One of the prize exhibits in my flea bitten book collection is this, a puffin schoolboys edition of the King Arthur legend from 1963. The front cover is painfully beautiful to behold, and throughout the innards of the book handsome woodcuts frequently occur. It’s quite miraculous that a soft cover puffin book that cost 4 and 6 pence should end up being such a beautiful object, especially when I consider the drab hardcover editions we were handed out at school which were often covered with dry bogeys or suffering water damage from being thrown in puddles.

Perhaps we would have had more respect for our books if they had looked more like this, or more probably not. In any case the back of the book, is if anything even more attractive than the front.

Ones things for sure, they don’t make em like they used to.


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