As recently as a hundred years ago, in a more assured age than this, the enduring importance of a literary career could be measured by whether an edition of an author's collected works was issued. Bound in calfskin for the wealthy bibliophile, in a more modest cloth of some subdued hue for the less well-to-do, these sets made several statements about an age. They suggested that readers could most appreciate writers by knowing the entirety of their work and not simply one or two particularly flashy efforts. And those ranks of volumes, filling the shelves of home libraries, further showed that it was possible for individuals to possess much of the best work by the best minds.
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