Friday, April 23, 2010

I never started a blog with more misgiving.

This blog, unlike all the others I have created, has no discernible reason for existence, since there is already a superb site on the web devoted to W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge. Any bit of information you might want about the two film adaptations of the book, you will find there.

At the same time, I lack the cranial capacity (as well as writing skills) to examine all the issues the book deals with in any sort of meaningful way. Indeed, the book's central concern--the very meaning of existence--has been debated for virtually all the years humans have walked the Earth. Me, I'm good at Aquaman.

But, like Aquaman, I do love The Razor's Edge--its my all-time favorite book, a story I return to every year or so and never tire of. As I get older, the book's central mysteries only grow more fascinating (and frustrating) to me.

I can't exactly remember when I first read the book. I do know it was part of a several-years-long process, right after I graduated from art school. Perhaps feeling a bit insecure about my lack of exposure to Great Books (having read mostly comic books to that point), I went on an orgy of reading, finally exposing myself to the works of Melville, Dickens, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Conrad, Twain, and more.

I'm a little ashamed to admit, most of it didn't make much of an impression on me. I appreciated them for the classics they were, but hardly any of them had any sort of impact on me--except for a handful, and The Razor's Edge was tops on that list.

I would read The Razor's Edge every couple of years, understanding more and more of it and coming away feeling a little different about the book's themes each time.

Then, a few years later, I was at a friend's house and I saw she had a collection of her favorite book, Lolita. She told me loved the book so much she would keep buying different editions of it, whenever she was in the mood to read it again. Having that collector bug in me, I thought that was a marvelous idea (later, I would read about Famous Monsters of Filmland editor Forrest J. Ackerman having a similar collection of Frankenstein).

So, with the help of eBay, I started looking for other editions of The Razor's Edge. Because the book was massively popular when it debuted in 1944 (selling something like three million copies), it has remained in print over the decades, leading to many, many different editions. And, one by one, I've been collecting them all, digging back into the story of Larry Darrell once again.

Having just found a new (to me) edition, I've decided to start this blog and show off all those different Razor's Edges in my collection. Hopefully anyone out there who loves the book (and movies) as I do will find this blog a fun place to visit.


Cory said...

So this is one of my favorite books...ever.

apparently i have the 1944 book club edition or a reprint therof. Cool stuff.

studio gulag -- said...

I have the same collecting the same book situation with Nabokov's "Pale Fire".

rob! said...

Cory--Cool, never knew anyone else who read it!

DanO--That's two Nabokov collectors I know!