some drama re: ron’s blurb of Pattie McCarthy’s Verso — have never read McCarthy, does anyone have any non-blurbist comments on the work? so i commented on ron’s blog re: the history of the blurb. the image below is one of the earliest blurbs, and what follows the image is a brief history of the blurb.
The word originated in 1907. US humorist Gelett Burgess’s short 1906 book “Are you a bromide?” was presented in a limited edition to an annual trade association dinner. The custom at such events was to have a dust jacket promoting the work and with, as Burgess’ publisher B. W. Huebsch described it,
“the picture of a damsel–languishing, heroic, or coquettish — anyhow, a damsel on the jacket of every novel”
In this case the jacket proclaimed “YES, this is a “BLURB”!” and the picture was of a (fictitious) young woman “Miss Belinda Blurb” shown calling out, described as “in the act of blurbing”.
The name and term stuck for any publisher’s contents on a book’s back cover, even after the picture was dropped and only the complementary text remained.