Friday, February 12, 2010

Morbid Callaghan and Earle Turvey

A recent post at the interesting blog The Dusty Bookcase concerning the New Canadian Library series reminded me of an incident only last week. My wife was telling me she wanted to reread the novel Earth and High Heaven by Gwethalyn Graham and wondered if we had a copy. I believed I had two hardcover copies somewhere, but I knew I had a paperback copy in the New Canadian Library series and knew precisely where it was. A little while later she called me and asked me to look at the cover of this paperback issue. I duly looked at the cover but couldn't see anything unusual other than the drab brown abstract image. Look at her name, she prompted. Again, I didn't see anything unusual. Look at the spelling, she added. Then I understood. The author's first name was spelled "Gwenthalyn."

My wife has a keen eye when it comes to misspellings, typos and such. She constantly finds them in newspapers, magazines, and perhaps most often in restaurant menus. Some of them can be fairly amusing. To get an author's name wrong on the cover of a book, however, doesn't seem amusing. You have to wonder how many copies were printed with that error. This printing is the 4th, dated 1970. Perhaps this error is well-known to collectors of the series.

Who knows, there may be a plethora of misspellings out there. Maybe I should be looking for The Nymph and the Lamb by Thomas H. Raddall, Birney by Earle Turvey, As For Me and My Mouse by Sinclair Ross, or Such is My Beloved by Morbid Callaghan. I sort of like that last one.


Melwyk said...

Why thanks for your complimentary take on my grammatical nitpickiness ;) I'm waiting for a Borley Callaghan myself...quite descriptive I think.

Brian Busby said...

Yours is the first notice I've seen about this error. Could that ugly brown abstract be so distracting?

My compliments to your wife and her sharp eye.

I'm reminded of what may be the most egregious NCL error (or, possibly, snub): the cover of Canadians of Old, which features translator Charles G.D. Roberts' name in place of that of author Phillippe Aubert de Gaspé .

An example of my own nitpickiness: the correct title of the Roberts translation is The Canadians of Old, not Canadians of Old.

An image of the cover - mercifully small - can be found here. It is not a pretty sight.

ralph mackay said...

Quite possibly. Yes my wife does have a keen eye (she often finds mistakes in my own writing). I've never seen a copy of the NCL Canadians of Old; seems quite unforgiveable leaving the author's name off the cover. Thanks for the link.