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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Messrs. Longman and Co., 20 September 1807

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
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“Sept. 20. 1807.
“Dear Sirs,

“I have been considering and re-considering the plan of a Critical Catalogue. On the scale which you propose, it approaches so nearly to what we had formerly projected as a complete Bibliotheca Britannica, that I should be loth to go so near it, and yet stop short. On the present scale (and were you
disposed to extend it to the original extent, it would be quite impossible for me till my historical labours are closed) the opinions given must necessarily be so short, that in most instances the main business would be to copy title-pages. Now it would take an amanuensis more time tenfold to hunt out the book than to do this; and yet, as you say, my time may be employed more satisfactorily for myself, and probably more to your advantage as well as my own, than in mere transcription.

“Of the possible size of such a work I cannot form even a decent conjecture. Scarce books are more numerous than good ones, have longer titles, and require sometimes a long description. Perhaps the best way would be to begin with a chronological list of all that have been printed before the accession of Henry VIII., when printing may be said to have become common. All these books have a great value from their scarcity,—indeed, their main value,—and better be classed together than under any separate heads. A complete list might be furnished by Mr. Dibdin, who must already have collected all the necessary knowledge for his edition of Ames. Mr. Park could supply the poets, and, indeed, manage the whole better than any other person. I could give a better opinion of works than he could, and believe that I know more of them: but there is a sort of title-page and colophon knowledge—in one word, bibliology,—which is exactly what is wanted for this purpose, and in which he is very much my superior. The way in which I could be best employed would be in looking over the MS., adding to it anything in my knowledge, if anything there might be, which had escaped
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 109
him, and supplying a brief criticism, where it was wanted, and I could give It.

“Any such assistance I should willingly give; but upon slow and frequent consideration, I certainly think the whole may be better executed in London than here, and by many others than by me; for of all sorts of work it is that in which there must be most transcription, and in which it will be most inconvenient to employ an amanuensis.

“The extent of such a book will probably be wholly immaterial to its sale. None but those who have libraries will buy it; and all those may almost be calculated upon. There will also be some sale for it abroad, more than is usual for English books. The one thing In which it seems possible to improve upon the best catalogue is, by arranging the books In every subdivision chronologically, according to the time when they were written. . . . .

Yours truly,
R. Southey.”