Monday, February 13, 2023

Today the Book I Ordered Seventeen Years Ago Actually Arrived

I kid you not. The book was to be published in 2006, as the 25th Anniversary Edition of its original publication in 1981. Now it has appeared in 2023, the year of the book's 42nd Anniversary.  I won't go into the long (looong...) history of the delays, but will merely thank those involved for their perseverance to finally see this book published.  

The book is Little, Big, by John Crowley. This version contains the author's preferred text, illustrations by  Peter Milton, and an essay by the late Harold Bloom, one of a number of people who have died in the interim since the book was announced. 

The book itself is oversized (about 8 inches by 10 1/4).  It weighs over five pounds. It is not an easy book to handle, or to read from. But it is out. And I will not repeat the idiotic phrase (which I have always hated, and thought inaccurate) that it was worth the wait, because it isn't.



6 comments:

  1. Actually audible mirth at the last lines.

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  2. Wasn't worth the wait is unlikely to be printed as a ringing endorsement in advertising, Douglasūü§£. I honestly didn't know this was a scarce text awaiting publication for so long. On the other hand Snuggly Books have just reprinted Ethel Archer's impossible to find The Hieroglyph.

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  3. Is this edition for sale now, or did you have to order it back then?

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  4. Some copies are available via Deep Vellum, link below, but supposedly old orders are being shipped first. https://store.deepvellum.org/products/little-big

    [Some weeks ago Google ceased letting me reply to posts from my Google account. I have no idea how to fix this. So this reply seems anonymous but is from Douglas A..Anderson]

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  5. I first read about Crowley's Little, Big in an article by Michael Dirda in the Winter 2008 edition of The American Scholar, where he stated that "Little, Big is regularly called the finest fantasy novel yet written by an American, and its ardent champions have included the critic Harold Bloom and the poet James Merrill" (https://theamericanscholar.org/souls-hungering-after-meaning/). I bought it shortly thereafter (in the HarperPerennial Modern Classics edition), and have, regrettably, not yet read it! (My shelves are overflowing, with books double- and triple-parked, but I keep buying nonetheless.)

    My question: how substantial are the differences between the edition of 1981 and the version with Crowley's preferred text? Is it recommended to read the preferred text instead of the original? I'm wondering whether acquiring the five-pound monster might inspire me to open it before another 15 years have elapsed ...

    Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. I do not know how significant the revisions may be. Perhaps some future reader will comment somewhere.

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