Saturday, December 13, 2014

Vintage Classics - 2000

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The only New Year's resolution I made for myself last year was to read more books. I had only read a pathetic few in 2013 so I made sure that as soon as I finished a book in 2014, I grabbed a new one to start. Now that 2014 is wrapping up, I find that I've read about 15 books, which isn't too bad. So I decided to end the year with an old favorite--you can probably guess what it is--which meant I was on the hunt for yet another edition.

That's getting harder and harder of course, but I got lucky during an eBay search and found this British edition published in 2000. Not a bad cover, and the back cover plot description is pretty good. I can't think of a better way to end the year than with Larry Darrell and his search for the Absolute.
 


Thursday, July 18, 2013

William Heinemann LTD - 1944

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The times between my purchasing "new" editions of The Razor's Edge are getting further and further apart; I guess that's a natural cause of owning more and more versions of the book--there are only so many left.

But I did find this one, from a British publisher in 1944. The front cover is similar to the one on the American edition of the time; sadly the back cover is just a plug for other books by Heinemann. Not only that--perhaps it was due to paper rationing at the time (this was during World War II, after all), but if you flip the dust jacket inside out, you'll find it's a cover for another book--in this case A Silver Rattle by Sylvia Thompson! No, I've never heard of it either!

On the inside page, this copy has an inscription which reads: "To Daughter--A belated 'many happy returns', from Mike, March 1945." I generally find inscriptions in my books to be inherently interesting, but I'm intrigued that a father would sign a book to his daughter with his actual name, not "Dad" or some variation. All I can say is, I hope she enjoyed it!



Monday, May 21, 2012

Vanguard Library Edition - 1952

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It's been a quite a while (see previous post) since I picked up a "new" edition of The Razor's Edge, but it wasn't for lack of trying!

I would check in on eBay every month or so, never finding anything. Then, about a month ago, I found this heretofore unknown-to-me edition hailing from England. The Vanguard Library was a series of six books (including such classics as Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory) published in 1952 in hardcover.

As you can see, the cover has nothing to do with the book's contents; they clearly preferred a generic cover that was more about the Vanguard name than the books themselves. The back cover barely even describes the book, interested more in giving us the life story of Somerset Maugham.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mandarin Books Edition - 1995

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I was in the mood to read The Razor's Edge again, so of course I went looking for a "new" edition!

Not finding anything on eBay, I decided to try eBay.co.uk, figuring maybe there was a British edition that might be for sale. Turns out I was right!

This cover is pretty decent; its a painting called Spanish Woman, but it could certainly fill in as the scene of Isabel as she leaves Larry's apartment, having just decided they won't be getting married--that sad, wistful look on the woman's face seems more than appropriate.

The back cover description is new, and does a fairly good job representing the book--mentioning the major characters, but putting Larry front and center.

Thrilled to add another edition to my collection!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pocket Books Edition - 1971

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I was absentmindedly surfing through eBay, when I got the ides to look for "new" editions of The Razor's Edge, reasonably sure I wasn't going to find one. And yet...

I guess this edition's cover would rank the most laughably wrongheaded, trying so hard as it does to make the novel and its characters seem contemporary. Remove the text and it kind of reminds me of those "bumper cards" you'd see on The Tonight Show coming back from commercials.

Now I have an excuse to read the book again!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Screen Romances #210 - November 1946

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Now here's an unusual version of The Razor's Edge!

Screen Romances was not your standard movie/gossip mag of the 1940s, which usually were a series of commercials for different movies, with some articles on the stars giving the reader some tiny glimpse into their "real" lives.

No, Screen Romances surprised me, and here's why: on page 37, there's an article on The Razor's Edge movie. Here are a few pages of it (click on the page directly below to see a readable version):
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What's odd about this magazine's movie articles is that they're not about the movies, exactly: they're more novel-like summations of the plot, written in prose style. So in the couple of pages on The Razor's Edge, you've got a prose version of a movie adaptation of an original novel. Weird!

I love that I found this very obscure piece of Razor's Edge arcana; and for only a few bucks. I wonder what other movie magazines with RE content might be out there...


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Armed Services Edition - 1944

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This is my all-time favorite edition of The Razor's Edge: one made especially for the Armed Services!

For anyone not familiar with these, Armed Services Editions were specially-made books for servicemen in WW II, reformatted so they could be more easily carried in a G.I.'s back pocket.

As the cover indicates, these are the complete books, not abridgments. Dozens, if not hundreds, of titles were produced. The first forty titles are listed on the inside back cover, and a quick glance at the titles tells me The Razor's Edge was by far the most famous book so chosen for this series.

I was stunned when I saw this for sale on eBay; I had no idea this existed and couldn't believe its survived all these decades. But while this copy is pretty weather beaten, its still complete and readable. I can't imagine what it must have been like, reading about Larry Darrell and his quest for The Absolute while sitting in some filthy foxhole, wondering if you were going to live through the day.

This is the last copy of The Razor's Edge I have in my collection (I wanted to save the best for last), but I have other versions of the story in other formats I still plan to talk about, so keep an eye out for future posts coming soon!