the portable ...
August 20, 2009 8:11 AM   Subscribe

christopher hitchens' edited the portable atheist is probably the most current book which by using the word "portable" purports that it is an essential reader in condensed format. but there are so many other titles which use "the portable such-and-such". how and when did this tradition start?

for example, the portable dorothy parker is cited as one of only three portable versions to stay in print, the other two being shakespeare and the bible. was the fashion of "portable" started by the publisher of the dorothy parker tome, viking press?
posted by sardonicsmile to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Yes, likely the Viking Portable Library. 1943
posted by vacapinta at 8:21 AM on August 20, 2009


My library has:

The portable cyclopaedia; or, succinct general dictionary of the present state of the arts and sciences, serving as a companion to Johnson's octavo dictionary of the English language. T.C. Watkins. London, 1825.

As a reference work, not a "reader" per se, I'm not sure if it fits what you are looking for, but it uses the phrase "The Portable" to indicate a condensed version of an otherwise lengthy work (but at 857 pages in a single volume, I'd question the "portable" aspect...)
posted by gyusan at 10:01 AM on August 20, 2009


The terms "pocket" and "vade mecum" have been used, with the same implication of conciseness, for far longer than "portable".
posted by James Scott-Brown at 10:22 AM on August 20, 2009


Enchiridion is the Greek counter part to the Latin vade mecum.
posted by X4ster at 9:41 PM on August 20, 2009


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