -in a different wood - A L M and an arrow! It's my Writer's Block

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#166169 - 02/26/07 10:36 AM Re: Old Books With Joined Pages
Elizabeth Creith Offline
addict

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 500
Loc: Northern Ontario, Canada
Quote:

I keep a lettter opener to hand in a block of wood a friend, Ralph Morang III, made for me. The top has six hole drilled for pens/pencil/opener/whatever, and the sides feature my initials -in a different wood - A L M and an arrow! It's my Writer's Block


:

Can I use this?

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#166170 - 02/26/07 11:59 AM Re: Old Books With Joined Pages
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
Quote:

Quote:

I keep a lettter opener to hand in a block of wood a friend, Ralph Morang III, made for me. The top has six hole drilled for pens/pencil/opener/whatever, and the sides feature my initials -in a different wood - A L M and an arrow! It's my Writer's Block


:

Can I use this?




well, I don't think wow will want to give hers up, but I would think you could make your own...

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formerly known as etaoin...

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#166171 - 02/26/07 03:53 PM Re: Old Books With Joined Pages
ParkinT Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/30/06
Posts: 293
Loc: Orlando
Quote:

It's my Writer's Block



As opposed to the situation when an author has difficulty finding/finishing a story?
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"I am certain there is too much certainty in the world" -Michael Crichton

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