J. M. Dent

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Joseph Malaby Dent (30 August 1849 – 9 May 1926) was a British book publisher who produced the Everyman's Library series.

Dent was born in Darlington in what is now the Britaania public house. After a short and unsuccessful stint as an apprentice printer he took up bookbinding. At the age of fifteen he gave a talk on James Boswell's Life of Johnson which would be the first book printed in the Everyman's Library. He began publishing high quality limited edition of classic literature under the Temple Library imprint.

In 1888 he founded the publishing firm of J. M. Dent and Company. (It became J.M. Dent & Sons in 1909). Between 1889 and 1894 Dent published the works of Lamb, Goldsmith, Austen, Chaucer, Tennyson, and like authors. Printed in small runs on handmade paper, these early editions enjoyed modest commercial success. Dent established the highly successful Temple Shakespeare series in 1894.

In 1904, Dent began to plan Everyman's Library, a series of one thousand classics to be published in an attractive format and sold at one shilling. To meet demand, Dent built the Temple Press. The publication of the Everyman Library began in 1906 and 152 titles were issued by the end of the first year. However, it was soon confronted by a double blow: the Copyright Act 1911 which extended protection to fifty years after the author's death thus reducing the availability of Victorian...
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