Essay on Silence
, authored by Fra Elbertus (pen name of Elbert Hubbard
) was published by the Roycroft Press in 1905. It consisted of 40 blank pages, bound in leather with a spine printed in gilt. As such it belongs to the genre of empty books
image source: Specific Object
Wikipedia notes that most empty books are published as political satires. For example, one of the earliest examples of the genre was The Political Achievements of the Earl of Dalkeith
, consisting of 32 bound, blank pages. Hubbard's book seems to be the earliest, non-political example of the genre.
A 1905 first edition of the Essay on Silence will cost you $125
. But there were various reprints published over the years, which are cheaper. Some of the reprints included a four-page, blank text insert titled, "The Essay on Silence Revised Edition with Corrections and Emendations to Date."
Incidentally, Elbert Hubbard is rumored to be the uncle of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology. At least, L. Ron Hubbard claimed this to be so. But Elbert Hubbard's followers disagree
, arguing that "L. Ron Hubbard was known to elaborate on his background, and it is said he used the popularity of Elbert’s name to promote his own causes."