by Lyndsey Eckert
Writing to John Cam Hobhouse, Lord Byron joked that he hoped his works would “be bound in Red” after his death. Likely a reference to luxurious red leather bindings that were popular in the Romantic era, Byron’s comments reveal the poet’s occupation with the material forms his posthumous reputation might take. This emphasis on a book’s binding became and increasingly important aspect of the literary marketplace in the Romantic period. Surveying publishers’ archives and a variety of bookbindings from the period, this talk will analyze how Romantic-era publishers–especially John Murray–used bookbindings to attract readers and signal literary value.