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The Cassell miscellany: Selections from a…

The Cassell miscellany: Selections from a Hundred Years of Publishing,… (edition 1958)

by Fred Urquhart (Editor), Fred Urquhart (Introduction), Napoleon III (Contributor), Napoleon III (Contributor), Robert Louis Stevenson (Contributor)20 more, Oscar Wilde (Contributor), Rudyard Kipling (Contributor), W. Somerset Maugham (Contributor), H. Rider Haggard (Contributor), G. K. Chesterton (Contributor), Edgar Wallace (Contributor), Herbert Beerbohm Tree (Contributor), H. G. Wells (Contributor), Hugh Walpole (Contributor), Edmund Gosse (Contributor), Howard Carter (Contributor), Arnold Bennett (Contributor), Stefan Zweig (Contributor), Alexander Woollcott (Contributor), Ernest Newman (Contributor), Louis Bromfield (Contributor), Alfred Einstein (Contributor), Robert Graves, Winston S. Churchill, Dashiell Hammett

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Title:The Cassell miscellany: Selections from a Hundred Years of Publishing, 1848-1958
Authors:Fred Urquhart (Editor)
Other authors:Fred Urquhart (Introduction), Napoleon III (Contributor), Napoleon III (Contributor), Robert Louis Stevenson (Contributor), Oscar Wilde (Contributor)19 more, Rudyard Kipling (Contributor), W. Somerset Maugham (Contributor), H. Rider Haggard (Contributor), G. K. Chesterton (Contributor), Edgar Wallace (Contributor), Herbert Beerbohm Tree (Contributor), H. G. Wells (Contributor), Hugh Walpole (Contributor), Edmund Gosse (Contributor), Howard Carter (Contributor), Arnold Bennett (Contributor), Stefan Zweig (Contributor), Alexander Woollcott (Contributor), Ernest Newman (Contributor), Louis Bromfield (Contributor), Alfred Einstein (Contributor), Robert Graves, Winston S. Churchill, Dashiell Hammett
Info:Cassell, Hardback, 1958. 8vo. xvi+879 pp. First Edition. Introduction by Fred Urquhart [viii-x].
Collections:Your library
Tags:Maugham Short Stories, Anthology, Oscar Wilde

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The Cassell miscellany: Selections from a Hundred Years of Publishing, 1848-1958 by Fred Urquhart

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The Cassell miscellany

Selections from a Hundred Years of Publishing, 1848-1958

Edited and with Introduction by Fred Urquhart

Cassell, Hardback, 1958.

8vo. xvi+879 pp. First Edition. Introduction by Fred Urquhart [viii-x].


