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Below is a brief history and an, I think, complete list of the Zephyr Books published by the Swedish Publisher Albert Bonniers Förlag from 1942 to 1950. From Nick Procyk, a fellow Zephyr Books collector, I learned that I had earlier missed book number 98. Now the list should be complete and definite, as Nick got his list straight from Bonniers. Thanks for the update Nick.

I gathered this information whilst collecting the Zephyr Books from the summer of 2004 till the end of 2011. I started collecting the Zephyr Books series because 1) they are so beautiful 2) it's often quite good, or very good, literature, and 3) it made my normal idling in used bookshops seemingly more meaningful. I gave up collecting these books because I had read the books I was interested in, and had very little interest to read the books I was missing. I'll keep this page up-to-date if anything new comes to my knowledge.

Most of the information in the list was gathered from the Libris database at the Kungliga Biblioteket (Royal Library in Stockholm). However, I have found that, as the sun, even LIBRIS has its dark spots. At least I have found (and own) a few editions not listed in LIBRIS. Maybe I should report this ...

A brief history of the Zephyr Books.

zephyr_books_web_page.png I have found three sources of information on the Zephyr Books series. The first is the autobiography, »Minnen och Möten« (something like »Recollections and Encounters« in English) (pp. 106–108), of Georg Svensson, the literary editor of the series. The second source is the second book in a series about the history of the Bonniers, »Konsolidering och expansion 1930–1954« (»Consolidation and Expansion 1930–1954«) (pp. 102–105), by Staffan Sundin. The third (and best) source is the booklet »A Full List of Zephyr Books.« I have reproduced the cover and introductory text below (printed in gray).

000_0000_0.jpg THE PROLOGUE to the story of Zephyr Books was written during the war of 1939 to 1945. Like most other European countries, Sweden was practically cut off from England and America, and no books in English could be imported. But there was an ever increasing demand for them, and so the Continental Book Company was established in 1942, with the object of publishing books in English to satisfy in some measure the growing need, not only in Sweden but in other parts of the continent where the selling of English books was still possible in spite of the war, namely Switzerland, Portugal and Turkey. The difficulties were of course exceedingly great, as the transport routes were always controlled by the Germans. Nevertheless, it was found possible to make secret exports of Zephyr Books, not only to the neutral countries already mentioned, but also in considerable quantities to some of the "satellite states," especially Hungary and Italy, to occupied Denmark and the non-occupied zone of France. New volumes were added to the series at regular intervals, and when the war drew to its close about fifty Zephyr Books were already on sale in eight European countries.

During the closing phase of the war, the increasing disorganization of transport facilities on the continent stopped exports to other countries, and this state of affairs lasted until a long time after the armistice. It was then a question as to whether the publication of Zephyr Books should cease, having fulfilled its original purpose of satisfying the need for English literature in countries prevented by the war from obtaining any, or whether it should be continued on a wider basis. There were two main reasons why the second course was decided upon. For almost a century before the war, the firm of Tauchnitz, in Leipzig, had produced the best of English literature in a continental edition, and Tauchnitz books were well known and appreciated wherever there was an English reading public. Every bookshop of any size in all countries except the British Empire and the United States of America carried a constant stock of these books, which answered to the taste and requirements of the continental public. The total destruction of the Leipzig book industry made it clear that for a long time at any rate Tauchnitz would be unable to start work again. It was also evident that the enormous loss thus caused could not easily be made good by any country that had itself suffered through the war and was bound to feel its after-effects. Sweden, on the other hand, with her means of production left intact and with her abundant supplies of paper, was in a position to replace the Tauchnitz editions and all they had meant for the book market. Furthermore, the high literary standard, the attractive appearance and the cheapness of Zephyr Books had made them so popular wherever they were sent that the publishers were encouraged to continue.

That is the real beginning of the story of Zephyr Books. Publication was extended as fast as the continental market was reopened for freer trade, the number of volumes was doubled within a year and a hundred have now left the press, while a hundred more are in preparation, as shown in this catalogue. New technical arrangements have been made to speed up production and to make the books even cheaper than before, and the publishers are now equipped to meet any demand. The literary standard will be maintained at its high level, as Zephyr Books aim at winning the confidence of the most fastidious reader, but the selection will not be one-sided: together with the classics will be found the best detective fiction, and beside modern prose of proven worth, poetry and drama will have their place. Those interested in English literature will always find excellent books in the series, and the publishers have also thought of including good literature for school use. Zephyr Books will look well in your bookcase, and thanks to their convenient format they can be taken on journeys and holidays. The colour of the dust-cover indicates the category of literature to which the volume belongs, and the stars on the back show the price-class. The series has been given a personal note by its special volumes, such as the anthologies and the edition of Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland," with illustrations perfectly adapted to the spirit of the work and made exclusively for this edition by one of England's foremost illustrators. No one can demand a higher standard than the publishers have set themselves, and as it has always been proved that a good series of books finds a market and maintains itself in the face of competition, the Continental Book Company is confident of continued success.


