The British Log Book; or, Yarns of the Ocean.





The British Log Book; or, Yarns of the Ocean.


London: G. Mansell and J. Cleave,


[c. 1840].


One 8-page part from the first edition plus 24 16-page parts from the second edition.

This was an early purchase I made as I started to collect nautical fiction. A few years later I bought some disbound parts and noticed that they were eight-page parts, the subtitle was “Tales of the Ocean,” three of the parts were marked as “Volume II,” and the title of some parts was a woodcut rather than typeset.

At this point I realized that I needed to learn more about nineteenth-century book printing and production practices. And each time I look at this book there‘s more to discover. A comparison of the first and second editions shows that the woodcut has been replaced. Cambridge University’s copy of the first edition of Volume II is made up of sixteen parts, while I own a disbound Part 17, leaving the question of completeness unanswered. The National Maritime Museum’s first edition is the only copy with a title page (London: Wakelin, 1838). Mansell was the printer and apparently reissued the series in the sixteen-page format shown here.

The British Log Book has been a delight, and while obscure and of slight literary value, it is still full of questions about its printing and publication and an excellent example of the mutability of books issued in parts.


William P. Bryson