John Carter, ABC for Book Collectors. 7th edition. With Corrections, Additions and an Introduction by Nicolas Barker. Oak Knoll Press 1995
"Uncut is probably the most overworked word in the cataloguer’s vocabulary", John Carter writes. "And it has come to exert a mesmeric – and not entirely healthy – effect on the novice collector. He will not, of course, share the delusion which provides such ready (but blank) ammunition to outsiders hostile to bibliophily, viz. that uncut is the same thing as unopened, with the corollary that collectors prefer their books not only unread but unreadable. For unopened means that the leaves have not been severed by the paper-knife from their neighbours. The bibliographical importance of a book uncut cannot be over-emphasised: format, imposition, point-holes, sheet-size, all are easier seen and appreciated in a copy thus preserved. But unless the functional significance of uncut edges is properly understood, a rational preference for them in their place can all too easily degenerate into deckle-fetishism. Collectors have always, and rightly, cherished copies with ample margins; for it has been the habit of binders from earliest times to trim off more rather than less of the rough edges of the leaves than was intended by those who designed the printed page; and every time a book is rebound it is liable to lose more. Of books published before the age of edition-binding, therefore, a tall copy is preferable (other things being equal) to a short one. Yet the edges of all these books were intended to be cut smooth, even if they were not thereafter gilded, marbled, sprinkled, gauffred or stained with colour. Any copy of such a book, therefore, which has survived with its edges entirely uncut is an accident, a specimen of the embryo stage in book production: rare no doubt, bibliographically interesting, but not representative of the book as intended for the reader’s shelf. (See also trade binding.) With the adoption (1830–40) of publisher’s cloth as the original and intentionally permanent covering of the majority of books published in England and America, the collector’s attitude to their edges is radically changed. For if he is in pursuit, as he usually is, of a copy in its original condition as issued to the public, he will require that its edges (whether uncut, rough-trimmed or cut smooth) shall conform to a now standardised margin. All that he needs, therefore, in this particular respect, is an assurance that the edges have not been cut down by a re-binder or repairer. And a good deal of space is saved by those booksellers who make it plain at the beginning of their catalogues that all books described as being in original cloth have their edges as issued, and so need not constantly repeat the word uncut."
Non-coupé, non rogné
Se dit d'une brochure dont les pages n'ont pas encore été coupées.
Oskuret och obehandlat snitt med arkets råkanter intakta.
Ein Buch wird als unbeschnitten bezeichnet, wenn dessen Buchblock vom Buchbinder nicht beschnitten worden ist. Da in diesem Zustand noch alle Falze vorhanden sind, muss das Buch zum Lesen zuerst oben und seitlich aufgeschnitten werden.