Monday, March 11, 2024

Dunsany on His Early Stories

In 1917, the John W. Luce Company of Boston published a "Gift Edition," a boxed edition of six volumes of his early stories. One set he inscribed (probably during his 1919 US tour), and it was put up for auction by Swann Galleries in 2011. Their catalog entry here shows the handwritten poem by Dunsany that he inscribed in The Gods of Pegana. I transcribe it here.

In a dream I must have gone,
  In a dream and sleeping fast, 
To a city never known,
  In a land that cannot last.

Thence these stories I have brought
  For your cities mad with steam,
That a dream from skies unthought
  May be mingled with your dream. 


Tuesday, March 5, 2024

The First Edition and Early Printings of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was first published by Alfred A. Knopf of New York on 18 September 1964. The first UK edition was published by George Allen & Unwin in November 1967. The text of the book was altered in 1973 by Roald Dahl himself. [A companion article documenting the differences can be found here.]

Between 1964 and 1973, the Knopf edition was reprinted several times, but none of the printings are marked. Some book club editions also appeared, making for a very confusing situation for book collectors seeking a first edition. Here I present my findings, which involve binding variants, and colophon variants. I will also discuss the dust-wrapper, and some book club variants.

Binding variants

The earliest printing of the Knopf edition was bound in maroon cloth, with a much rarer variant in blue cloth. Both are shown below. (Not shown is a later version in white paper boards with a brown cloth backstrip. The endpapers in later printings vary from the original light brown to different shades of green.)

The crucial difference in the text of the book that determines the printing is found in the colophon on the final page of the book [page 164]. The earliest variant, known in the initial printing, has six lines in the colophon. Click on any image to enlarge it.
The fourth line was soon dropped, leaving the colophon to be five lines:
Next came a four line colophon, with variations, priority undetermined:
A different copy has an added Library of Congress cataloguing details (note the ISBNs given for a Trade Edition and a Library Edition--see below for more about these):
A later colophon gives a new Typographer (Tere LoPrete replacing Atha Tehon):
The above are the observed variants. There could be more.


There are no observed variants on the dust-wrapper from the earliest years. Note that the price $3.95 is printed at the top right of the front flap:
There are later variants (see below).
Book Club Editions
At least two Book Club Editions have been observed. Both have notably cheaper bindings. One is in grey boards, the other in grey boards with a pink backstrip (this one has the imprint "Junior Deluxe Editions"). They appear to have been issued to coincide with the 1971 film. Here are the two bindings followed by the dust-wrapper (note the appearance of "Book Club Edition" at the lower right of the front flap, and no price at the top right of the front flap, and the code at the bottom of the rear flap):

Library Edition

The Library Edition was issued without a dust-wrapper. At least two versions exist, one without the ISBN at the lower right of the rear cover (next), and another with the ISBN (second below):

The UK first edition was published in November 1967. Here is the cover, followed by the statement of printings in a later copy: 

Note: all of the above details and images concern editions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory published prior to the revised edition of 1973.