Thursday, 11 February 2010

Canadian Paperbacks - Other Editions Part I

One approach to looking at the vintage Canadian paperbacks is comparing them to other paperback editions published in Canada, the US and elsewhere. Here is a good example - The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle. Since its publication in 1912 the novel has never been out of print and in 1953 Harlequin published their edition in partnership with England's Pan Books, one of 11 books published under this arrangement. The other editions shown are the third printing of the first Pan edition (1949, this printing 1950) with the same art as the first printing, a later edition from Pan (1977), an American edition from 1958 and a 2008 Oxford University edition.

Aside from typos the texts are identical, no abridgement or revision for The Lost World. Only the Oxford edition has a short forward seen in the 1912 editions. The second Pan edition has a one page biography of Doyle.

The four 1912 versions (serial and book in England and US) were illustrated but, not surprisingly, none of these editions have illustrations. There is a recent edition that does reproduce many of the 1912 illustrations plus others - The Annotated Lost World, Roy Pilot and Alvin Rodin, editors (Indianapolis: Wessex Press, 1996).

The art on the first Pan edition has faintly comical dinosaurs while the Pyramid and later Pan have the classic look of mid century dinosaurs - static and looking like toy models. The Pyramid also has dinosaurs too large relative to the humans in the foreground. The Harlequin has the most effective art of these early editions - it would easily catch my attention on a newsstand. The Oxford's art couldn't be more different with the now expected active, colourful and terrifying dinosaurs. All art is unattributed.

Harlequin 238

Pan 100 (1950)

Pan (1977)

Pyramid PR15

Oxford University Press

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