So, due to the Second World War publishers in the UK and USA had big difficulties. There were both labour and paper shortages, and very few new-published books reached Swedish booksellers. In 1941–42, when the situation was quite serious, the idea was formed that American and English books should be published in Sweden, were there were plenty of both labour and paper.

The Continental Book Company was formed and the series Clipper Books was commenced. The books in the Clipper Books series were bound, and were meant to be more or less exact copies of the originals — they were reprinted from an original. About fifteen titles were published. As a result of the lack of success for the Clipper Books series, the cheaper Zephyr Books series was launched in 1942 with Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms as its first title. The Zephyr Books were an immediate success. The Zephyr Books series was made after the pattern of the German Tauchnitz and Albatross series, both discontinued due to the second world war. In order not to compete with the domestic markets all books have »Not to be introduced into the British Empire or the U. S. A.« printed on the back cover.

Rather surprisingly, Bonniers continued working on the Zephyr books even when WWII had ended, and British and American publishers were back in business. It seems odd they thought it would be possible to compete on equal terms with the bigger British and American publishers, but they did.

zephyr-logo.png The beautiful logotype to the right was designed by Iwan W. Fischerström. (This fact was acknowledged in the 1942 and early 1943 editions.) In what might have been an attempt to boost falling sales a new logotype (to the left, below) was used for the 1949 and 1950 editions. Apart from the new logotype the books were identical to the earlier versions.

new_logo.png The covers were colour-coded depending on the contents: red for »modern American authors«, blue for »modern English authors«, green for »classics«, yellow for »detective fiction and thrillers«, grey for »anthologies and special volumes«, light blue for »poetry and drama«, and finally, purple for »memoirs and biographies«. Examples of all covers can be seen in the cover browser (from my own collection) below.

As mentioned above the Zephyr series consisted mainly of reprints. However, some of the titles were produced and published directly by »The Continental Book Company«. Four anthologies were produced: The Zephyr Book of American Verse edited by Ebba Dalin with assistance from Frederic Prokosch; The Zephyr Book of American Prose, The Zephyr Book of English Verse, and Twelve Modern Poets. A new edition of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass with new and quite wonderful illustrations by Mervyn Peake was published in 1946.

According to Sundin 157 titles in 162 volumes were published. I have 167 volumes in my list, which might include a few books that never were published. On the other hand, I have six titles (Fame is the Spur 1–2, Of Human Bondage 1–2, Vanity Fair 1–2, David Copperfield 1–2, Captain from Castile 1–2, and Lust for Life 1–2) in two volumes which is one more than the »157 and 162« information. It can be mentioned that Georg Svensson wrote that 230 titles were produced, which clearly is just wrong.

Cover Browser

Click on any thumbnail to see the cover in the large image to the left. These are all scanned from my private collection.

This is what the missing covers should look like. I have made them in Inkscape — the font used for the titles is called Allegro and was apparently quite popular in the nineteen-forties.

zephyr_books_142.png Of course, nothing prevents me from making Zephyr Books covers for the editions that were canceled. In the image to the right we can see what Herman Melville's masterpiece Moby Dick probably would have looked like if Bonnier hadn't given up on the project when they did. It would have been a very nice-looking book, I think. When I look at the list of canceled books it's obvious the literary quality would have been as just high as it always had been. The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Richard Wright's Native Son, the U.S.A. trilogy by John Dos Passos, The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying and The Unvanquished by Faulkner, and the list goes on. They also had two new anthologies in preparation — The Zephyr Book of English Prose and The Zephyr Book of English Essays.

All Zephyr Books — both published and unpublished!

Books listed in black is or was part of my own collection. The books listed in grey were never published due to the cancellation of the Zephyr Books series. Books listed in red are titles I never owned. Hence, titles in black and red were published and printed at least the years in the Editions column.

