The Publishers of the Standard Novels

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The Publishers of the Standard Novels

Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley began the Standard Novels series as a way to restore to the public popular works of fiction that were either out of print or only available in expensive multi-volume formats. A crucial aspect of their editorial procedure was, where possible, to have the author revise the novel sufficiently so that a fresh copyright could be drawn upon the new publication. Given the opportunity, Mary Shelley was happy to have the chance to polish and, in some cases, expand upon her earlier production. Unwittingly, however, in assigning the copyright of her work to the Standard Novels series, she forestalled the novel's reappearance for a generation, with the consequence that Frankenstein was not republished in England until the 1860s.