From GM's Library to the shelves of Big Bob T.

The particular charm of this book is that it contains the personal bookplate of MacDonald, indicating that this was part of his library. Of further interest is the white, scalloped, round sticker opposite the bookplate. The best guess I have of its purpose was to indicate where the book would be located on MacDonald’s bookshelves. In this case, it might indicate bookcase #1, shelf #2, book #20. This is just a guess, but having a system like this would have been helpful to MacDonald since he moved houses so many times through the years, having to reassemble his library books in new locations.

The inscription inside the book indicates that the book was not originally owned by MacDonald, but was a Christmas gift to “Aunt Carrie” in 1871. Perhaps the book was later given to MacDonald from someone who knew of his appreciation of Browning’s poetry.

Here is the book’s description from Wikipedia:

"Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau, Saviour of Society" is a long poem by Robert Browning, first published in 1871.

The poem, which takes the French Emperor Napoleon III as its subject, was largely written in Florence in the early 1860s before apparently being abandoned. It appears that the poem was largely forgotten while Browning worked on Dramatis Personae and The Ring and the Book, which raised his profile and commercial appeal. In 1871, following the Franco-Prussian War and the forced end of Napoleon's reign, Browning dusted off his lengthy poem and made some revisions and additions before publishing it as Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau in December 1871.

Sales were initially very strong, with more than one and a half thousand copies being sold in the first week, but they soon tailed off sharply; the poem's length and complexity apparently put off prospective readers, and the first printing run failed to sell out. No second edition was ever required. 



Robert Trexler

Editor, CSL: The Bulletin of the New York C.S. Lewis Society

Publisher, Winged Lion Press