The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

September 26, 2016

September 26, 1888

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats was published in October, 1939, weeks after the war began. T. S. Eliot ( (September 26, 1888 to January 4, 1965) is remembered by some, as much for this volume as for his poetry on grand themes. Here is the first cover -

This cover, we read, is the artwork of the poet himself, and appeared on the first edition, first printing:

Well before this satirical feline material attained such grand embellishment for and far-reaching fame on the stage, it took its first, humble public form in 1939. Had you bought Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats then, you would have bought the one above, with Eliot’s hand-drawn cover. (It runs $37,000 now.) The very next year, a new edition came out fully illustrated by Nicholas Bentley. 

Recently I read his widow was at pains to present T. S. Eliot as a dog person. Not sure I believe that--about Eliot that is, there is presumably no doubt his wife said it.

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