Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bradford Exchange, Book 2

A couple weeks ago, I received my second Oz book from the Bradford Exchange. A question was raised in my earlier posting for this series, as to why I would bother buying this set of books since I already have the series in first editions. As to that, facsimiles fascinate me, partially due to the fact that they're never quite the same as the original thing.

A very nice job has been done with The Marvelous Land of Oz. In the comments for my posting on the first book in the series, David Maxine of Hungry Tiger Press pointed out the lesser quality in the color printing of the book, and it's true that the color plates were not quite the flat, bright images they should be. I have to say that there is a certain rough, grainy quality to the color plates in this title as well.

On the right is a comparison - a first edition plate on the left and a facsimile on the right.

But these are the best facsimile versions I've seen done - the only other attempt that I'm aware of are the Books of Wonder series, which do a very nice job of presenting the original material - but there are some deletions and certain editorial changes which have caused controversy, and the bindings are not true facsimiles of the originals. However, they are a very nice set of hardcover color-plate books available at a lower price point than the Bradford Exchange series.

Bradford is working hard to create the real heft and feeling of the original books - the stamped fabric covers have been very well done. With Wonderful Wizard, a decision was made to reproduce the book in its earliest state, with several misprints and details that were changed in later printings. Marvelous Land is a hybrid of the earliest state binding, with no silver outline to the title, but the second state text - some swapping of illustrations and a publishers line added to the copyright notice. I'm not sure why they didn't follow the same first state idea for this volume. Anyway, these are quibbles and the books are quite attractive. In the end, the only way to have a true first edition Oz book is to buy a first edition Oz book - but these make a very decent substitute.


Glenn Ingersoll said...

I know the Rinkitink from Books of Wonder excises an illustration of Tottenhot because it suggests a human being is lesser than an ostrich (even an ostrich wearing spectacles), but I don't know what other differences there are between the BoW books and the originals. Has anybody made a list?

Bill Campbell said...

There are only a couple changes that I'm aware of - the dropped Rinkitink illustration you mentioned, and another illustration in Patchwork Girl. In both cases, the character pictured was a Tottenhot, a very stereotypical black native. Patchwork Girl also changed a dialect verse about "coal black Lulu" to "cross-eyed Lulu". All very minor changes, but enough to cause controversy! Otherwise, the differences come down to the physical books themselves - printed covers rather than stamped fabric or paper labels, etc. (actually, the original printings of the BOW Marvelous Land did have a stamped fabric cover). As I say above, this is an excellent set of the books and in a better price range - but the Bradford series is closer to true facsimiles.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Thanks. I'm not going to devote myself to seeking out (& paying for) a set of firsts (if I were going to I would have by now), but I would like editions with all the illustrations and original text.

Anonymous said...

The Books of Wonder edition of MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ (at least te earliest ones) omitted the Montgomery-Stone endpapers.

Bill Campbell said...

That's among the various things that keeps the books from being complete facsimiles. I believe it was felt that the endpapers wouldn't mean anything to current readers, as Montgomery & Stone aren't the household names they used to be!