Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Does anyone have an uglier edition than this?


Before we get into anything important about "Middlemarch", I am curious about what editions we are all reading. When I signed on here, I was positive that "Middlemarch" was included in my beautiful Modern Library Eliot Omnibus ("Best-Known Novels of George Eliot"), but, alas, it is not. So off I went to the local public library, where I found the hideous copy above, the Harcourt Brace & World edition from 1962. I've ordered the Modern Library edition (I think it's 1950? 51?) from Alibris but I'll be reading this one until the ML arrives, and I'm interested to see how the two books compare. How about you, fellow Marchers? Have you already bought your "Middlemarch"? Where did you get it? What are your thoughts on your copy's typeface, illustrations, footnotes, etc. so far?

So far, I am underwhelmed by this edition. Aside from the ugly cover, it is printed on thin paper, so the type bleeds through. There are no illustrations or footnotes, unless you count the penciled ones in the margins, and the sole piece of prefacing information is : "George Eliot. Born at Nuneaton November 22nd 1819. Died in London December 2nd 1880. 'Middlemarch' was first published in 1872." which seems to be leaving a great deal of information out.

11 Comments:

Anonymous rachel said...

I've got a 1992 Bantam paperback. It's got an intro by Margaret Drabble (which I haven't read yet), and quite a nice painting on the cover (it's by Joseph Severn -- I'll google it and see if it's online aywhere).

The big problem with mine is that the page margins are small, so I have to open the book really wide to read the last word on the left-hand page. Meaning I have to break the spine, which is a giant pet peeve of mine.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Julia said...

Mine is a Penguin Popular Classic paperback 1994. No intro, unfortunately.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Isabella said...

That IS hideous, Ella. The drabness doesn't offend me as much as the hyphen.

My discounted omnibus volume includes Silas Marner and Amos Barton (851 p). Middlemarch runs from page 1 to page 649 — no introduction, no notes, no commentary, no illustrations, no author bio. Nothing. The text stands alone.

The pages seem to have yellowed with age already, since I bought it about a month ago. But cheap paper means it weighs less than, say, Don Quixote.

I like the cover though ("View of Bristol" by Patrick Naysmith, which information is found on the dustjacket). I find it soothing.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Gaelicgrl said...

I'm actually reading an ebook. All of my books are packed away until I find the space and the energy to unpack them.

I considered buying another copy until I envisaged myself wondering what to do with two copies once I DO unpack.

Though I have many ebooks, this is the first time that I've attempted to read a book of this size with my computer on my lap.

I may, in the end, actually buy another copy...

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Danielle said...

I am a complete sucker when it comes to the cover/design of a book. Ella, I don't think I could hack reading the copy you have--LOL. I have the lovely ML paperback edition, which has a lovely cover (a photograph of a Victorian wedding). My edition has a preface by A.S. Byatt.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Martha said...

Mine is a Signet Classic which I bought for four dollars at the local used book store. And I think it might actually be even uglier than Ella's cover. It has a goofy line drawing on the cover and its a small book with tiny type, and, like Rachel's, you have to break the spine to read it. But I don't mind so much, since it was only four dollars. There's an afterward by Frank Kermode, whoever that is, which I glanced at, but haven't really read. There is, however, a little more information about George Elliot at the beginning, which is useful. I'm into chapter 4, by the way, and I think I will need a notebook to take down questions and impressions.

11:08 PM  
Anonymous gina c said...

I am reading the gutenberg version on line at work and the Norton Critical 2nd. ed. at home and commuting. The Norton is packed with information, its easy to get sidetracked by the essays and such.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Isabella said...

Oh! Intros by both Margaret Drabble and AS Byatt! Who are sisters! And I believe they hate each other. How they must've bickered as young women! Dying to know how much their commentaries contradict each other.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Gaelicgrl said...

Well, I just picked a Penguin edition...

4:30 PM  
Blogger piksea said...

That is a pretty ugly copy. My copy has a very lovely cover. I picked up a bargain book with Eliot's three biggest books. However, the print is so tiny. Middlemarch is about 600 pages of the teeniest little cramped letters ever put on a page. I can't remember the last book I actually used my finger as a guide to read.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous kimbofo said...

Oh dear. What a horrendous cover!

Mine's a Penguin Classic (the black ones) published in 1994.

I picked it up for 10 pence on Amazon Marketplace. The postage, at £1.75, cost a lot more than the book, but I figure that all round it was quite a cheap investment!

By the way, I had no idea that Drabble and Byatt were related much less sisters!!

My introduction is by Rosemary Ashton, professor of English Literature at University College London. But I am yet to read her thoughts as I usually find these intros are littered with 'spoilers'!

5:01 PM  

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