Nr.  AuthorTitleEditions
1  Ernest Hemingway»A Farewell to Arms«1942, 1943, 1945, 1947
2  Dorothy Parker»After Such Pleasures«1942, 1943, 1944, 1946
3  Clarence Day»Life with Father«1942, 1944, 1945
4  Charles Morgan»The Voyage«1942, 1944, 1945
5  Christopher Morley»Kitty Foyle«1942
6  William Shakespeare»Six Plays«1943, 1946
7  John Steinbeck»Tortilla Flat«1942, 1943, 1945, 1947, 1949
8  Emily Brontë»Wuthering Heights«1943, 1945, 1946
9  Freeman Wills Crofts»The Pit-Prop Syndicate«1943, 1945
10  Dorothy Sayers»Murder Must Advertise«1943, 1944, 1946
11  Jane Austen»Pride and Prejudice«1943, 1945, 1947
12  Louis Bromfield»Twenty-Four Hours«1943, 1944, 1946, 1949
13  Howard Spring»Fame is the Spur 1«1943, 1946
14  Howard Spring»Fame is the Spur 2«1943, 1946
15  Aldous Huxley»Brave New World«1943, 1944, 1945
16  John Steinbeck»The Moon is Down«1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947
17  James Hilton»Random Harvest«1943, 1945
18  James Joyce»A Portrait of the Artist as
    a Young Man«
1943, 1945
19  Dashiell Hammett»The Maltese Falcon«1943, 1946
20  Edna Ferber»Saratoga Trunk«1943, 1944, 1945
21  W. Somerset Maugham»Of Human Bondage 1«1943, 1945, 1949
22  W. Somerset Maugham»Of Human Bondage 2«1943, 1945, 1949
23  Robert Louis Stevenson»Treasure Island«1943
24  Dorothy Sayers»Clouds of Witness«1943, 1949
25  Lytton Strachey»Queen Victoria«1943, 1945
26  Ernest Hemingway»For Whom the Bell Tolls«1943, 1945, 1946
27  John Buchan»The Thirty-Nine Steps«1944, 1946
28  John Steinbeck»The Grapes of Wrath«1943, 1948
29  Cecil Scott Forester»The Happy Return«1944, 1945
30  Cecil Scott Forester»A Ship of the Line«1944, 1946
31  Cecil Scott Forester»Flying Colours«1944, 1946
32  Ngaio Marsh»Enter a Murderer«1944, 1945
33  P. G. Wodehouse»Money in the Bank«1943, 1945, 1946, 1947
34  Pearl Buck»Dragon Seed«1943, 1945, 1947
35  Mark Twain»Huckleberry Finn«1944, 1945
36  Ronald Fraser»Financial Times«1944, 1946
37  James Hilton»And Now Good-Bye«1944, 1946
38  W. M. Thackeray»Vanity Fair 1«1944, 1946, 1947
39  W. M. Thackeray»Vanity Fair 2«1944, 1946, 1947
40  Freeman Wills Crofts»Man Overboard!«1944, 1946
41  John Steinbeck»The Long Valley«1944, 1946, 1948
42  Charlotte Brontë»Jane Eyre«1944, 1947
43  Dorothy Parker»Laments for the Living«1944, 1946
44  Charles Nordhoff»Mutiny!«1944
45  J. B. Priestley»Daylight on Saturday«1945
46  Nathaniel Hawthorne»The Scarlet Letter«1944, 1946
47  Dorothy Sayers»Lord Peter Views the Body«1944, 1946
48  Izaak Walton»The Compleat Angler«1945
49  Ellery Queen»The Roman Hat Mystery«1945, 1947
50  Charles Dickens»Oliver Twist«1944, 1947
51  Ebba Dalin, Ed.»The Zephyr Book of American Verse«1945
52  Ebba Dalin, Ed.»The Zephyr Book of American Prose«1945
53  Graham Greene»The Power and the Glory«1945, 1947, 1949
54  Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings»The Yearling«1945
55  William Saroyan»The Human Comedy«1944
56  George Meredith»The Egoist«1945, 1947
57  Lin Yutang»The Importance of Living«1944, 1945, 1948
58  Peter De Polnay»Water on the Steps«1944
59  Michael Sadleir»Fanny by Gaslight«1945
60  M. and R. Bottrall, Ed.»The Zephyr Book of English Verse«1945, 1948
61  John Bunyan»The Pilgrim's Progress«1945, 1946, 1947
62  Anthony Berkeley»The Silk Stocking Murders«1946
63  George Eliot»Silas Marner«1945
64  Anthony Thorne»I'm a Stranger Here Myself«1945
65  Joyce Horner»The Wind and the Rain«1945, 1946
66  Elizabeth Gaskell»Cranford«1945
67  Lewis Carroll»Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
    and Through the Looking-Glass«
