Friday, March 3, 2017

Coming attractions (in two forms)

First, the new Furrowed Middlebrow titles from Dean Street Press are very nearly here! They're all now available for pre-order, in paperback and e-book, and on Amazon you can find all the Furrowed Middlebrow books by searching "furrowed middlebrow" (or, of course, by searching individual titles/authors). The Amazon links in the left column of this blog will bring up those results. On Book Depository, it seems that this clever trick doesn't work, but all the books are available for pre-order there, you'll just have to search by author or using the advanced search and entering Dean Street Press as publisher. The official release date for all the books is March 20.

Dean Street has sent me the full covers for the new titles, and of course I have to share them with you. I only had front covers before. I was a little amazed, by the way, by all the rave reviews we came across of the Elizabeth Fair books, comparing her to everyone from Trollope and Thirkell to Jane Austen and Margery Sharp. I think she's very much her own writer and transcends all these comparisons, but of course we didn't shy away from using some of the rave blurbs on the book jackets!

I've already mentioned the new introductions our editions feature, but it certainly bears repeating. Elizabeth Crawford, who did the intros for our earlier Rachel Ferguson and Winifred Peck titles, did an extraordinary job of delving into the little-known Elizabeth Fair (and I even have a new addition to my author list in the form of Fair's aunt, who, it turns out, published a well-known travel book followed by several novels!). The brilliant Gillian Tindall provided an introduction to her aunt Monica Tindall's The Late Mrs Prioleau, and gives fascinating detail about her aunt's life, while her friend Stacy Marking, a successful television producer and businesswoman, provided the intro to our reprints of three novels by Ursula Orange, Gillian's mother, utilizing Gillian's collection of press clippings and other hitherto-unknown details. And last but certainly not least, author and historian Charlotte Moore has written an intro to our reprint of Edith Nesbit's final (and best, in my opinion) adult novel, The Lark, providing loads of interesting background from Nesbit's life.

Finally, I have to note again the generosity of one of the foremost British illustrators, Shirley Hughes, for granting us permission to use her original cover art for Elizabeth Fair's The Native Heath. We're honored to have her artwork gracing one of our covers (and even more honored that she was complimentary about our cover designs in general).

At the bottom of this post, you can peruse the covers of all eleven of the new books.

Now, on to the second coming attraction.

I mentioned in my New Year's post here that I had been mulling over a new list, a "middlebrow syllabus," to include representative novels by 100 different authors spanning all the different types of fiction produced by middlebrow women writers. Two months and much ridiculous agonizing later, I am finally ready to begin posting it, and will do so in the next few days. I have a much (MUCH) longer explanation of the list that I'll post with the first section, so for now I'll just note that I'm going to be a bit of a tease and break the list into ten (10!) posts. I know, I know, but there are two reasons I want to do that:

1) It will allow me to include a brief commentary about why I selected each book, as well as author or dustjacket pics, without the post becoming too unwieldy.


2) As I mentioned in the New Year's post too, I've also been working on a full-scale revision and expansion of my main author list, which is quite an undertaking (I've done about 600 of the nearly 2,000 authors in the past few months of working on it). I'm basically reviewing all the information I have for each author, doing new research where needed, and including as much as I can in each list entry. By dividing the Middlebrow Syllabus up a bit more and spacing it out, I can give myself some comparatively uninterrupted time to push ahead with that project without having the blog "go dark" while I do so. My revision will really be an entirely new version of the list, and as I post it I'm planning to highlight some of the most interesting authors, books, and tidbits that I've come across in expanding each section. But that will come later, and the slow burn of the Middlebrow Syllabus will help me get there.

Plus, spreading the list into multiple posts will surely build anticipation as I count down the 100 titles, right?  So look for the first part of the list going live a few days from now.

But now, time to fetishize some book covers:

FM10, Ursula Orange, Tom Tiddler's Ground (1941)

FM11, Ursula Orange, Begin Again (1936)

FM12, Ursula Orange, Company in the Evening (1944)

FM13, Monica Tindall, The Late Mrs Prioleau (1946)

FM14, Elizabeth Fair, Bramton Wick (1952)

FM15, Elizabeth Fair, Landscape in Sunlight (1953)

FM16, Elizabeth Fair, The Native Heath (1954)

FM17, Elizabeth Fair, Seaview House (1955)

FM18, Elizabeth Fair, A Winter Away (1957)

FM19, Elizabeth Fair, The Mingham Air (1960)

FM20, E. Nesbit, The Lark (1922)


  1. Exciting times! I'm very much looking forward to reading the Elizabeth Fair titles DSP has kindly sent me, and am in the middle of "The Lark", which is simply marvellous. Look out for reviews soon!

    1. Thank you, Liz! Looking forward to your reviews!

    2. I've reviewed The Lark now and about to plunge into Elizabeth Fair.

  2. Lovely covers, Scott! I'm a great Ravilious fan, so it's splendid to see so many examples of his work.

    1. Thanks, Ruth! Yes, isn't Ravilious wonderful?

    2. He is, and Edward Bawden - and have you come across Peggy Angus? She was a freind of theirs - lived part of the time in Sussex where they used to stay with her - her stuff is amazing too!

  3. I already see AT LEAST two (or three, or so) that I can hardly wait to buy. I gave up shopping for Lent. Books don't count as shopping, do they? I mean - would Our Lord want me to stop buying and reading books?
    I cannot imagine that!

    1. I think books should count as basic sustenance, Tom. Just as you'll continue to buy groceries during Lent, I think you must continue to buy books. How's that?

  4. Oh they do look good Scott - I can't wait!

  5. I was able to purchase, read and enjoy A Winter Away when Amazon had a hiccup and let me buy it last month, early. I am eagerly awaiting the official release date to read some more of the lovely Furrowed Middlebrow releases. I am also looking forward to the new 100 list, and like the idea of ten posts of ten.



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