[ModLib] The Age of Innocence, a Side Note

Roger Lathbury lathbury at gmu.edu
Sat Jun 15 16:20:13 EDT 2013

For those interested in such matters, the Modern Library The Age of Innocence uses the revised plates of the first edition of 1920 so has some textual interest and validity. Wharton died in 1937. I'd be interested if anyone knows the contractual arrangements made with D. Appletons—what they were, when made, with whom, etc.

It's my favorite of Wharton's novels, the most Jamesian. The paper-over-boards of the first edition is so fragile that a copy in good shape commands a significant premium. The textual changes, which of course make sense, are not extensive.


Roger L.

From: modlib-bounces at thuban.owu.edu [modlib-bounces at thuban.owu.edu] on behalf of Gordon Barrick Neavill [neavill at wayne.edu]
Sent: Saturday, June 15, 2013 4:01 PM
To: Chad Bernu; For collectors of Modern Library books
Subject: Re: [ModLib] Some Discrepancies

The ML edition of Wharton's Age of Innocence was published in March 1943 and has a spring 1943 ML list at the end of the volume and inside the jacket (291 titles; includes Du Maurier, Rebecca but not Shakespeare).  The "First Modern Library Edition" statement was retained on the second printing (spring 1944) but this can be distinguised from the first printing because the ML lists are different.  I believe reports of a 1942 first with 284 titles are mistaken.

Random House published the original trade edition of Wisdom and China and India in 1942 and added it to ML Giants in fall 1955. The verso of the title page states: FIRST Modern Library Giant EDITION, 1955".  There's no list at the end of the volume, but the first printing jacket  has a fall 1955 list (374 titles; includes Santayana, Sense of Beauty but not Tennyson, Selected Poetry). The Giant binding is G5.



From: "Chad Bernu" <skinnygypsy at yahoo.com>
To: "Modern Library" <modlib at thuban.owu.edu>
Sent: Saturday, June 15, 2013 12:46:34 PM
Subject: [ModLib] Some Discrepancies

Dear Collectors of Fabulous Books,
I’ve noticed a couple of discrepancies between two first editions I have and what the outstanding Modernlib.com has in the book notes for those editions. The problems are:

1) The Wisdom of China and India G59.2
            Book notes: 1956 first with a G4 binding
            My copy: 1955 first with a G5 binding

2) The Age of Innocence 229.1
            Book notes: 1942 first with 284 titles on the jacket
            My copy: 1943 first with 291 titles on the jacket which is a spring 1943 jacket

I have to imagine that the book notes are wrong but I’m wrong all the freaking time so…

Thank you for your help on this and previously on my Point Counter Point question.
Chad Bernu
P.S. Sorry, I can't help with the Enormous Room question.

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