[ModLib] Dana "Two Years..." w/Movie DJ

Gordon Neavill aa3401 at wayne.edu
Sat Jul 28 17:22:29 EDT 2007

Dana's TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST is one of the more problematic ML titles and one I still have unanswered questions about.

It was published without a "First" statement on the verso of the title page. The first printing has a fall 1944 list at the end of the volume (includes Dorothy Parker Collected Poetry but not O. Henry Best Short Stories) and a spring 1945 jacket (304 titles including O. Henry Best Short Stories but not Irving Selected Writings). The copyright statement on the verso of the title page reads "Copyright, 1945, by Random House, Inc." It wasn't listed in the "Weekly Record" feature in Publishers' Weekly until August 4, 1945.

The ML edition may have been postponed so that it could appear after the April 1945 release of the film version starring Alan Ladd. I don't know why the ML edition wasn't published earlier in 1945 to help publicize the film. Maybe Paramount Pictures didn't want to release rights to artwork for the film until after the film's release. In any event the ML  seems to have promoted its edition by using the movie tie-in jacket rather than Paramount Pictures using the ML edition to help promote the film.

I'm aware of only two printings with the Alan Ladd jacket: 304 (spring 1945 list) and 306 (fall 1945 list including Irving Selected Writings but not Hersey A Bell for Adano).

QUESTION TO JOHN: Does your copy with the 306 jacket also have the 1945 copyright statement?

The earliest copy of the clipper ship jacket I've seen has a spring 1946 list (309 titles including Hersey A Bell for Adano but not Balzac, Pere Goriot & Eugenie Grandet) inside the jacket, a revised copyright statement on the verso of the title page: "Copyright, 1936, by Random House, Inc.", and a spring 1946 list at the end of the volume. The copyright date  was changed to 1936 because the text of the ML edition and Hart's introduction are based on the $75 limited edition of 1,000 copies printed by Edwin and Robert Grabhorn and published by Random House in 1936. (Hart had suggested a ML edition of Two Years before the Mast in February 1935; later that year Cerf asked him to write an introduction for the  Grabhorn Press edition and a possible ML edition.)

For reasons unknown to me, the "Concluding Chapter" (which was included in the Grabhorn Press edition) was omitted from early ML printings, including early printings with the clipper ship jacket. (The "Concluding Chapter" was included in the 1840 first edition but Dana omitted it from later editions.) 

At some point between fall 1948 and fall 1954 the "Concluding Chapter" was added to ML printings on pp. 387-406, and "Twenty-Four Years After" was shifted from pp. 387-423 to 407-443. The ending of Hart's foreword on p. xiv is also revised to include reference the "Concluding Chapter of the first edition." 

QUESTION TO ANYONE: The latest printing I've seen without the "Concluding Chapter" has a fall 1948 jacket (334 titles including Dickinson Selected Poems but not Austen, Pride and Prejudice & Sense and Sensibility). The earliest printing I've seen with the "Concluding Chapter" has a fall 1954 jacket (371 titles, including Browning Selected Poetry but not Faulkner, Go Down Moses). There's no ML list at the end of printings with the Concluding Chapter. DOES ANYONE HAVE AN EARLIER COPY WITH THE CONCLUDING CHAPTER??

Many thanks,

---- Original message ----
>Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2007 13:44:43 -0400
>From: J B Krygier <jbkrygier at owu.edu>  
>Subject: [ModLib] Dana "Two Years..." w/Movie DJ  
>To: ModLib List <modlib at owu.edu>
>Hi all,
>A few trips this summer and a few bookstore visits (VA, NC, MN)
>turned up a handful of MLs: a 1st Morley "Parnassus" in DJ ($4),
>a VG linen-jacketed early HC (271 titles) of Walton's "Compleat
>Angler" ($8), and D'Annunzio's "Triumph of Death" (grape-vine-
>spine flex binding) in a 150 titles jacket ($11).
>I also found a copy of Dana's "Two Years Before the Mast," the
>early edition (236.1) with the movie tie-in jacket (and missing
>chapter), for $6.  This copy lists 306 (fall 1945) titles on the
>inside of the jacket, and the catalog in the back of the book is
>fall 1945.  It has one of the tags indicating a ML price increase
>to $1.25 in April of 1947 on the jacket.
>I already had a copy of this title with 304 titles (spring 1945)
>on the jacket, and a fall 1944 catalog in the back of the book.
>Neither says "First Modern Library Edition."
>The Guide indicates only a 1st edition printing of 236.1 in 1945
>before 236.2 (with a different jacket and additional chapter) in
>1946. So I suppose there should be a price indication for a non
>1st copy of 236.1 in the Guide.  I am guessing no one has a copy
>of 236.1 with something other than 304 or 306 titles on the jacket.
>Odd that nowhere on the movie tie-in jacket is the movie mentioned.
>John K.
>ModLib mailing list
>ModLib at owu.edu
Gordon B. Neavill
Associate Professor
Library and Information Science Program
106 Kresge Library
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48202
313-577-0507 (tel); 313-577-7563 (fax)
aa3401 at wayne.edu

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