1946
68  William Faulkner»The Wild Palms«1945, 1947
69  Oliver Goldsmith»The Vicar of Wakefield«1945, 1946
70  Jonathan Swift»Gulliver's Travels«1945
71  W. Somerset Maugham»The Razor's Edge«1945, 1948
72  Elizabeth Bowen»To the North«1946
73  Erskine Caldwell»God's Little Acre«1945
74  C. S. Forester»The Captain from Connecticut«1945
75  Charles Nordhoff»Botany Bay«1945
76  Stella Gibbons»The Rich House«1945
77  Nevil Shute»Pastoral«1945, 1946
78  John Steinbeck»Cannery Row«1945, 1946
79  G. K. Chesterton»The Scandal of Father Brown«1945
80  A. E. W. Mason»Musk and Amber«1946
81  Walter Van Tilburg Clark»The Ox-bow Incident«1946
82  Dorothy Sayers»Unnatural Death«1946
83  John Steinbeck»Of Mice and Men«1945, 1948
84  G. K. Chesterton»Charles Dickens«1946
85  T. S. Eliot»Murder in the Cathedral«1945, 1948
86  Erskine Caldwell»Tobacco Road«1945, 1947
87  Dorothy Sayers»The Unpleasantness at the
    Bellona Club«
1948, 1950
88  Harold Nicolson»Some People«1946
89  Graham Greene»A Gun for Sale«1947
90  Margaret Storm Jameson»Cousin Honoré«19??
91  Francis Iles»Malice Aforethought«1946
92  Dorothy Sayers»Strong Poison«1949
93  Ernest Raymond»We, the Accused«1946
94  Cecil Scott Forester»The Ship«1945, 1946
95  John Buchan»The Three Hostages«1947
96  Ernest Raymond»For Them that Trespass«1947
97  Oscar Wilde»An Ideal Husband and the
    Importance of Being Earnest«
1946
98  Helen MacInnes»Above Suspicion«19??
99  Christine Weston»Indigo«1947
100  Artur Lundkvist, Ed.»Twelve Modern Poets«1946
101  James Aldridge»Signed with Their Honour«1945
102  Kate O'Brien»The Last of Summer«1948
103  Rachel Field»And Now Tomorrow«1945
104  Edith Sitwell»The English Eccentrics«1947
105  Pearl Buck»The Promise«1945
106  Mark Twain»The Adventures of Tom Sawyer«1948
107  John Boynton Priestley»Black-out in Gretley«1945
108  E. X. Ferrars»Neck in a Noose«1947
109  Osbert Sitwell»Open the Door«1947
110  Frank Tilsley»I'd do it Again«1947
111  Kate O'Brien»The Land of Spices«1947
112  Carson McCullers»The Heart is a Lonely Hunter«1947
113  Mignon G. Eberhart»Speak no Evil«1947, 1948
114  Charles Jackson»The Lost Weekend«1946
115  Osbert Sitwell»Before the Bombardment«19??
116  Rose Franken»Claudia«1945
117  Eudora Welty»A Curtain of Green«1947
118  Carson McCullers»Reflections in a Golden Eye«1947
119  Phyllis Bottome»The Mortal Storm«1947
120  William Faulkner»Sanctuary«1947
121  Mignon G. Eberhart»Wings of Fear«1947
122  Charles Dickens»David Copperfield 1«1947
123  Charles Dickens»David Copperfield 2«1947
124  George Moore»Esther Waters«
125  Gertrude Stein»The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas«1947
126  Christopher Isherwood»Good-bye to Berlin«1947
127  Walter De la Mare»Memoirs of a Midget«1948
128  A. E. W. Mason»Königsmark«1947
129  Robert Louis Stevenson»Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde«1950
130  Jane Austen»Emma«1947
131  Walter de la Mare»The Return«
132  Edgar Allan Poe»Tales«
133  Edward Morgan Forster»Howards End«1948
134  Raymond Chandler»Farewell, My Lovely«
135  Henry Fielding»Tom Jones 1«
136  Henry Fielding»Tom Jones 2«
137  David Cecil»The Young Melbourne«1949
138  Booth Tarkington»Seventeen«
139  Bruce Marshall»All Glorious Within«1946
140  Nevil Shute»Most Secret«1947
141  Kate O'Brien»Mary Lavelle«
142  Herman Melville»Moby Dick«
143  Clemence Dane»He Brings Great News«
144  Eugene O'Neill»Mourning Becomes Electra«1948
145  Daniel Deioe»Robinson Crusoe«
146  Ernest Hemingway»The Sun Also Rises«1947
147  Daphne Du Maurier»Hungry Hill«1946, 1947
