H. G. Wells. The World Set Free: A Story of Mankind. London: Macmillan and Co., 1914. The novel that unleashed atomic warfare upon the world. I actually already have a copy but it's a modern edition, and I'd prefer to reference an original edition, where possible. Besides which, the University of Nebraska Press inexplicably changed the title of their edition from The World Set Free to The Last War, which abomination I don't want stinking up my bibliography!

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2 thoughts on “Acquisitions

  1. I run into this so rarely that I have to comment. I completely share your thoughts on using original editions where possible. My training is as a medievalist, and I can recall trying to accumulate, for a paper I was doing on Chaucer's translation of The Romance of the Rose, facsimile editions of the texts he would have had to have worked with. Using only a modern, annotated edition is a trap in various ways, not the least of which is the sense of context and situation afforded by the original. Well done!

  2. Brett Holman

    Post author

    Exactly! You can pick up clues above and beyond what's in the text itself -- from my period, you can often get an idea as to the intended audience from the price info, or the publisher's catalogue in the back of the book. And I always worry that the texts might not be identical. Of course, most of the books I'm looking at didn't get a second edition, let alone a modern one, so the problem generally only arises for authors who are still read, like Wells, and their original editions can be expensive (not nearly so much as an original medieval text though, I suspect!) I've got a Shute, a Childers and another Wells or two I'd like to swap also ...

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