Introduction by Fred Urquhart

Napoleon III, History of Julius Caesar (1865)
Charles Reade, A Terrible Temptation (Cassell's Magazine, 1871)
Wilkie Collins, Poor Miss Finch (Cassell's Magazine, 1871)
J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Checkmate (Cassell's Magazine, 1870-71)
Robert Louis Stevenson, Three Poems (Cassell's Magazine of Art, 1884)
Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped (1886)
Sir A. T. Quiller-Couch, Dead Man's Rock (1887)
Oscar Wilde, Literary and Other Notes (Cassell's Woman's World, 1888)
Marie Bashkirtseff, Letters (1891)
George Augustus Sala, Things I Have Seen and People I Have Known (1894)
J. M. Barrie, Sentimental Tommy (1896)
Rudyard Kipling, Kim (Cassell's Magazine, 1901)
W. Somerset Maugham, The Mother (Story-Teller, 1909)
H. Rider Haggard, Morning Star (1910)
S. Barring-Goned, Crowdy Marsh (Story-Teller, 1910)
Edgar Wallace, The Silver Charm (Story-Teller, 1910)
Richard Le Gallienne, A Poem (Story-Teller, 1911)
G. K. Chesterton, The Innocence of Father Brown (1911)
Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Thoughts and After-Thoughts (1913)
Katherine O'Shea, Charles Stewart Pamell (1914)
H. G. Wells, Mr Brittling Sees It Through (1916)
Field-Marshal Sir Evelyn Wood VC, Winnowed Memories (1917)
Hugh Walpole, Jeremy (1919)
Field-Marshal von Hindenburg, Out of My Life (1920)
J. Ramsay MacDonald, Socialism: Critical and Constructive (1921)
Edmund Gosse, Aspects and Impressions (1922)
Howard Carter and A. C. Mace, The Tomb of Tut-ankh-Amen (1923)
Sir George Buchanan, My Mission to Russia (1923)
Newman Flower, George Frideric Handel (1923)
Arnold Bennett, Riceyman Steps (1923)
Sir Frederick Treves, The Elephant Man (1923)
Sheila Kaye-Smith, The End of the House of Alard (1923)
H. M. Tomlinson, Tidemarks (1924)
Thomas Hardy, The Turnip-Hower (1925)
Warwick Deeping, Sorrell and Son (1925)
Lord Curzon of Kedlestone, British Government in India (1925)
Radclyffe Hall, Adam's Breed (1926)
Field-Marshal Sir William Robertson, Soldiers and Statesmen, 1914-18 (1926)
Andre Gide, The Coiners (1927)
Compton Mackenzie, Vestal Fire (1927)
Storm Jameson, The Lovely Ship (1927)
Sir Walter R Lawrence, The India We Served (1929)
The Earl of Oxford and Asquith, Memories and Reflections (1928)
Sir Oliver Lodge, Why I Believe in Personal Immortality (1928)
Brigadier-General John Charteris, Field-Marshal Earl Haig (1929)
Eric Gill, Art-Nonsense and Other Essays (1929)
The Earl of Balfour, Chapters of Autobiography (1930)
Sigrid Unset, Kristin Lavransdatter (1930)
Alec Waugh, Most Women... (1931)
John Buchan, Sir Walter Scott (1932)
J. S. Collis, The Sounding Cataract (1936)
Wyndham Lewis, Snooty Baronet (1932)
Hilaire Belloc, Charles the First (1933)
Paul Morand, Indian Air (1933)
Andre Maurois, King Edward and His Times (1933)
A. J. A. Symons, The Quest for Corvo (1934)
F. L. Lucas, Studies French and English (1934)
Marie, Queen of Roumania, The Story of My Life (1934)
Ernest Raymond, We, the Accused (1935)
Bernard Darwin, John Gully and His Times (1935)
Sir Austin Chamberlain, Down the Years (1935)
William Roughead, Knaves' Looking Glass (1936)
Richard Wyndham, The Gentle Savage (1936)
R. C. Hutchinson, Shining Scabbard (1936)
Pola Gauguin, My Father Paul Gauguin (1937)
Holbrook Jackson, The Printing of Books (1938)
Stephen Graham, Alexander of Jugoslavia (1938)
John Cowper Powys, The Pleasures of Literature (1938)
Sir Paul Dukes, Secret Agent 'ST 25' (1938)
I. A. R. Wylie, The Park Bench (The Young in Heart and Other Stories, 1939)
Marco Pallis, Peaks and Lamas (1939)
Sir George Franckenstein, Facts and Features of My Life (1939)
Seymour Hicks, Me and My Missus (1939)
Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday (1943)
Eric Knight, Mary Ann and the Duke (1943)
Mildred Cram, Forever (1943)
Rosita Forbes, Gypsy in the Sun (1944)
J. A. Spender, Last Essays (1944)
Alexander Woollcott, Long, Long Ago (1945)
Ernest Newman, The Life of Richard Wagner (1945)
Louis Bromfield, Pleasant Valey (1946)
Horace Annesley Vachell, Now Came Still Evening On (1946)
Alfred Einstein, Mozart (1946)
Nicholas Moussarat, Heavy Rescue (1947)
Robert Hichens, Yesterday (1947)
Philip Gosse, An Apple a Day (1948)
Robert Graves, Collected Poems, 1914-1947 (1948)
Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War, Vol. 1: The Eastern Front (1948)
Winston S. Churchill, Into Battle (1941, reprinted 1951)
Carlo Levi, Christ Stopped at Eboli (1948)
Vincent Sheean, Lead, Kindly Light (1950)
Dashiell Hammett, Who Killed Bob Teal? (The Dashiell Hammett Omnibus, 1950)
Ralph Wightman, My Homeward Road (1950)
B. H. Liddell Hart, Defence of the West (1950)
H. R. H. The Duke of Windsor, A King's Story (1951)
J. C. Smuts, Jan Christian Smuts (1952)
Doris Langley Moore, Pleasure (1953)
Jean Morris, Man and Two Goals (1953)
Joan Haslip, Lucrezia Borgia (1953)
Constantine Fitz Gibbon, The Holiday (1953)
H. H. The Aga Khan, Memoirs (1954)
Rowland Winn, Carmela (1954)
Igor Gouzenko, The Fall of a Titan (1954)
Tom Ronan, Vision Splendid (1954)
Mary Roberts Rinehart, If Only It Were Yesterday (The Frightened Wife and Other Stories, 1954)
Warren Tuth, The Cruiser (1955)
Lord Russell of Liverpool, Though the Heavens Fall (1956)
Edith Simon, The Twelve Pictures (1956)
Sir John Slessor, The Central Blue (1956)
Nathaniel Benchley, Robert Benchley (1956)
Field-Marshall William Slim, Defeat into Victory (1956)
Nina Epton, Grapes and Granite (1956)
Robert Graves, 6 Valiant Bulls (Catacrok!, 1956)
Eartha Kitt, Thursday's Child (1957)


