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G. E. Bentley, Jr., The Edwardses of Halifax: The Making and Selling of Beautiful Books in London and Halifax, 1749–1826


James Rovira

P. J. M. Marks said in 1998 that “the story of the Edwards family of Halifax is the stuff of a Victorian three volume novel.” G. E. Bentley, Jr., tells that story in The Edwardses of Halifax: The Making and Selling of Beautiful Books in London and Halifax, 1749–1826, though not in three volumes and not quite as dramatically as a novel might. Bentley divides his monograph about this bookselling and book-producing family into four sections: part 1 is about William Edwards, and parts 2-4 are about his sons James, Richard, and Thomas, respectively. Of these four figures, James is the most significant: the chapter devoted to William takes up twenty-four pages and the two sections on Richard and Thomas take up forty-seven pages combined, while Bentley spends over one hundred pages on James’s career. The Edwardses as a bookselling family came to an end with the retirement and then death of Thomas.


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