Skip to content

Biblio logo: Used, Rare and Collectible Books for Sale

Six examples of Victorian

Six examples of Victorian "Cross Writing" on sheets of paper of varying sizes

Click for full-size.

Six examples of Victorian "Cross Writing" on sheets of paper of varying sizes

by Victorian "Cross Writing" / "Cross Hatching

  • Used
  • very good
Condition
Very good
Seller
Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Lockhart, Texas
Item Price:
$420.00
$8.00 shipping to USA
Standard Delivery: 7 to 14 days

More Shipping Options
Ask Seller a Question

Payment Methods Accepted

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Discover
  • Paypal

About This Item

Unbound. Very good. Undated (Late 19th-century). In a large 4to. binder. The condition is clean and quite fresh. A collection of curious Victorian "Cross Writing" examples. "Cross Writing" was usually reserved for love letters or close family members; it was initially a technique to maximize the amount of text that could be fitted onto one side of a sheet of paper: letters often either didn't have envelopes (and thus addressed and sealed on the blank side of the sheet) or were subject to a higher postage cost according to the number of sheets. "Cross Writing" evolving into a way to conceal the content of a letter from a casual observer, an early type of visual encoding. In the early 19th century, the postal system was financially demanding for some people, as was the scarcity of paper. Tom Standage writes in the Victorian Internet [1998]: "In the nineteenth century, letter writing was the only way to communicate with those living at a distance. However, prior to 1840, the post was expensive. Postal charges grew high in England due to the inflationary pressure of the Napoleonic Wars. Different from the way mail operates today, the burden of payment fell to the receiver, not the sender; prepayment was a social slur on the recipient. One had to be financially solvent to receive a letter. If the recipient could not afford to pay for a letter, it was returned to sender. Any reader of Jane Austen's Emma (1815) knows that to save costs, cross writing was common - a writer turned his or her letter horizontally and "crossed" (or wrote over) the original text at a right angle rather than use an additional sheet of paper. Folded letters with a wax seal may look quaint, but like cross writing, this was also a pre-1840s cost cutting measure since that same missive, posted in an envelope, would receive double charge." A cost-cutting measure indeed, however, and not insignificant it created a system of visual encryption one might employ for secrecy, but also as a device of post-modernity and compositional ingenuity. In 1819, John Keats constructed a crossed letter discussing both the merit of prescriptive living for labor workers, only to be written over at an angle by his poem, Lamia, about a man who falls in love with a snake disguised as a woman. "The non-linearity of meaning is generated as an excess against the unidirectional drive of information, like the snakes that weave around the staff of a caduceus or the turbulent wake of a forward-moving ship; meaning is the snake and the wake of information." -- See especially the Asideofbooks blog, ably crafted by Kim Schwenk.

Reviews

Review this book and you'll be entered for a chance to win $50!

(Log-in or create an account first!)

You're rating the book as a work, not the seller or the specific copy you purchased!

Details

Bookseller
Michael Laird Rare Books LLC US (US)
Bookseller Inventory #
2102
Title
Six examples of Victorian "Cross Writing" on sheets of paper of varying sizes
Author
Victorian "Cross Writing" / "Cross Hatching
Format/binding
Unbound
Book condition
Used - Very good
Quantity available
1

Terms of Sale

Michael Laird Rare Books LLC

14 day return guarantee, with full refund including original shipping costs for up to 14 days after delivery if an item arrives mis-described or damaged.

About the Seller

Michael Laird Rare Books LLC

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Biblio.com member since: 2007
Lockhart, Texas
Ask Seller a Question

About Michael Laird Rare Books LLC

Welcome to Michael Laird Rare Books, LLC. We specialize in fine and rare books, manuscripts, documents, ephemera, fine and historic bookbindings, and illustrated books of every description. Michael Laird is a member of the ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America), ILAB (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers), and the Appraisers Association of America (USPAP compliant, and AAA certified in the appraisal of Rare and Antiquarian Printed Books). Michael Laird earned his masters degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin (1989) and has more twenty years experience in the antiquarian booktrade. He is the principal Rare Book and Document appraiser at Winston Art Group (New York) and Gurr Johns (New York). Since 2002 he has taught advanced graduate level courses in Rare Books and Special Collections, most recently at the University of Texas at Austin (School of Information).We invite you to browse through a selection of our inventory: we strive to present the greatest historic detail and bibliographic accuracy, even for lesser priced - but no less interesting - items.We are happy to provide further images of any item: please inquire.Order with confidence: we select every item with great care and discernment; moreover, we examine every page of every book. We are always interested in purchasing fine and rare books, manuscripts, and ephemera; please inquire. We very much appreciate your interest in our work, and your patronage. Thank you!

Glossary

Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

device
Especially for older books, a printer's device refers to an identifying mark, also sometimes called a printer's mark, on the...[more]

This Book’s Categories

tracking-