I am not going to beat about the bush and I'll confess right away that I bought the book only because Somerset Maugham's little contribution to it: his early short story The Mother reprinted here from Story-Teller where it was originally published in 1909. To the best of my belief this is its first and so far only appearance in book form.

The Mother, though not among Maugham's best short stories, is somewhat unique in his complete oeuvre since it is one of the very few cases - the only one in the genre of the short story, I think - when Maugham, usually scathing about his early works, was sufficiently satisfied to revise it only slightly and publish it again almost 40 years later as part of his last volume with short stories, Creatures of Circumstance (1947). Comparing both versions is an especially enlightening business; the differences are very minor indeed and show convincingly, yet again, how consummate a craftsman Somerset Maugham really was, how indefatigable was his constant striving to improve his style. Even though quite satisfied with the early story, he made numerous little changes, more suitable word here and there, additional nuance or omission of superfluous phrase at few places, several corrections in punctuation and so on. This is in sharp contrast with the three (at least) other early stories - The Happy Couple, Cousin Amy and A Marriage of Convenience - published in magazines before First World War and later revised by Maugham for inclusion in his books, The revisions here are significant indeed; the stories are almost completely rewritten and very different than the original ones. I have always found Maugham's perfectionism, this compelling desire to improve his best, very inspiring.

Coming back to The Cassell miscellany, it was a pleasant surprise to find that this mammoth volume of almost 900 pages contains a number of interesting excerpts from books that range in subject from the English administration in India to Second World War speeches, from poems to crime stories, and from essays on the artist's vocation to biographies of great composers. Moreover, the galaxy of famous writers, not to mention famous politicians, is staggering. I am not going to pretend that I have read it all, of course. But I certainly have the intention to do so one day. So far I have been charmed by Alfred Einstein's perceptive point about Mozart's unique place in the history of music as the composer who was able to achieve the greatest excellence in both instrumental and vocal music; I have found Dashiell Hammett's crime story Who Killed Bob Teal? very enjoyable if a bit predictable; although Herbert Beerbohm Tree's prose strikes me as somewhat turgid, his essay from Thoughts and After-Thoughts is rewarding since he makes some very shrewd remarks about the vocation of the actor; I have also found Howard Carter's piece about one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the last century very movingly written.

Sometimes, of course, the excerpts seem a trifle out of context and to enjoy reading them you have to go for the complete work (as in the case of Kipling's Kim, for instance) or to have a very solid background in XX century political history (if you want to understand something of the excerpt from Sir George Buchanan's My Mission to Russia). But I guess that is inevitable. The book has an interesting Introduction by the editor, Fred Urquhart, in which he explains in detail his criteria for inclusion/omission and that his main aim was to stimulate the reader to search for the complete works. I only wish the editor had supplied the excerpts with short notes indicating something more than the year of first publication and the title of the book, like the type of the piece (short story, essay, biography, chapter from a novel, etc.) and why not something about the author as well, for instance. Unfortunately (for me), Mr Urquhart apparently calculated that his readers should be sufficiently learned and would not need such superfluous material.

In short, a valuable volume to pick up from time to time and engross yourself into an immense variety of subjects and styles; most of the pieces are short enough to be read in less than half an hour; and I am sure not a few of them will send you hunting for the complete works. ( )
1 vote Waldstein | Nov 12, 2009 |
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