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Movable and Toy Books; Myths and Heroes. 0709: Anon., Parnell's Hermit

Author: Anon. (but after Thomas Parnell)
Title: Parnell's hermit
Cat. Number: 0709
Date: 1810
1st Edition: 1810
Pub. Place: London
Publisher: Tabart and Co.
Pages: 1 vol., 6pp. each with two flaps forming a new page
Size: 21 x 9 cm
Note: The pages lift from the centre to reveal further pictures and text

Images of all pages of this book

Page 002 of item 0709

Introductory essay

Parnell's Hermit is one of Benjamin Tabart's rare movable books. Each 'page' is covered by two flaps which meet in the middle (horizontally) to form a whole new 'page'. In other words, the reader is at first presented with what looks like a single page, but when each of the flaps are lifted, a new half page is revealed underneath. Engraved text and images appear on each page, the images being carefully hand-coloured.

'The Hermit' was a poem by Dr. Thomas Parnell (1679-1718), Archdeacon of Clogher, first published in 1722. The poem told of an angel which visited the Earth in human form. All of its deeds appeared wicked, but ultimately, they each prevented a greater harm from occurring. Such a fable, according to Marjorie Moon, was to be found in both the Talmud and the Koran. Moon also comments that this 'distorted moral ... must have bewildered young readers'. This might well be true, but Tabart's subject matter was presumably suggested by the physical form of the book, each page lifting to reveal what was initially hidden, just as the motivation of the angel's actions had been obscure at first (Moon 1990: 91).

Moon, Marjorie, Benjamin Tabart's Juvenile Library. A Bibliography of books for children published, written, edited and sold by Mr. Tabart, 1801-1820, Winchester, Hants. and Detroit, 1990