Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Errata: Stott & Maugham (1973): Section B

Kaye & Ward, Hardback, 1973.
8vo. 320 pp. Revised and Extended edition.

Section B: Collected Editions

Most problematic points in this section concern the prefaces and have already been discussed. But there are couple of other issues worth mentioning.

Mr Stott has listed a number of volumes, mostly short story collections, which consist entirely of previously published material. Countless of these have appeared since and listing all of them is quite a task. And some of them, like the recent blunder of Everyman's library The Skeptical Romancer, are not worth mentioning.

Still, here may be mentioned some excellent selections of short stories that have appeared since, such as Far Eastern Tales and the 1990 selection by Anthony Curtis titled simply Short Stories; both are terrific introductions to Maugham in his element. Also wonderfully chosen and introduced by Mr Curtis are the two volumes of Maugham Plays, and they contain The Letter, based on the eponymous short story but omitted from The Collected Plays. As more eclectic collections, combining fiction and non-fiction, two mighty books mentioned by Mr Stott may be recommended: The Maugham Reader (1950, B16) and Mr Maugham Himself (1954, B23), the former with a fine introduction by Glenway Wescott.

It has already been said but it is worth repeating the confused situation with the complete/collected short stories. In Mr Stott's language, ''1871-74'' from B7 (Penguin, 1963, 4 vols.) is identical – in terms of stories! – with B17 (Heinemann, 1951, 3 vols.) and B20 = B2/3 + B19 (Doubleday, 1952, 2 vols.). Only the prefaces are different. The first two editions share the same short pieces (if split differently), but the American edition contains two long and rather different prefaces; especially notable is the 26-page introduction to East and West which contains a lot of fascinating material on the art of short story, including Maugham's workshop and his great colleagues in the genre, Maupassant and Chekhov. The situation with the stories and the prefaces is not quite clear from Mr Stott's presentation; some notes and cross references would have saved much of the reader's time.

B19 The World Over (1952), the second volume of the First American edition of the Complete short stories. Mr Stott got right the total of tales that came from the travel books, but he got wrong the distribution. The volume contains two stories from On a Chinese Screen, not three, and five from The Gentleman in the Parlour, not four. See the end of this review for more information.

B16 The Maugham Reader (1950). Mr Stott doesn't seem to find it worth mentioning that, strange as it may seem, this volume contains three of the stories from the travel books under titles that, so far as can be ascertained at present, have never appeared anywhere else. Here they are, on the left is the well-known title from the Complete/Collected Short Stories, on the right the alternative one from The Maugham Reader:

Mirage – The Opium Addict
A Marriage of Convenience – The French Governor
Princess September – Princess September

B23 Mr Maugham Himself (1954). In his listing of the contents, Mr Stott wrote this nonsense: ''The Summing Up (from A Writer's Notebook)''. In fact, both works are quite independent and, more interestingly, the former is reprinted here with a special postscript which has been found to be part of the new preface to The Partial View, first published in the same year and indeed combining both books in one volume.

B24 The Art of Fiction (1955). Mr Stott rightly remarks that this is the first American edition of Ten Novels and Their Authors (1954). Why he lists the book here and not in A69 is not clear. To his credit, however, in A69 there is cross-reference to B24, though not vice versa.

B30/B31 Selected Prefaces and Introductions (1963/64). I quite disagree with Mr Stott that this is an ''indifferent selection''. Follow the link to see the table of contents which the bibliographer has omitted.

No comments:

Post a Comment