Tuesday, March 01, 2016
Algernon Blackwood: A Bibliographical Note
This kind of thing is a collector's dream. I found this copy of Algernon Blackwood's Dudley & Gilderoy in a 'bargain bin' in a London bookshop. The outside is in such bad condition it should be ashamed of itself and normally, even with Blackwood's name on it I would have put it back and moved on. However, a quick flick through and suddenly it comes alive with obscure bibliographical interest. A number of pages towards the front, including the title and colophon etc have been scribbled over in pencil: there are measurements for margins, crossings out and new wording. The book itself is the 1929 British first edition published by Ernest Benn. This copy appears to contain someone's notes for resetting the text to republish it with US publisher Peter Nevill. There was, in fact, an American edition of this book in 1929 but it was published by E. P. Dutton. In fact, Peter Nevill didn't start publishing until the 1940s and went through into the 1960s. Nevill did publish work by Blackwood, Tales of the Uncanny & Supernatural (1949) and the more autobiographical work, Episodes Before Thirty (1950) but to the best of my ability to discover he didn't publish this title.
So what do we have? My best guess is that this was a mark up for resetting the type for a Nevill edition that, for whatever reason, fell by the wayside. Perhaps because the last Dutton edition had only been in 1941, but at the moment I can't hope to know.