Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Abridged Expurgated Revised Bowdlerized - Part II

In part I of this series of posts I discussed Export Publishing Enterprises Ltd.'s approach to abridging their books. Here is an example from another publisher of the era - Alval Publishers of Canada Ltd. of Toronto and their Crow imprint. Twenty-four (numbers 21-44) books were published in this series.

Many of the books had recently been published as paperback digests by Astro Distributing Corporation of New York. For example Crow 28, Party Wife, had been published by Astro as Confessions of a Party Wife, number 11. The Astro book was published in 1948 and the Alval book in July 1949. The book was originally published as Love Must Be Gay (New York: The Macaulay Company, 1935).

The Astro edition states that "this book has not been abridged or condensed in any way." The Alval edition makes no such claim for a good reason - approximately 45% of the book has been cut. The Astro edition has 24 chapters. The Alval edition eliminates chapters 21 and 22 and cuts most chapters in the last half of the book anywhere from 50% to 75%. The first half is relatively untouched. One gets the sense that the editor of the Alval edition realized half way through the text that he needed to get busy to fit it into 160 pages and started cutting everywhere. It is hard to imagine the book making much sense in the last 80 pages.

One last interesting comparison is the cover. The Alval edition is a direct copy of the Astro edition (artist - Rodewald) by a less talented artist. Note the minimalist approach to the car. Also the young Mrs. in the Crow edition appears to have her eyes completely closed. Many of the covers on Crow books are done in the same way.

Crow 28

Astro 11

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