Monday, 23 January 2012

New Canadian Library Part I

I've discussed Canadian publisher McClelland & Stewart's quality paperback series New Canadian Library in other posts, usually relating it to earlier Canadian paperback publishers. The recent demise of M&S has made me return to the series.

A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder by James De Mille was published as NCL 68 in 1969. Janet Friskney in her book New Canadian Library: The Ross-McClelland Years 1952 - 1978 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007) discusses (pp. 104-107) the long effort by the editors to convince the publisher, Jack McClelland, to publish Manuscript. His first thought was OK but only if the book were cut. But finally it was published uncut.

The NCL edition was the first Canadian, 81 years after the American (Harper, 1888) and British (Chatto & Windus, 1888) editions. I'd love to see what Harlequin might have done with this title.

De Mille (1833-1880) was a professor of English at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Harper - 1888

Harper title page

NCL 68 - 1993 reprint

NCL 68 back

Insomniac Press - 2000


  1. I read this novel and, coincidentally, The Nymph and the Lamp for the same university course. Good to learn that it wasn't cut. Wacousta then available only in the messed up, abridged NCL edition was on the same reading list.

  2. Wacousta is one of eight original NCL editions that were abridged but its since been published as an unabridged NCL. Friskney gives an entertaining rundown on the tortured abridgement process for Wacousta.

    The original NCL edition is an abridgement of an abridgement of which the NCL editor was unaware.