Everyman’s Library was founded on February 15, 1906, with the publication by Joseph Dent (1849-1926) of fifty titles. Dent, a master London bookbinder turned publisher, was a classic Victorian autodidact. The tenth child of a Darlington housepainter, he had left school at thirteen and arrived in London with half a crown in his pocket. Dent promised to publish new and beautiful editions of the world’s classics at one shilling a volume “to appeal to every kind of reader: the worker, the student, the cultured man, the child, the man and the woman”, so that “for a few shillings the reader may have a whole bookshelf of the immortals; for five pounds (which will procure him with a hundred volumes) a man may be intellectually rich for life.”

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