Thursday, May 20, 2010

Penguin Books Edition - 1983

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This version of The Razor's Edge probably earns the award for most inscrutable cover--I have no idea what any of the objects pictured are supposed to mean, or how they relate the story.

What is very spot-on about this edition is the brief summary on the back cover--unlike other editions that have tended to miss the mark, the back cover here gives you the main thrust of the novel, its characters, and the book's place in literature history.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Pocket Books Edition - 1946

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This Pocket Books edition is clearly taking its cue from the then-new movie adaptation, since this cover makes the book look like a weepy melodrama.

The romance angle is played up on the description of the book's plot on the back cover, as well. Add in the cartoony Pocket Books logo, and you have a book that's hard to recognize as The Razor's Edge.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Triangle Books Movie Tie-In - 1946

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Like a lot of books made into movies during this time, a new version of The Razor's Edge was released with a movie-centric cover--in this case, a still featuring Tyrone Power as Larry and Gene Tierney as Isabel.

This version must have sold like gangbusters as well, since its relatively easily found on eBay for not a lot of money, which is unusual for one of these movie tie-in books with the dustcover included.

I'm utterly charmed by these movie tie-in editions; if I had a lot of money to burn I'd make an effort to collect them (I have a similar movie tie-in edition for Lost Horizon, my second favorite book of all time). I'm not sure how many of them there were; but the inside flap lists this book as #81 in the series!


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Pocket Books Edition - 1964

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Yet another paperback edition, again from Pocket Books. This one features a very simple, elegant cover, with a re-use of the motif on the back cover as well.

At some point during this book's existence, the first page must have fallen out or been torn out--then someone made a copy of the first page from another edition and taped it into this book's binding.

Page two ends midway through with the word "people" (from the sentence "It is very difficult to know people") and then picks up on page three. Kinda odd, but its nice someone went to all that effort to keep this book complete.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pocket Books "Giant Cardinal" Edition - 1960

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Another paperback edition, again from Pocket Books. This one is unusual in that the cover features a specific scene from the book (in this case, when Larry, Isabel, and everyone else run into Sophie at the bar), not the usual metaphorical covers you find on The Razor's Edge. The cover art is uncredited--too bad; its a nice painting!

I like the use of text, with the slanted axis of both the lettering and the overall orientation. It reflects the "edge" part of the title of course, but it doesn't hit you over the head with it.

I have to say, I think the description of the book's plot on the back cover is a tad misleading--Larry has virtually no effect on Elliott, let alone it being "miraculous."


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pocket Books Edition - 1974

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This is the "newest" edition of The Razor's Edge I have bought--I was in the mood to read it again so I went looking on eBay and found this, an edition I'd never seen before. I dig that pseudo-hippie cover (which I first thought was a painting; upon further inspection I see its some sort of sculpture photographed close up).

I noticed that page 278, where Maugham and Larry have a meal after viewing Sophie's body, features a typo--it says, "knowing Larry seldom at meat", instead of "ate meat." I think that's the first time I've seen an error like that, in all the versions of the book I've read.

The indicia lists this edition as the book's "24th printing." Could that possibly mean there are that many different editions out there? If so, back to eBay...