The third version of the series began around 1978 when Malcolm Ross left the general editorship of the library. They sold in the $3.95 to $6.95 range, at least for the earlier titles published. At some point in the series’ publication they removed the pricing on the back cover of the books.
The design of the books returned to the colour of the first series where white was the background colour on all the books. Black was used for everything else except for the book title. Instead of an abstract design, used in second series, or an artist portrait of the author, used in the first series, Series Three used black and white photographs or illustrations as the main artwork for the cover. There also were no borders used.
The only major variation in design for the series was the creation of a “New Canadian Library Classic” designation for some of the books. It was an attempt by the editors and Jack McClelland to create a set of classics in Canadian literature that is so common in other countries. When you think of Great Britain, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare come to mind, for the United States, Mark Twain and Herman Melville tend to be spoken of, but for Canada there was no set of classics that could be easily brought to the forefront. McClelland tried to begin such a list with certain books in the series by bringing together a panel of critics and experts called the Canadian Classics Committee to put in minds of the readers a set of books within the NCL that could be considered classics of Canadian literature.
The few books that made the list have gold used as the colour of the book title, NCL logo, and the ticker tape design that runs across the front cover. The project had a short life and was abandoned once the Series Four design was used.
The Front Cover
The front cover contains four elements. It begins with the author’s name in large black print at the top. Below is a ticker-tape design with black print stating “New Canadian Library” (or “New Canadian Library Classic” in a bolder print and gold background) The book title follows in an bright colour such as red, yellow or blue (or gold for the “Classics” designation). And at the bottom is a photograph or illustration in black and white.
The Back Cover
The back cover begins with a quote followed by a synopsis of the book. Some books also include a portrait of the author. At the bottom is an information list showing the series number, book publisher, photograph/illustration owner, and ISBN number. If the book is part of the “Classics” designation you also will find a quote from the classics committee. Early prints include a price. Later prints remove the price and the latest prints remove the series number and replace it with the McClelland & Stewart logo. For the books that have the series number removed, it can still be found on the copyright page.
The spine shows the NCL logo at the top (in black for a regular book or gold for the “Classics” designation). Below the NCL logo is the author’s name in black print followed by the book title in same colour as the front cover (in the “Classics” designation it is in black). At the bottom is the publisher’s M&S logo (later prints show an updated logo that includes the “open book” design).
NCL Series Three in my Collection
NCL Series Three Originals in my Collection
|Book Cover||Series Number||Book Title||Author|
|O1||Poets of the Confederation||Malcolm Ross (Editor)|
|O5||Poets Between the Wars||Milton Wilson (Editor)|
|O7||Poets of Contemporary Canada||Eli Mandel (Editor)|