148  Raymond Chandler»The Big Sleep«1947
149  Edison Marshall»Benjamin Blake«1946
150  Samuel Pepys»Diary«
151  Christopher Isherwood»Prater Violet«1946
152  Nevil Shute»Pied Piper«1947
153  Samuel Shellabarger»Captain from Castile 1«1947
154  Samuel Shellabarger»Captain from Castile 2«1947
155  Nigel Balchin»Mine Own Executioner«1948
156  P. G. Wodehouse»Joy in the Morning«1947
157  Edmund Wilson»Memoirs of Hecate County«1947
158  Henry James»The Aspern Papers«1947
159  Henry James»The Turn of the Screw«1947
160  Carter Dickson»Seeing is Believing«
161  Erskine Childers»The Riddle of the Sands«1948
162  Raymond Chandler»The Lady in the Lake«1948
163  Richard Wright»Native Son«
164  William Sansom»Three«
165  John O'Hara»Butterfield 8«
166  John Masefield»Sard Harker«19??
167  Irving Stone»Lust for Life 1«1949
168  Irving Stone»Lust for Life 2«1949
169  George Hopley»Night has a Thousand Eyes«1948
170  Margaret Storm Jameson»The Other Side«1947
171  John Dos Passos»U. S. A. I — The 42nd Parallel«
172  John Dos Passos»U. S. A. II — Nineteen Nineteen«
173  John Dos Passos»U. S. A. III — The Big Money«
174  F. L. Green»A Flask for the Journey«
175  William Faulkner»The Sound and the Fury«
176  Ellen Glasgow»Barren Ground«
177  Michael Sadleir»Forlorn Sunset«
178  Josephine Pinckney»Three o'clock Dinner«
179  Dorothy Sayers»Have his Carcase«1948
180  William Saroyan»The Daring Young
    Man on the Flying Trapeze«
1948
181  Kenneth Fearing»The Big Clock«1948
183  Christine Weston»The Dark Wood«
184  Carson McCullers»The Member of the Wedding«
185  James Farrell»Studs Lonigan I — Young Lonigan«
186  James Farrell»Studs Lonigan II — The Young Manhood of S.L.«
187  James Farrell»Studs Lonigan III — Judgment Day«
188  H. E. Bates»A House of Women«1948
189  Neil Bell»The Handsome Langleys«
190  Ludwig Bemelmans»Hotel Bemelmans«
191  Ellen Glasgow»In This Our Life«
192  Ernest Hemingway»Short Stories«
193  Carter Dickson»Lord of the Sorcerers«
194  Hodding Carter»The Winds of Fear«
195  Nigel Balchin»The Small Back Room«
196  Oscar Wilde»Lord Arthur Savile's Crime«
197  John Maselield»The Bird of Dawning«
198  F. L. Green»Odd Man Out«
199  John O'Hara»Appointment in Samarra«1948
200  Henry Harvey, Ed.»The Zephyr Book of English Prose«
201  Raymond Chandler»The High Window«1948
202  William Faulkner»As I Lay Dying«
203  Hugh Massingham»Ripe for Shaking«
204  Anthony Trollope»The Warden«
205  Kate O'Brien»That Lady«
206  Nigel Balchin»Darkness Falls from the Air«
207  H. E. Bates»The Poacher«
208  Elizabeth Myers»Mrs. Christopher«
209  William Sansom»Fireman Flower and Other Stories«1949
210  Dorothy Sayers»Five Red Herrings«
211  Denys Val Baker»The White Rock«1948
212  Edith Sitwell»Fanfare for Elizabeth«
213  Elizabeth Ferrars»Murder Among Friends«
214  Patrick Hamilton»The Slaves of Solitude«
215  Carter Dickson»Nine and Death Makes Ten«
216  James T. Farrell»Bernard Clare«
217  Elizabeth Ferrars»I, Said the Fly«
218  Stella Gibbons»Westwood or The Gentle Powers«
219  Stuart Cloete»The Hill of Doves«
220  Douglas J. Gillam, Ed.»The Zephyr Book of English Essays«
221  Walter Allens»Rogue Elephant«
222  Tom Hopkinson»Mist in the Tagus«
223  Carter Dickson»She Died a Lady«1948
224  William Faulkner»The Unvanquished«
225  Osbert Sitwell»Left Hand, Right Hand!«
227  James Hilton»Contango«1948
228  W. Somerset Maugham»The Gentleman in the Parlour«1949
229  Ernest Hemingway»To Have and Have Not«1947
230  Betty MacDonald»The Egg and I«1949

Copyright © 2008–2011 Peter Andrén