That so large an edition as 1,299 copies of an expensive book, previously unseen by any subscriber, should have been taken in advance by reason of a mere announcement, is complimentary to the undersigned; and yet this very confidence occasioned him not a little anxiety. Under such circumstances to have failed to give, either in workmanship or subject-matter, more than was promised in the announcement of Etidorhpa, would have been painfully embarrassing.
Not without deep concern, then, were the returns awaited; for, while neither pains nor expense were spared to make the book artistically a prize, still, beautiful workmanship and attractive illustrations may serve but to make more conspicuous other failings. Humiliating indeed would it have been had the recipients, in a spirit of charity, spoken only of artistic merit and neat bookwork.
When one not a bookman publishes a book, he treads the danger-line. When such a person, without a great publishing-house behind him, issues a book like Etidorhpa—a book that, spanning space, seemingly embraces wild imaginings and speculation, and intrudes on science and religion—he invites personal disaster.
That in the case of the Author's Edition of Etidorhpa the reverse happily followed, is evidenced by hundreds of complimentary letters, written by men versed in this or that section wherein the book intrudes; and in a general way the undersigned herein gratefully extends his thanks to all correspondents—thanks for the cordial expressions of approval, and for the graceful oversights by critics and correspondents, that none better than he realizes have been extended towards blemishes that must, to others, be not less apparent than they are to himself.
Since general interest has been awakened in the strange book Etidorhpa, and as many readers are soliciting information concerning its reception, it is not only as a duty, but as a pleasure, that the undersigned reproduces the following abstracts from public print concerning the Author's Edition, adding, that as in most cases the reviews were of great length and made by men specially selected for the purpose, the brief notes are but fragments and simply characteristic of their general tenor.
The personal references indulged by the critics could not be excised without destroying the value of the criticisms, and the undersigned can offer no other apology for their introduction than to say that to have excluded them would have done an injustice to the writers.
JOHN URI LLOYD.