Selections from Harris's Cabinet


Selections from Harris's Cabinet
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Description Selections from Harris's Cabinet


In the early 1800s, London publisher John Harris began producing small books for children that were designed not to instruct, but to entertain. One of these books, The Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast by William Roscoe, reprinted from The Gentleman's Magazine, was so successful that it was reissued in a second and much revised edition with illustrations by a young William Mulready. This was followed by sequels in a similar vein and a series called 'Harris's Cabinet of Amusement and Instruction'. By 1809, Harris's catalogue comprised more than 400 titles, some of which became classics of 19th century children's literature. Harris is now recognized as having played an important role in liberating publishing for children from the didactic and morally improving volumes of the late 18th century. The works that he published were important precursors to those later nonsense poets such as Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear. This collection includes the revised edition of the Butterfly's Ball and sequels by Catherine Ann Dorset, 'W. B.', and Roscoe himself. Appended are the version of the Butterfly's Ball that appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine and an informative introductory essay to an 1883 reprint by Charles Welsh. (Phil Benson)

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