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Question about The Lady of the Barge by W.W. JACOBS.A FRIEND OF MINE JUST BROUGHT ME A...

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rayrose | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 22, 2009 at 6:33 AM via web

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Question about The Lady of the Barge by W.W. JACOBS.

A FRIEND OF MINE JUST BROUGHT ME A BOOK THAT SHE PURCHASED 35 YEARS AGO TITLEDTHE LADY OF THE BARGE BY AUTHOR W.W. JACOBS. THE BOOK HAS A BLACK SWASTIKA EMBOSSED ON THE BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER OF THE FRONT COVER... WOULD ANYONE KNOW THE MEANING OF THIS SYMBOL IN RELATION TO THE BOOK ? AND IF THIS BOOK HAS ANY COLLECTABLE VALUE THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST TO SOMEONE ...

CORDIALLY, RAY CARPIO

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 22, 2009 at 8:29 AM (Answer #1)

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Interesting question.  The Lady of the Barge is actually a collection of short stories.  It is important in the sense that it includes Jacobs' most famous work, the short story "The Monkey's Paw."  That story is widely anthologized, even though W. W. Jacobs fell into obscurity before his death in 1943.

The story which gives the book its title, "The Lady of the Barge," does not mention a swastika.  The original cover of the book depicts a rather plump lady on a barge (ironic, huh!) but no swastika.  Because Jacobs is British and passed away in 1943, the swastika has nothing to do with the negative connotation the Nazis gave it.  Additionally, the original version of the book was published in 1902.  The swastika might be connected to its original meaning of good luck or victory, because most of Jacobs stories are set near the shore or involve seafarers who are normally depicted as a superstitious bunch.  In fact, "The Monkey's Paw" deals with a paw which is supposed to bring its owner good luck; so the swastika could represent luck in general since several of the stories in the anthology discuss luck.

As far as your copy's worth, you might have a chance at getting a decent price for it.  I don't deal in collectibles, but if you have the 1943 publication, it's difficult to obtain; so some collectors may be interested in it.  Although Jacobs is not that popular of an author, because your book contains his most popular work, that might also be a selling point.

I hope that this helps!

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izzkins | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 13, 2011 at 11:23 PM (Answer #2)

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I too have this book. Have you been able to find out any more about it's worth? I also read on the internet that during the first world war soldiers asked for books such as 'the lady of the barge' as they wanted the stories they read to be written by male authors.

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